Monday, May 24, 2010

RAHAB: From Rejection to Rejoicing

RAHAB – From Rejection into Rejoicing
Dedicated to Michi & Freeda George Foreman, Dolapo Oladimeji, Lara Koleoso
And to Tolu Ashiru and Teewhy A Jeremiah, Ronnette Graham

The oily tan on her withering façade had seen many a harsh solar storm. Deep olive green eyes freckled with hints of cataract penetrated into the oblivion ahead. Her small aquiline nose hooded over her small sculptured lips – ruptured by the dry weather of Abib. Long gossamer black tresses, even to her waistline, caped around her delicate shoulders, with strips of gray forming crinkles at the frayed ends. She was once ornamentally beautiful.

The woolen robes embroidered with scarlet silk barely kept the cold away as she sat atop the bales of flax on her rooftop. The snow on the mountains had melted into the Jordan and she could smell the waft of the petals as they sprung forth in Nisan. Jericho, the beautiful fragranced abode of the heritage of Canaan, in the shadow of palm groves, beset by the Fountain of Elisha. A fortress, walled with intricate patterns of Asphalt and the mud of the banks of the River Jordan.

She looked forlornly, beyond the walls, beyond the sleeping sentry, beyond the massive gates, to a vision of salvation... To her dreams, of the march of the army of Shem’s God. She saw a king, a lion, a throne, a crown, and one who even like the son of man. But she had known no other God, but Baal and Tamuze, and Asherah…but this Son of Man…is perhaps truly a god?

The streaking winds and the dimming sunset soon penetrated her bones. She gathered her robes again and stood atop the produce of the barley harvests, the stalks of flax and the silken ropes she had spun, dipped in scarlet oils. She would sell them to strangers from the Nile, even from Gaza and the Chaldees. Perhaps there was one already in her chambers. She closed her eyes and prayed…”Oh God of creation and of all mankind, whose mercies endure forever. I beseech thee; let my hour of salvation draw nigh”.

As mists gathered in her eyes again, frozen tears, delicate pain, heaving bosoms…the painful memories wracked her body. She, the Queen’s Chambermaid, and the Prince’s love interests. The delight of the royal household, on account of her ethereal beauty. Sought after by the mighty, princes, rulers, and men of valour…the King’s generals. But to the chief of the princes she did give her heart. Until one night, when the drunken brother of the chief prince besought her…and violated her. And the King…banished her to the soldier’s quarters at the Inn of Rejection, where strangers and travelers dwelt until the morn. There they banished her, and named her Rahab, rejected, forsaken, proud and insolent.

She opened her eyes, and looked down. The line of merchants and had thinned out. Many would drink to a stupour and pass out on the earthen floor. Some would make for her private quarters, with shekels and Dinaris, with silver and gold. But in the silhouette of the night she beheld two men of a different countenance. Their hair was curly dark brown. Their hands as men of great labour, their robes from Goshen and the sandals from Egypt…these were Shem’s seed…Hebrews. She hurried down to the Inn, pulling her robes together…by a silken scarlet rope.

The Inn was boisterous. Down the steps she could see the Hebrews. She beckoned to them, to come to her upper chambers, to her quarters. They made towards her.
“Hey, where are you going?” A drunken merchant made to block the Hebrews approach.
“I was here before you. Been waiting for Rahab”
Rahab went further down, and kicked the amorous merchant out of the way, and pulled the two men into her room. All the men laughed.
“It's two men tonight eh? Rahab? One said. And there was more laughter.
The humiliated merchant made out of the Inn, and told the Chief Sentry of the Hebrews.
And they went to see the King, for no one had right over her, being a former chambermaid in the palace.

Rahab inspected the two men.
“You are Hebrews?” They nodded
“How is it you have ventured here at peril to your lives?
“Jehovah Nissi is able to protect us”
“Aah. Is that the name of Abraham’s God, by whom the wicked are terrified?”
And she besought them to tell her a about the God of Shem.

The King was beside himself in fury.
“That prideful and insolent woman. Are not all the soldiers of Jericho and the strangers of the nations enough for her? Has she now become confederate with the Hebrews of whom we have no armour against their God?”
And he sent them to her with authority to bring the strangers to the palace, but not Rahab, for she was banished from his sight.

At the Inn, Rahab opened her windows, which were made out of the walls, that the cool air may begin to oscillate and her incense may wear out. The Hebrew men and slept on her earthen floor, till daybreak. But she could not sleep. The words she had heard were life itself. Her visions had come to visit her. The God of Shem did hear her prayers after all. The Son of Man did not merely live in the heavens, but He had servants on earth to do His will. Did not these men bring words of hope and of mercy and of grace to all who will believe? She could not remain in Jericho.

The sound of thundering feet startled her…the King’s royal guard. She quickly awoken the Hebrews and took them to the rooftop where she had sat. She motioned for them to lie beneath the stalks of flax lest the sentries on the walls would observe them, even in the night. She hurried to her chambers and put on her robes, tied together with the silken scarlet rope. A heavy object hit the door of the Inn.
“Rahab, come down at once, in the name of the king” The Chief Sentry shouted
All the merchants and strangers were fully awake. But the palace guards did not make to enter into the Inn for it was their custom.
Rahab went forth to speak to the guards.
“Rahab, hear the words of the King. Bring forth the men that came to you, that entered into your house, for they are spies”
Rahab responded.
“Yes they did come to me, but I don’t know where they are now.”
She continued. “When it was dark, at the time for the shutting of the gate the men went out. Where they went I do not know. Why don’t you pursue them quickly? You might even overtake them.
So, the royal guards had the gates open and ran into the night, and the gates were shut after them.

Rahab retreated indoors and barricaded her doors and sneaked onto the roof of her house, where the Hebrews were hid beneath the stalks of flax. She brought them to her room and motioned to her open windows. She untied the silken scarlet rope around her waist and tied one end to the bedpost near the window. Then she said.
“By vision, I know that God has given you Jericho and we are sore afraid of you and everyone in this land trembles because of you. We have heard of the might miracles wrought on your behalf and how your God did dry up waters for your escape and how two kingdoms were utterly destroyed by your soldiers. As soon as we heard these, our courage failed us and we have known these things.”

She continued.
“For out of the mouth confession is made unto salvation. I confess this that my heart declares, that the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now, therefore I pray, swear unto me by God, since I have showed you kindness, that you will repay me with kindness, even my father’s household, and when your set time for victory over Jericho comes, you will save my entire household”
And the Hebrews said, “So let it be written, so let it be done”
Then they scrambled down the scarlet rope to the earth below outside of the walls.
Rahab shouted after them.” Go towards the mountains and remain there three days so that the royal guards which seek you may return empty handed and you can go you way.”
Then the Hebrews replied. “On that day of deliverance, keep this scarlet rope on the lintel and doorpost of your house and ascertain that all your household remain indoors because of the destruction that comes forth, otherwise we will not be guilty by this oath you have made us swear to you”
And she said. ”According to your words, so be it”.

As the Hebrews marched in Jericho, there were drumbeats of war. All the men gathered the women and children and took them to the city centre…but Rahab they left alone, with her family, by the city walls. She took the silken scarlet rope that had brought salvation to the Hebrews and hung it around the doorpost of her house, so that from afar it looked like a trip of blood, painted across the lintel and the doorpost. The she went back and begun to sing the song of the Passover, which the Hebrews had taught her. The same song that they had sung on the march out of Egypt.

All, and about them, the days passed. She could see the Hebrews, Priests, soldiers and men and women surround the city and march in a solemn procession for many days. There was silence in Jericho. Even as the men ran around the walls with their weapons, she could hear the Hebrews again as they taught her, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, for pulling down all kinds of strongholds…from Jericho to Ashdod”. She began to teach again the words of the Hebrew men…and of the visions she had seen…of how God chose her out of harlotry and said “You have found favour in my sight”. She taught about the visions of women like herself, whom the LORD will also raise up with a new song. She spoke of the sure mercy of God that would speak to a Moabite woman and a woman in Samaria. She spoke of how she would come to bear a new name, “Rachab”. And of a son…

Suddenly, there was a powerful shout, like that of many rivers, and the thunderous falling away of all the fortresses of Jericho, of yokes, of burdens of strongholds. Screams and shouts of men, women and children, under the debris of stones and rocks, and she saw the robes from Goshen running into the city with swords of victory. They huddled together in the fortified wall that was her home, which did not fall. Then the doors bust open…the soldier that came in said to them…
…”Come quickly…my name is Salmon.”

And Salmon, a Prince of Judah of the Hebrews, took Rahab to his tribe, and loved her and married her…and they begat Boaz, who married the Moabitess, Ruth, who begat Obed, who begat Jesse, who begat David…and the rest? Are they not written in the Holy Books?

(c) George Honey Ashiru
Ultimate Love Foundation
Month of Man

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