I am Sarai, I am Eve – I want to be Rahab, I want to be Ruth

God made a promise to Sarai. Well, actually He made it to her husband, Abram, but Sarai was Abram’s wife, so by extension God’s promise included her, too. And it was a truly incredible, wonderful promise considering her age and her barrenness.

“And Abram said, (to God) ‘You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.’ Then the word of the Lord came to him (Abram): ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.’ He (God) took him (Abram) outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then He (God) said to him (Abram), ‘So shall your offspring be.’ ” (Genesis 15:3-5)

Now Abram and Sarai were both old, well past their time for child bearing. But – “Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)

So Abram and Sarai waited for God’s promise to them to be fulfilled. Ten years went by. Sarai grew impatient and began to doubt God’s promise. So she took matters into her own hands. Sarai said to Abram –

” ‘The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.’ Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.”

Sarai gave up on God and took matters into her own hands with disastrous results. Ishmael, Hagar’s son, was not the child of the promise God had made to Abram. God was merciful, though, and eventually Sarai did conceive and give birth to a son, Isaac, just as God had promised Abram it would happen.

Eve was living in a perfect, sin free environment. And still she doubted God. She doubted His goodness to her. Eve was persuaded that God was holding out on her, that there was something better than what she had already. Eve didn’t trust God. She didn’t trust that God had given her everything she needed. So she took matters into her own hands and ate the forbidden fruit, even giving some to her husband. We all know what disastrous results Eve’s doubt and subsequent disobedience had for all of us. We are still experiencing the fallout from Eve’s decision today.

How often do I get tired of waiting on God and take matters into my own hands, like Sarai? How often do I doubt that God knows best or has my best interests at heart and so I make decisions that are disobedient to God’s will and God’s word, like Eve? And then I blame God for the results. That is not who I want to be.

I want to be Rahab. I want to have her courage and her conviction. She risked her life when she aided and protected two Israelite spies because she believed their God was the one true God. In turn, they spared her life and the lives of her family members, when the Israelites conquered Jericho. Rahab risked it all in the service of God, whom her people didn’t even know or follow. But they had heard of God’s deeds on behalf of His people. Rahab said this to the spies –

“We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, . . . for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you.” (Joshua 2:10-12)

The spies agreed, so Rahab risked the wrath of the king, who was searching for the two spies. She lied to the king, saying the spies had already left, then sent them safely away later. Rahab’s faith and boldness remind me of another woman who didn’t know God and yet left everything to follow Him. Her name is Ruth. Ruth was a young, childless widow. She left her parents and her homeland to accompany her widowed mother in law, Naomi, back to her homeland. There was nothing in this decision that would be to Ruth’s benefit. Naomi had no money and no other sons that Ruth could marry. Naomi was returning to her homeland, but there Ruth, a Moabites, would be an alien, a stranger and an outcast.

Still, Ruth decided to go with Naomi, instead of remaining in her own country where she could marry again and have children and a future. Ruth left the only home she’d ever known to travel with Naomi to a land unknown to her. Ruth’s words to Naomi show her selfless sacrifice and her desire to know the true God.

“But Ruth replied, (to Naomi) ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.’ ” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Ruth boldly declares that Naomi’s God will be her God and even invites the Lord to deal with her if she breaks her vow to Naomi. Ruth had faith that led her to take action – the action of obedience. When she and Naomi reached their destination, Ruth followed Naomi’s instructions every day. She went to work in the fields at harvest where Naomi told her to go. Every evening Ruth brought Naomi grain from the harvest and whatever else she had earned. Eventually Ruth met and married Boaz. They had a son named Obed, who was the grandfather of King David.

Who could imagine such a hope filled ending would result from such a hopeless beginning? But Ruth acted in faith, courageously leaving her past behind her, to set out with Naomi for an unknown future. She trusted the God of Naomi and was not disappointed.

Ruth and Rahab, two women of faith and courage. That’s who I want to be – a woman of faith and courage. It takes courage to walk by faith (earlier post – “risky business) but that’s the only way to please God.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Rahab and Ruth both sought God and both were rewarded. When I become impatient, when I began to doubt God and His goodness, I will remember what happened with Sarai and Eve. Then I will remember Rahab and Ruth. I will take courage and continue this faith journey wherever it leads me, knowing that eventually it will lead me home.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

sincerely, Grace Day

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