A widow with a bad reputation
An illegal alien
A pregnant teenager
You may have guessed that these ladies have problems with sexual purity or troubles with the law. But, the most important thing they have in common is Jesus. Their names are: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. The most important thing they have in common is Jesus. You see, they’re the only women mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy (Matthew 1).
Okay, so Ruth wasn’t an illegal alien, and Mary didn’t have a problem with sexual purity. But, each woman in Matthew’s list is known for one defining moment, one decision–good or bad– that made her famous for all time. From this list, I’ve chosen Rahab because she staked her whole life on one, giant leap of faith.
In the moment the Israelite spies knocked on Rahab’s door in Jericho, she had to choose sides. Would she choose the gods of her city or would she choose the god of the tribes of Israel? Rahab chose the Lord God of Israel, and she hid the spies. After she sent the king’s soldiers on a wild goose chase, she explained to the Israelites, “I know that the Lord has given you the land…for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” (Joshua 2:9-11) If you read her story carefully, you’ll notice that she put her life on the line before she made a bargain with the spies. Incredible!
The Four Characteristics of a Defining Moment
First, Rahab was aware. She saw the choice, the opportunity to make a difference, because she was focused outward, not inward. She could have been focused on her personal problems or her fears, but instead, she was “in the moment”—not worried about the past or the future. When we are with others, we need to be aware and in the moment so that we see opportunities to make a difference.
Second, Rahab was available. She was ready to take a risk, to be “poured out” for others. She didn’t hold back, even though she was putting herself in danger. Great defining moments of faith usually involve risk. Maybe our risks aren’t life and death like Rahab’s, but often, we risk: being different from the crowd, being uncomfortable, putting aside our plans for the sake of someone else, and giving up things we hold dear. Rahab lost her home, her people, and her way of life because she chose to be available to God. In return, He gave her a new home, a new people, and a new way of life.
Third, Rahab was affirmative. The dictionary defines affirmative as: “expecting the best,” “expressing or manifesting praise,” and “giving assent.” She acknowledged God’s power, giving Him credit for taking care of His people. She gave assent to God’s plans—she said “yes” to God and “no” to herself and her old beliefs. She trusted in God enough to expect the best from Him. God affirmed her decision with a permanent place in the history of His people.
And fourth, Rahab put her fears aside, and took action. It’s not enough to be aware, available, and affirmative unless you take action. As James pointed out, “…faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:26) When a defining moment arrives, deciding to do the right thing is critical. Great moments of faith are accompanied by action.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- When opportunity knocks, will you be aware that you have a decision to make?
- When you have to take a risk in order to do the right thing, will you be available?
- When God’s prompts you, will you be affirmative to God and His plans?
- When you say “yes,” will you take action?
Kathrese McKee is an ex-systems engineer, former real estate agent, retired middle school Reading/ESL teacher, mother of four (three daughters and a son), and wife of 29 years to her college sweetheart, Lynn. These days, she has two blogs of her own, Momsread.com and Christ’s Reflections. She’s excited to be working on her first novel for young adults. The things that interest her most are: God and family, reading, writing, and helping people find their way.