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The God Of Second Chances

Joshua 2:9: and she said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.”

Rahab had fallen from grace in the eyes of her community. A prostitute by trade, living on the edge of the city, eyes were averted, and footsteps directed elsewhere whenever people passed by Rahab.

But hiding the spies in the stalks of flax on her rooftop, gave Rahab the chance to redeem herself. Despite her tainted and unsavory lifestyle, Rahab knew in the power of God in her heart. Her public confession to the spies concerning what she believed about God changed the trajectory of her life forever.

Joshua 2:11: “As soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

Rahab’s story offers hope to those of us who need to begin again with God. No matter how far we have fallen, no matter how shunned we are both others, or the guilt and shame we carry, the Lord is able to redeem us.

Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.

This is exceedingly good news for everyone. Life may have dealt us a heavy blow, we may feel like we’ve hit rock bottom, or our faith has left us, but God offers us a second chance. In glad humility and utter brokenness, we can answer the invitation of God to abandon our own self-made efforts of salvation, caste ourselves upon Him and receive His grace and mercy in our time of need.

Because of Rahab’s obedience, her life was spared when the city of Jericho was destroyed, and she had the honor of becoming an ancestor of Christ (Matthew 1:4-6).

The God of second chances saves. He restores honor and dignity and exalts us securely into His world-wide family. Let’s reach out in our time of need, for He is a generous God who eagerly answers all who call upon Him.

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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3 comments

  1. When I saw your post regarding Rahab, my mind went in this direction which I thought to share. I looked up this and believe it would be of great interest to and readers. If we don’t look closely at the linage whereby Christ was born into this world, we may miss that some of the women were gentiles. In Christ there are no exclusions to becoming a child of God. This shows the love and gracious ways of our Lord:
    The Five Women mentioned in Christ’s Linage.
    Tamar: Hope
    Tamar is the first woman mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy, and hers is a story about hope – or more accurately, desperation born of shattered hope. She was the daughter-in-law of Judah, married in turn to his two oldest sons, both of whom were evil men who died under God’s judgment. Judah then promised to give Tamar to his youngest son once he came of age – a promise he never intended to keep, hoping instead that Tamar would just go away and die a widow’s death.

    In a world where women had almost zero prospects outside of marrying well and bearing children, Tamar’s plight was desperate. Taking matters into her own hands, she disguised herself as a prostitute, slept with her father-in-law and bore him twin sons. One of the twins, whom she named Perez, would become an ancestor of Jesus.

    Once the entire sordid affair came to light, Judah publicly admitted that Tamar was more righteous than he was – an accurate assessment given his cruel, callous treatment of her. And yet for all that, Tamar’s actions aren’t justifiable either, although they’re certainly understandable. Tamar (to say nothing of Judah) was a complicated person with a messy life, whose presence in the lineage of Jesus shows precisely the kind of people he came to save. In place of desperate acts and broken hopes, the coming Messiah would bring real hope into the world.

    Rahab: Peace
    There’s an old Latin proverb, si vis pacem, para bellum, if you want peace, prepare for war. The story of Rahab, the second woman in Matthew’s genealogy, gives that ancient adage a unique twist. Unlike Tamar before her, Rahab was an actual prostitute, not just pretending to be one. She lived in the doomed city of Jericho, destined to be overrun and destroyed by the armies of Israel.

    Recognizing the God of Israel as the one true Sovereign of heaven and earth, Rahab made a separate peace with the people of Israel, and with their God. She sheltered the Israelite spies during their reconnaissance mission and helped them escape, asking that she and her family be spared in return. As a public token of her new allegiance, she hung a scarlet cord out of the window of her house, in plain view of her own people, so that everyone within her house would be spared by the advancing armies.

    To an outside observer, everything would’ve seemed to be against Rahab. Not only was she a prostitute but also a Canaanite, the member of a people group marked by God for wholesale judgment. And yet, not only did she save herself and her family, but she joined the faith community of Israel, married into the royal tribe of Judah, and became the mother of Boaz and a notable ancestor of Jesus. Her place in the Lord’s lineage is a powerful reminder that even in the face of certain judgment, peace with God is available through faith in the coming Christ.

    Ruth: Joy
    In contrast to Tamar and Rahab and their respective shades of grey, Ruth is one of the brightest and most appealing figures in all of Scripture. A young Moabite widow who had married into a Jewish family, she had lost everything with the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. When her mother-in-law Naomi decided to return from Moab to the land of Judah, Ruth was determined to accompany her. Despite Naomi’s best efforts to dissuade her, Ruth clung to Naomi – as well as to Naomi’s people and to her God – with fierce loyalty.

    Back in Bethlehem, the prospects were bleak for the two widows, bereaved of their husbands and facing dire poverty. Nevertheless, Ruth remained unswervingly positive and energetic in her efforts to find work and take care of her mother-in-law. Via those efforts and by God’s grace, she met Boaz, a rich, kindly landowner who also happened to be related to Naomi. In due course Ruth and Boaz were married, thereby securing Naomi’s – as well as Ruth’s – future prospects. They also had a son, Obed, who would be an ancestor of King David and of King Jesus.

    The story of Ruth is saturated with kindness, expressed by the Hebrew word hesed – the kindness of Ruth to Naomi, of Boaz to Ruth, and of God to all of them. But there’s also a constant, palpable joy radiating from Ruth herself, driving everything she does, even in the worst of circumstances – a joy born of her faith in the God of Israel, under whose wings she had come to take refuge. Like Boaz’ mother, Rahab, she belonged to a race excluded from the commonwealth of God under the Old Testament. And yet by faith, she became a woman of God whose character put most of the men in Israel to shame. As the women of Bethlehem remarked, she was better to Naomi than seven sons. Her place in the Lord’s ancestry speaks volumes about God’s kindness in redeeming outsiders, and the joy which that redemption brings.

    Bathsheba: Love
    If Ruth’s is the most heartwarming romance recorded in Scripture, then Bathsheba’s is surely the most heartbreaking. Instead of being built on kindness and respect, it’s more like a modern cable TV love story, rooted in lust, rape and infidelity. Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of King David’s most trusted military officers. But then one day, David spotted Bathsheba bathing from the roof of his palace, slept with her, got her pregnant and had her husband murdered to cover up the affair. The baby born of their union died as a consequence of God’s judgment on their illicit relationship.

    The text makes no suggestion that Bathsheba was doing anything wrong or unusual in bathing the way she was. Rather it appears that David was where he shouldn’t have been, allowing his eyes to linger and his heart to follow. Moreover, the Scripture is silent about any supposed complicity on Bathsheba’s part and lays the blame squarely on David. Given the times and the culture in which she lived, Bathsheba almost certainly had no power to refuse the advances of an absolute monarch.

    The entire incident is unsavoury and troubling on several levels. After the affair, Bathsheba became one of David’s wives and gave birth to Solomon, David’s chosen heir and a precursor of the Christ to come. In later life, she reappeared as the queen mother whose influential voice secured the succession of her son. While David is the most significant name in the genealogy of Jesus, the inclusion of Bathsheba prevents him from being put on an unwarranted pedestal. Indeed, her presence insists upon the grace of the coming Messiah, who would redeem people caught in relationships of unequal power and tainted love and restore them in the true love and freedom offered by God.

    Mary: Fulfillment
    More than the other four women in Jesus’ genealogy, Mary’s place would have been obvious and incontestable, even in a culture prone to contest it. She was, after all, the virgin who had given birth, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Son of God made flesh. In fact, since both Mary and Joseph were descended from David through different family branches, Luke traces the Lord’s biological ancestry through Mary’s branch, whereas Matthew traces His legal lineage through Joseph’s branch.

    Luke devotes a fair bit of attention to Mary, even before the birth of her Son. He records her visits and conversations with the angel Gabriel and with her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. He portrays Mary as a humble young woman of faith who saw herself as God’s servant and God as her Saviour. Luke also preserves a sample of her notable poetic talent in the form of her spontaneous song of praise, known as the Magnificat:

  2. Jennifer,

    Thank you for your faithfulness in the LORD! I loved this entire article “the God of second chances” and so many more! He is the provider for all of our needs, and will polish us from the inside out, as we adhere and embrace His grace and endless love.

    Excellent job!

    God Bless~

  3. I am so glad that God does not use our lives based upon our past. It is beyond comprehension how, when we put our faith in Christ, we are saved by grace, justified but faith, and declared righteous by God. None of us deserve that. Thank you for this article. I hope and pray that many non-Christians will read this and realize that no matter what their past life has been, they can find forgiveness and redemption in Jesus.

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