When asked in a poll , “If you could live your life over, what would you do differently,” the number one answer was:
I would have done more things that would live on after my death.
Rather than great wealth, or power or renown, there is a deep desire to leave something of lasting value to the generations that will follow us. For the Christian, a legacy of faith is the greatest gift we can bequeath to our loved ones.
Supposing, however, we haven’t always lived a life of faith? Are there things in our past that disqualify us from leaving a legacy of eternal value? Let’s take a look at a story from the Old Testament and see what the Bible has to say.
The Children of Israel have wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Moses has died and Joshua has taken his place. The time has come for the Israelites to step into the Promised Land – the land the Lord has prepared for them.
Before crossing over the Jordan river, Joshua sends two men ahead to spy out the land. Entering the city of Jericho, they “came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab and lodged there.” (Joshua 2:1)
The story is a familiar one. Rahab has heard about the great God of Israel, (“For the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath,” Joshua 2:11) and has the faith to believe He can save her and her family. She hides the spies from the king of Jericho, helping them to safety – and in return they agree to spare her and all her family from the coming destruction of the city.
Miracles abound in this story, but the one thing that stands out as we consider the way the mistakes and failures of our past may impact our legacy is the fact that a harlot played a key part in God’s plan. Rahab had not lived a perfect or even a good life up until this point, but she put her faith in the God she had heard so much about and saved not only herself but her entire family. She brought them with her to the Promised Land and laid the foundation for a legacy of faith.
This isn’t the last place in scripture we see Rahab. In the book of Matthew we find her name listed in the genealogy of Jesus. “And to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab…”.
In Hebrews 11 -the chapter known as the Hall of Faith – we find listed among such great heroes of the faith as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob , Joseph, and Moses this woman whose life once seemed so tarnished.
“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient after she had welcomed the spies in peace.”
What a truly amazing legacy this faith-filled woman left for not just her family but for all of us.
We can be encouraged, when we look at the life of Rahab, in knowing that the sins of our past will never disqualify us from living a life that will bless those who come behind us. When we turn to God and repent of our sins, His gift to us is forgiveness and a new beginning. From that moment on we begin to build a legacy of priceless value for those we love.
“I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.” III John 1:4