Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: Jericho

Rahab’s Journal: Beloved

I’m a grandma!

Almost as soon as they got married, Ruth was with child. The baby arrived last night. Oh I’m so happy! And Naomi, you’d think he was her firstborn son, she’s so thrilled. Old age has dropped off her since holding this little one in her arms.

All our friends and neighbours are celebrating with us. The women suggested the baby’s name: Obed. It means servant or worshiper. It’s a good name and sums up Boaz and Ruth’s marriage. They are both lovely, servant-hearted people who worship God. I pray their son will be just like them.

How far we have come as a family….. God rescued me from the ruins of Jericho and sex work. My beloved Salmon had the courage to make me his wife. Not many men would have done that. And we have had a long and satisfying marriage.

Then came our Boaz, who is now husband of Ruth and abba of Obed. I’m so proud to call this kind man of integrity my son.

It’s rare in this culture for a Jew to marry outside of their own people, yet both Salmon and Boaz have done so. I wonder if it is a sort of foreshadowing of what Elizabeth used to tell me, of God’s promised Deliverer one day bringing salvation not just for the Jews but the whole world. I look into the innocent eyes of my beloved grandson and wonder when the Deliverer will come….

Rahab’s Journal: Led

So much has happened in the last couple of years that I’ve had no time for writing.

We moved about eighteen miles south of Jericho to a delightful little town called Bethlehem. The whole family moved here with us: my parents and Elizabeth and Jonathan. Salmon and I have a small house with a courtyard that is fairly close to the well. That makes life easy for me, not so far to carry water. And that’s important, because of the other thing that has kept me busy….

We have a son 🙂

Our little one is called Boaz and he is the joy of my heart.

We weren’t sure whether I could have children. There are certain diseases in my old line of work that can make a woman infertile. It’s what you might call an occupational hazard. So when I wasn’t with child soon after our wedding, I had my doubts. But my dear mum-in-law Elizabeth prayed. She never gave up hope.

I love our little Boaz. When I look into his big brown eyes, my heart just melts with love for him. I wonder what he will grow up to be, what plans the Lord has for him?

I am thankful for how God has led me, all the way from my brothel in Jericho, to a welcoming family, and here to our home in Bethlehem. He brought Salmon and me together and now we have our little Boaz. God has led me out of the oppression of sex work and into a spacious place of blessing. I don’t deserve this, but I’m glad – oh so glad – that He has accepted me. He is healing me and making me whole from the inside out.

My faith is in the one true God, the only God. He has not let me down, and I know He never will. I love Him.

 

Rahab’s Journal: Forgiven

What a week. I don’t quite know what to make of it, really. At least we’re all safe and together, me and my family.

Not long after the spies escaped, we saw the Israelites camped outside Jericho. The king closed the gates and prepared for a siege. There was an odd stillness in the air, as if the very presence of God was here. Quite unnerving.

One week ago today, we heard trumpets blowing. My dad and brothers and me ran up onto the roof of my house to see what was going on. What a sight met our eyes. The Israelite army marched along followed by seven priests blowing trumpets, sunlight glinting off the instruments. Behind, was the famous and much-feared Ark of the Covenant as their rear guard.

Aside from the trumpets, there was absolute silence. Not one of the soldiers spoke. It was eerie.

Although I’m a grown woman and a prostitute, I felt for my dad’s hand and held it fast.

‘You’re sure the spies will keep their word, Rahab?’ he said.

‘If they are like their God, they will,’ I replied. I slipped downstairs and double-checked the scarlet sash was visible in the window.

For six days, the same thing happened. The army marched around the city walls once in silence, with the seven priests blowing the trumpets.

Everyone in Jericho was terrified. I wished they would listen to me so they could be safe too, but they continued to pray to the useless gods of Jericho for salvation.

This morning, the army and the priests with their trumpets and the Ark of the Covenant walked in silence around the city walls seven times. I noticed some of the soldiers looking up at the scarlet sash in my window, and my heart beat fast. I was certain something was about to happen.

As they completed the seventh lap, the army let out a great shout. And – I’m still shaking from the shock of it – the huge, thick walls of Jericho went crashing to the ground as though something powerful had struck them.

At once, the two spies I’d hidden, came looking for me and my family. They took us to safety, to their camp.

As I’m writing this, I’m overwhelmed with the enormity of it. My mum can’t stop crying, it’s all been a bit much for her. I know how she feels. The whole city wall collapsed, just like that. But my house and the part of the wall it was built on stayed standing.

The only thing I’m sure of right now is that the God of Israel is my God. I reached out to Him in faith and He heard the cry of my heart. I know I am forgiven, and I’m determined to leave my life of prostitution behind.

 

 

 

 

Rahab’s Journal: Wise

Two men came to my house yesterday. That’s not unusual in my line of business. I’d been watching them from my bedroom window; I felt certain they were up to something. These two looked like decent blokes and I didn’t want them getting into trouble. 

I ran downstairs, opened my front door and beckoned to them.

The old battle-axe who lives down the road spotted me and stomped into her house, slamming the door. I shrugged my shoulders. So what? I don’t care.

I invited the men inside. I’m not sure, to be honest, that they knew what I was or where they were. My main room is tastefully decorated but what with the mirrors and linens draped around the walls, you can’t really mistake it.

I nearly laughed out loud when the coin finally dropped and the pair realised where they were.

‘Look, it’s pretty obvious you’re up to something. If I can tell, the king is going to be on to you like nobody’s business. Now, who are you and what are you doing here?’

Turns out the two men were spies, sent out by Joshua, the new leader of the Israelites. They are coming to invade my country. My heart sank.

Even in Jericho, we’d heard the stories of the famous God of Israel. How He’d done awesome signs and wonders for His people when they were slaves in Egypt and rescued them. Pharaoh and his army were made to look pathetic against this rag-tag group with their powerful God. Their God was Someone to be reckoned with.

I’d listened to the stories of the God of Israel and always secretly wished I could know Him. He sounded incredible, the way He fought for His people, rescuing them from slavery. The gods of Jericho just don’t compare. We bow and scrape and sacrifice, but they do absolutely nothing for us.

While we were talking, someone banged on my door.

‘Quick,’ I pushed the spies ahead of me up the stairs and onto my roof, and hid them under some stalks of flax I was storing up there.

Then I raced back down the stairs and opened the front door. It was officials from the palace. Word had evidently reached the king that I was harbouring the spies. 

Good job I’m quick at thinking on my feet.

‘Oh yes, love, they were here,’ I told the officials, ‘but you’ve missed them. They left just before the city gates were closed. They haven’t gone long. If you’re quick, you’ll catch them.’

Thankfully, they believed me. They had no reason not to. After all, a couple of them were regulars….

Once the officials left, I went back to the roof. Now to take my chance.

‘I know the Lord has given you this land. I’ve heard how He’s fought for your people over the years. We, in Jericho, are terrified of Him. The Lord is the Creator God. Now, I’ve got a favour to ask. Since I’ve saved your lives, when you invade the city, please promise me you won’t kill me or any of my family.’

I was trembling inside. I gave it everything I’d got. Would God’s people be as kind as their God?

To my great relief, both spies nodded.

‘Yes okay. See this scarlet sash? Bring all of your family into your house, your mum and dad, brothers and sisters, everyone, and then tie this scarlet sash in the window. We promise that when we invade the city, everyone inside your house will be safe.’

I swallowed hard and nodded. ‘Thank you.’

In case my house was being watched, we tied a rope from the roof onto the city wall, on which my house is built, and the spies climbed down and escaped.

I’ve made a wise move I think. I hope the spies will keep their word.

 

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