Who do you think of when you hear the word hero? Perhaps you think of our military. Maybe you think of the first responders who raced into the Twin Towers on 9/11. Or maybe someone you know is your hero.When my son was young, he used to spend hours playing with his superhero action figures as they battled the “bad guys.”
Well, last week my pastor Dave Rodriguez gave me plenty to think about in his third sermon in our Hero series. He said that heroes of the faith “are ordinary people with a deep conviction that spills over into extreme action for the love of others and the glory of God.”
I guess the emphasis on ordinary people caught my attention, because … that means that all of us are candidates to be a hero. As a matter of fact, the subject of his sermon that day was as unlikely a candidate for a hero, as ever has been: Rahab. If you remember Rahab from the Bible, she was a prostitute who ended up saving the lives of the two Hebrew spies who came to scope out the city of Jericho before the Israelites took it over. When the king’s men came knocking on her door looking for the spies, she sent them in the other direction, while she hid the spies on her roof.
Rahab had heard the stories of God and his people, and she chose to believe them and believe in Him. She went against the tide of what everyone else was doing, because she put her faith in the one, true God. Then she acted on that faith. As Dave said, “No one ever becomes a hero by just thinking about it. Intentions play no part in heroism–action does.”
A few weeks ago, Mary and I spoke at a women’s fellowship luncheon at the Foundation of Truth Worship Center in Indianapolis. Our topic was on Defeating Your Strongholds and Rahab’s story was one we used as an example of a woman who broke her strongholds. Her story is amazing, and it doesn’t end in Joshua 2.
Rahab is actually mentioned in Matthew 1 in the genealogy of Jesus (!), and she is listed in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of the faith, along with many others. Praise God that our pasts don’t keep us from doing big things for God. You see, it wasn’t that there was anything special about Rahab or the others listed in Hebrews. What Hebrews emphasizes was that by faith they each did their heroic deeds. Not faith in themselves, but faith in the great God we serve.
Rahab didn’t have a lot of time to decide or pray about her decision to hide the spies–heroes rarely do. It’s a risky faith that makes a person a hero, one that’s willing to act by faith when no one else is.
And like Rahab, anyone of us has the potential to be a “by faith” hero–because we serve that very same great God!