Not long ago, I was invited to welcome the President of the United States to Florida. I would get to stand on the tarmac as Air Force One rolled down the runway. I would get to see the President and the First Lady make their way down those famous steps and into the entourage that waited. If I was lucky, I’d maybe even get to shake his hand or snap a selfie. Even though I was extremely humbled and privileged to have this opportunity…I mean who gets to do that, I had to ask, “Can I bring someone?” When the coordinator answered yes, I couldn’t help myself…”How many can I bring?”
This reminds me of a story in the book of Joshua. God is about to give the Jews the city of Jericho (currently inhabited by a foreign people group.) The city is famous for its great walls that cannot be penetrated. It seems unlikely that the Jews will be able to break through and conquer the city. So, Joshua sends in a few trusted people to gather intel on the situation. While there, they come upon the house of Rahab, a known harlot by profession. 2:9 She says, “I know God has given your people this land. 11b The Eternal One, your God is truly God of the heavens above and the earth below.” She offers them a place to hide out and helps them escape the city which in turn, gives her the leverage to make a request. 12 “Since I have treated you kindly and protected you, please promise by the Eternal that you will do the same for my family.”
Rahab had taken advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity. Because she recognized who God was and put herself in the middle of His people, she gained the chance to forever change her life. She could join God’s chosen people and be a part of the miraculous story God was writing before her eyes. But she didn’t keep this prize for herself – no, she leveraged her situation to make sure that those she loved would be included in the story as well.
Friends, we have found our way into the family of God. We have recognized who He is and what He wants to do. We have been written into a story of miracles…a life-changing story that will affect generations to come. Why would we keep that to ourselves? Our relationship with God and His house gives us the +1 factor. We get to bring someone along. In fact, there is no limit to how many we get to bring!
17-18 “We will keep the oath we have sworn to you, but only if you follow these instructions: Gather all your family here in this house.” Rahab had an obligation to get them there but they could have refused. They had to make the choice to show up. After all, she was asking them to give up everything familiar. Their homes, old friends, their city, their jobs – it was a big decision. Rahab couldn’t make it for them. She could only extend the invitation.
Understand this, we cannot change lives, only God can. Those we want so desperately to come along have a choice to make as well. What we can do and should do is extend the invitation; over and over again if that’s what it takes.