Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home

If you, O LORD, keep a record of sins, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.  Psalm 130:3–4 NIV

“Wait ’til your father gets home” was not a threat I was able to use on my children. Their father, you see, was—and still is—a softy. I was the bad guy who doled out punishment and discipline.

But there was one time I was sure this easygoing husband of mine would crack and lose his temper with an errant, strong-willed, rebellious child.

One evening when my daughter was in high school, I’d taken her to the mall to do some school shopping. She’d just about finished when my aching feet drove me to the car to wait while she picked up some makeup. I waited. And waited. And waited. The mall was closing down and still no daughter. Where was she?

I returned to the store to find out. Well, she’d picked up some makeup, all right—and tried to get out of the store without paying.

I was beyond furious. How could she do something like this? How could she do this to me? I mean, after all, I was a Sunday school teacher and Bible club teacher, choir director, Christian writer. Wasn’t I supposed to have perfect Christian children? What would people say? What would they think of me? I’ll never forgive her for this! I vowed silently as I drove home, shaking with rage.

“When we get home,” I hissed, “you will tell your father what you’ve done.”

I sent her in ahead of me so I could try to calm down and give her time to tell him without me there. But when I walked in, the scene that greeted me was not what I’d had in mind. There, curled up in her father’s lap, was our remorseful child.

I was stunned. How could he open his arms to her after what she’d done? How could he forgive her just like that? At that moment I don’t know who I was madder at—her or him.

That was more than twenty years ago. Since then, our daughter has grown up to be quite the woman. While fulfilling her roles as wife and mother, she earned her teaching degree as a full-time student with close to a 4.0 GPA. Her college recognized her with its “Heart of Gold” award for her work with a support group for parents of autistic children. She’s now an awesome high school math teacher who asks to work with students who struggle with learning math because she, too, found math difficult when she was in high school.

It took me years before I recognized what I really saw that night when I walked in the house: a perfect picture of God’s unconditional love for us.

Thank You, Abba Father, that we can curl up in Your lap any time we need forgiveness. Amen.

Read and reflect on Luke 15:11–32.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Of Prostitutes and Promises

         

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab . . . – Matthew 1:5 NIV

… was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? – James 2:25 NIV

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. – Hebrews 11:31 NIV        

The year: circa 1400 BC. The place: Jericho, the most fortified city in the land of Canaan.

Having served their sentence of forty years in the wilderness, the Israelites were knocking at Jericho’s gates. Even though God’s chosen people were still on the other side of the Jordan River, the inhabitants of Jericho—10,000 strong—were terrified. They’d heard all about how the Red Sea miraculously parted so the children of Israel could walk through on dry ground, and how the pursuing Egyptians drowned. They’d heard about how the Israelites, a fugitive nation with little or no military training, had annihilated the Amorite kingdoms of kings Sihon and Og.

And now, here they were, just across the river, poised to strike. Yep, the citizens of Jericho were shaking in their sandals.

But the Israelites didn’t know this. Not until Joshua, their leader, sent two spies to the city. It should come as no surprise that these men ended up in the house of the only person in Jericho who would protect them—a prostitute by the name of Rahab.

When the king sent his heavies to Rahab’s house to arrest the spies, she said they’d already left.

“If you hurry,” she told them, “you can catch up with them.”

Then she went up to the roof, where the spies were hiding under stalks of flax laid out for drying.

“I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you,” she said, adding that they’d heard what had happened at the Red Sea and to the two kings. “Everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God of heaven above and on the earth below.”

Her words jogged their memory: “I will put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven,” God had promised not too long before. “They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you” (Deuteronomy 2:25 NIV).

Rahab then asked for protection for her and her family when they conquered the city. The spies promised, tying a scarlet cord in the window that would identify her house to the invading Israelites.

You know what happened. The walls of Jericho fell down flat, the Israelites conquered and burned the city, and Rahab and her family were saved.

But did you know that Rahab, the former harlot, married Salmon, who is believed to be the son of Caleb, one of the two spies who came back with a good report forty years earlier? The union of their son Boaz and Ruth produced Obed, the grandfather of King David, an ancestor of Jesus the Messiah.

This is a story of faith and faithfulness: the remarkable faith of Rahab, which distinguished her for the future “Hall of Faith” (Hebrews 11), and the faithfulness of God, who always keeps His promises.

Take note: Jericho fell a few weeks after the flax was harvested—in March, the time of the Passover. The crimson blood of the Passover lamb represented a promise, a covenant, between God and the Israelites. The scarlet cord in Rahab’s window identified the one to whom a promise was made.

Fast forward 1,400 years, to the night one of Rahab’s descendants, a man named Jesus, held up a cup of wine, and proclaimed, “This is My blood of the new covenant …”

This blood, the blood of God’s only Son, fulfilled the promise He made at the dawn of civilization, when the sin of our first parents created a chasm between them, and hence all mankind, and a loving Creator.

If Rahab—a common prostitute who lived in a nation whose wickedness aroused God’s wrath and marked them for total destruction—could believe the promises of a God she’d only heard of at the risk of her life, how can we, who have God’s Word and His Spirit, not also believe?

Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free. From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art. Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.*

*From “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” by Charles Wesley. Public domain.

Read and reflect on Joshua 2.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons © 2018 Michele Huey.