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Once upon a time in a land which might be a far distance away from here, there was a city called Jericho. In this city, people loved to party in ways unimaginable to our modern culture. To keep their parties going, they had some… rather strange practices…
Their favorite party starter was sacrificing little innocent children to different idols, by putting them in flames. They made excuses for this practice like this one: “It’s the child of a prostitute, we don’t want to take care of it.”
Such children where the “unfortunate” consequence of their parties in which they had lots and lots of sex. They had sex with prostitutes, sex between people of the same gender, sex with minors and even sex with their own brothers and sisters.
In this town, there was also a very young girl. She loved it when different men of different ages looked at her beauty. And although she was still a minor, she loved to spend the night with many of her admirers… Because so many liked her outward appearance, she could even make money by satisfying her desires. Her name was Rahab.
Rahab, like all of us, had a conscience and her conscience told her that what she was doing was wrong. terribly wrong. But she liked the attention and she liked the money, so she continued doing this.
She also loved to gossip with the other prostitutes. One of her prostitute friends said that there was a huge army sweeping the neighboring countries , utterly destroying all inhabitants in the name of their God Yahweh. She said that they believed that this God built the entire universe in 7 days and that He did not like that the people did not obey His commandments. He did not like prostitution or sacrificing children. The befriended prostitute told her not to care about them or their God but just to enjoy the life she had and to live day by day.
The words of this other prostitute stayed in Rahab’s head. She started to worry about her future and she started to think about this God called Yahweh. Was He real? Was He a cruel God? Did He only love the members of that army? Did that God hate her for what she had done? Or was there a chance that He loves her since He might have given her a conscience? She did not know what to do.
Rahab started silently asking Him during the night, whether He was real. She did this every night when she wasn’t working. She also told Him that she did not deserve His attention but she kept begging Him to give her a sign.
One night, as she was asking for a sign, she had some unexpected visitors. Spies. They were part of the army she heard talking about. The men told her that they were in danger and they begged her to help them out. Rahab hid them on her flat roof.
Soon some soldiers of her country started knocking on the door: “Open up! You have spies in your house! Open up and bring them here!”.
Suddenly her heart was strangely warmed, as she understood that her prayer had been answered.
The Soldiers were getting even more suspicious so they kicked in the door. One soldier started shouting at her: “Where are those guys? I know they are here!”
Rahab answered: “Sir, I do not know where they are now. They ran away just recently! You can still get them! Hurry!”
The soldiers took off and Rahab quickly ran to the spies. She told them: “I heard about your God and I know that He will make you destroy this place. We all deserve to die because we did not obey Yahweh, our Maker. I don’t deserve to be spared, since I am the worst prostitute of this town… I asked Yahweh, your God and my Creator, to forgive me. Now I ask that you also don’t kill me.”
The soldiers assured her that they will not kill her if she would hang a red rope to her window when they would return to fight. With that same rope she made the men escape. She gave up her desire for having sex with many men, so her only source of income fell away. She hoped the army would soon return.
When the army, which was actually not that big, returned, Yahweh did a miracle. He made the city walls suddenly collapse. Only the house of Rahab was left standing. The army killed every inhabitant of that wicked country…
Rahab, who was once a prostitute, was kept alive. She was thankful to Yaweh, her new God, that He had spared her life and gave her the opportunity to serve Him. She came to understand that Yahweh loves her and cares for her. She came to understand that He loves even the worst people and that He is willing to give them a second chance if they choose to put their trust in Him.
Many years later, some people wanted to kill a prostitute. The prostitute was probably asking Yahweh for the forgiveness of all the things she had done wrong. According to the Law of Yahweh she deserved death. Yahweh Himself, in the Person of Jesus was on the scene. They asked what He would do. He replied that if there was anyone present who had not sinned against Yahweh, this person was allowed to stone her. All of her accusers left. Then Jesus, the Lawgiver Himself, said to her: “I forgive you. You are free to go but I don’t want you to disobey my Law again.”
picture source: Woonbo Kim Ki-chang.
The reason why I put a picture of a Korean artist, showing a Jesus who looks like the Koreans and a Korean prostitute, is because Jesus did not only come to forgive the Jews and put them in a right relationship with God. He also wants to do the same for the Korean people, Flemish people, American people… He wants to do that for every person in the world… He wants to do the same for you.
(based on Joshua 6:1-25 and John 8:1-11; two stories of the Bible.)