I love stories.
I grew up on Walt Disney shows and movies, and have come to enjoy Pixar movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Cars, Up, etc., because they are fun, clever, terrific movies. More than just amazing CGI animation, witty humor, and incredible imagination are the actual stories being portrayed. These movies are good and virtuous.
I love stories from the Bible.
The 66 books of Scripture are full of stories about the One True God, His creation of everything, including human beings in His image, and His ultimate redemptive story of rescue. It’s a daring adventure more riveting than Davy Crockett, Mickey Mouse, The Incredibles, or Ratatouille.
Did you ever wonder why Rahab, a prostitute who lived in the city of Jericho, opened her home to Israelite spies? What gave her the courage to identify with and name the God of Israel as her own? And how she got included in the hall of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11?
Read Joshua 2:1-14.
How did someone in a pagan land hear the account of the reality and power of the God of the Israelites? And a woman at that? And a woman who engaged in prostitution? Although she was steeped in paganism and immorality, her heart was touched and drawn to this God. Joshua 2:10 records her words to the spies sent by Joshua, the leader of Israel, to investigate the land they were approaching. Rahab told the spies, “We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the kings of the Amorites.”
Think about the prospects Israel faced as they drew near to Jericho. Under normal circumstances, this highly fortified city was impenetrable and unconquerable. Yet history records that because of the power of God, it became vulnerable and accessible. Joshua 2:11 indicates that long before God’s people arrived and walked around the city, the pride and arrogance of the people of Jericho had been assaulted by the stories of the deliverance of Israel from the hostile hands of the Egyptians. Jericho and its citizens seemed to dissolve in fear when they faced those who belonged to God. They heard, then found themselves repeating among themselves and to the Jews, “The Lord your God, He is God above and on earth beneath.” Someone was talking.
Within the walls of Jericho, one pagan heart of a woman scorned by family, friends, and her culture, turned to receive the God of Israel. That step of faith resulted in her playing a strategic role in Israel’s stunning victory. God did not need Rahab to challenge the false gods of Egypt in the manner in which God used Moses. He just needed someone to hide two men on a roof.
In Robert Velarde’s “The Wisdom of Pixar: An Animated Look at Virtue,” he unpacks how Pixar movies display classic Christian virtues like hope, courage, friendship, and love. These films resonate with us because of their moral character. Rahab’s story should motivate us to boldly tell the story of God’s greatness. We never know when and how a person’s heart is ready to respond to the story of Immanuel, God with us. Grow devotionally. Don’t be shy. Learn, and be ready and willing to tell stories of God’s greatness from Scripture and your own experience.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz