7/5/15- “A Single Thread of Hope that Saved a Nation”
?A Single Thread of Hope that saved a Nation?? Heb. 11:31; Josh 2:8-21? Preached at Lake Murray Presbyterian 7/5/15 by Dr. J. Ben Sloan
Paul Kagame was raised as a Christian in Rwanda.? He watched his Tutsi village in Rwanda burn as a young boy by the Hutus and the Belgian government.? He became a poor refugee- a nobody.? When the Belgians left Rwanda, they gave the power to the numerous but less educated Hutus. From April to July 1994 The Hutus tried to wipe out all the Tutsis in the land.? It is estimated 800,000 died.? There was little hope for Rwanda.? The west- including the USA refused to step in.? Kagame led a Tutsi military force that conquered the capital though? outnumbered 5 :1 and stopped the genocide.? Most thought the Tutsis would seek revenge.? He is single handedly responsible for stopping many revenge killings.? Without his leadership- the land would still be at each others? throats and freedom would be taken away by revenge and hate. One person can make a difference for freedom. ??? Rahab was a nobody.? She was a prostitute who also wove to make a living.? Yet she was responsible for the fall of Jericho and without her help we might wonder if the nation of Israel ever got off the ground.? Rahab hid the spies of Israel and let them escape by a scarlet thread/rope.? The spies told her to hang that rope/thread outside her window and the Israelites would not attack her and those in her family who believed her message and took shelter with her. ????? Many ministers have said there is a scarlet thread running through all of scripture.? It weaves in and out.? Sometimes it seems it is a thick rope, and other times it seems like a tiny, tender, scarlet thread.? It is a thread of salvation.? This thread saved the two spies whose information was vital to the people of God.? God used the rope of a harlot to save them.? This thread saved Rahab and her whole family.? There is always a thread of hope- a thread of salvation- even for people who have no hope.
- The Thread is slim. Rahab was alone in her support for God?s people. Her change made all the difference for the people of God and for herself and her family.? She didn?t take a poll of the people of Jericho to see what she should do.? She did what she felt was right In the eyes of God even if she were the only one who believed that in the city.? In our pluralistic and secular society there will be times when doing the right thing will seem unpopular.? Our task is to be popular with God.
Rahab said that she?knew that “the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”? It was not that?Jericho had their God and Israel had their God- it was that?the Lord was God over?all nations- heaven and?earth.? All people need to worship the true God.?? She had a strong but young faith- which we need to have as well.
Sometimes it may seem your hope is slender and slim.? It may seem that the obstacles and those who oppose you are strong and powerful like the walls of Jericho.? Maybe your boss doesn?t like you.? Maybe your spouse has said they don?t like you.? Maybe you feel like you are losing everything- maybe you are. Maybe your are worried about your health and pain.? But do not forget your God.? He is the secret ingredient to any life.? It may seem your past has such a tight grip on you that you feel you will never hold your head above water.
- II. The Thread is Scarlet- It is no accident but it is a type that the thread that saved them was scarlet.? Freedom always costs something.? The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence lost their wealth and belongings- some lost all, all lost some. ?Internal freedom also costs something.? To be free we have to deny ourselves. ?Rahab?s salvation was that she believed that God was at work and she wanted to be on His side. She said, ?He is God in heaven above and earth below.?? Do you believe that?? Do you believe He is God of only one region- one little spot.? There are lots of people who say that God is God here- but maybe not God of India or China.? Truth is, Rahab was a prostitute- and probably a temple prostitute of the Amorites of Jericho.? She gave up her religion to follow God, and she risked her profession.? She really risked her life in helping the spies.? The thread is a thread of hope.? In the midst of a war- she did not hope in the well trained, better equipped army of Jericho with their high walls.? She put her hope and trust in God. ???? The great thing is that God turned her around.? By tradition and more hard evidence (that we?ll hear in a minute), she changed her life.? There are people who say that you cannot or will not change.? Maybe you have been caught in some sin- and you feel like you cannot give it up and it is ruining your perspective, your life, your family, your faith and your hope. ?As He changed Rahab He can change you.? Rahab is a monument that God changes people and can change you.? ???? A few weeks ago there was a documentary on gangs in America.? There were extensive interviews with a couple in New York.? He was deep into the Cripps and she was a prostitute and they both were on drugs.? It seemed as if there was no hope for them.? But they would not allow the interviewer to silence what changed them.? They testified it was the power of Christ that changed them.? They were in church every day because she knew that if she did not cling to Christ and His hope she would be sucked back in.? Rahab is a testimony that God can change us- and He can change you too- if you will believe, give up the sin and fully give yourself to God.? There is freedom in the Lord that sets you free on the inside and allows you to be free from the bondages of life on the outside.
- III. Hold Onto the Thread- Rahab didn?t hide the thread- afraid that someone would see it.? She held onto her new found faith with all her might. ??? Put your full weight on the hope of Jesus Christ. I have only been rock repelling twice and it was not a very pretty sight.? But I had a helmet, a cradle for support and a safety rope as well as the main rope- and I was repelling a slanted face- not a shear rock face.? Yet I was holding onto my main rope white knuckled with all my heart- as if my life depended on it.?? I do not doubt the spies were a bit braver holding onto Rahab?s scarlet thread.?? Hold onto your hope like that. ??In a day when people are letting go of what counts for eternity- do not let go of your hope.? God is the only eternal hope- that can give hope beyond the grave and beyond ourselves.? ???? In the end Rahab is commended- she kept the faith and the hope.? In Hebrews she is held up as an example of someone whose faith saved her life.? In James Rahab is commended as someone who didn?t just talk about her faith- but who acted on it- sheltering and protecting the spies.? But the greatest compliment is found in a subtle way in Matthew.? The genealogies of the Bible are full of men.? But Matthew?s genealogy has a few women and Rahab was one of them. But there is more.? Maybe you remember the story of Ruth, the Moabitis, who joined the nation of Israel in kindness to her mother-in-law, Naomi. We also see in this story how the wealthy merchant, Boaz was so kind, so gracious, so godly toward Ruth and others.? Do you know who Boas?s mother was?? Boaz?s mother was Rahab.? I do not doubt that Boaz learned kindness and grace from his mother, Rahab.? Rahab is therefore the great- great grandmother of David and the ancestor of Jesus himself.? ?I invite you to keep the hope, keep the faith.? If there is a terrorist attack, strife in our country, strife in our state, strife in your family or in your own soul- keep the faith- and the thread of hope will not fail you.? Amen