Reading Rahab and Refugees

Hello friends,

I know it’s been a while and I owe you all reading wrap ups for December and January (hoping to post those soon!). This quarter has been eating up my time left and right, which hasn’t left much room for reading or for blogging! But I wanted to share some thoughts with you all regrading President Trump’s recent legislation, and the wider attitudes a vast majority of Americans are struggling with right now.

In my Christian Scripture class, we’ve been working our way through the Bible. This past week, we’ve found ourselves in Joshua, among other books, and we stumbled upon this peculiar story of a prostitute God chooses to save in His destruction of Jericho. (Feel free to read along with me in Joshua 2! I’m using the NRSV.) Rahab is peculiar, not because of what her profession is (though we should certainly take this into account), but because of her attitude.

In our discussion of why Rahab is promised protection, a few important characteristics pop up. First, Rahab acknowledges the Hebrew’s God as legitimate and powerful. She kneels before a God she does not intimately know, something even the Israelites, who have every reason to fear and honor God, struggle to do (Joshua 2:8-11). This is no small feat, but it isn’t the characteristic I want to explore right now.

She does something crucial, feeding into a theme the Old Testament is defined by: she welcomes strangers into her home. She doesn’t ask questions. And when her king orders a search party, and soldiers stop by her house to interrogate her, she lies for them, and keeps them safe (Joshua 2:2-5).

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When President Trump announced the new restrictions for immigration from “dangerous” countries, my social media feeds erupted with cheers from my Christian and conservative friends:

“Our boarders are safe!!”

“I’d rather be safe than sorry – or worse, beheaded on live TV

“Thank you, Trump, for protecting us from the reaches of ISIS!!”

And I struggle, friends. I struggle because I want to be Rahab in the middle of a sinful Jericho. I want to be a city of light on a hill of suffocating darkness. I want to open my home, my wallet, my boarders. If that means the king’s men are coming to knock on my door: I want to have the courage and the bravery to say I do not know where the spies, the refugees, the strangers, have left to, as I hide them on my roof.

Rahab and her family escaped the destruction of Jericho because the God that she bowed to honored her commitment to the stranger. She opened her door, fearless of the consequences, and God did not turn His blind eye.

Friends, if you’re someone who is cheering for Trump’s policies because you are afraid, have faith. The God who freed slaves, rained manna from the heavens, and crumbled the walls of Jericho with some trumpets and feet, is bigger than any ideology on this Earth. He is bigger than any person with a bomb (who, statistically, isn’t even banned via this new restriction, but I digress). He is bigger than a country. He is bigger than a king.

I believe in a God who topples walls, opens doors to strangers, and protects those who are strong and courageous. I believe in the Rahabs of the world. And, dear friends, when the city of Jericho falls, I have faith that no man made door will protect me. But a rope from some strangers just might.

 

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