Threshold moments solidify what God wants to be and do for us; they mark that crossing where we act on what we have heard. That threshold is where we cross over into the singularity where all assumptions, theories and calculations break down—but God—becomes suddenly, intensely real.
In numberless moments God reaches out to elicit our response. But all too often His bright motions have stirred the air—briefly observed, but unrecognized—melting into the shared obscurity of failed attempts. Sending one sign after another, He has signaled us, so that we might acknowledge He is there. But have we?
I’ve made myself available
to those who haven’t bothered to ask.
I’m here, ready to be found
by those who haven’t bothered to look.
I kept saying ‘I’m here, I’m right here’
to a nation that ignored me.
I reached out day after day
to a people who turned their backs on me . . .
Isa 65:1-2, THE MESSAGE Bible
Sometime between 1400 and 1562 B.C.E.
Rahab smoothed the fragrant sheets of her bed between the visits of the men who came to her. She was the harlot of Jericho, living in a time and place where women were little valued and rarely educated—which makes her trust in The One making Himself known to her all the more poignant and convicting.
The loud voices and pounding at her door sent tremors through the very walls of her house as the door was flung open by the officers forcing their way in. Fierce and threatening, they demanded that Rahab turn over the men who had come to her. With undisguised contempt the captain of the guard warned that she would pay the ultimate price as a traitor if she did not turn the Hebrew spies over, now. The low growl in his voice and his eyes would have sent a shiver through Rahab’s body.
Her life was on the line. Inner longings seasoned with unreasonable dashes of hope and expectation could not, alone, withstand the pressure bearing down on her in that moment. If she were caught with the two men who were seeking sanctuary with her, having not turned them over, her torture and death would be made the public example of what happens to a traitor.
Rahab’s defining moment had come. Every crisis brings a moment like it, when we have to determine what is really taking place here; what is the truth? And then act upon it, refusing to listen to fear. Crisis like a surgeon’s scalpel cuts to what it comes to reveal.
Rahab felt the keenness of the crisis, but what it revealed surprised even her—conviction like a rock, assurance flowing like a gentle river telling her she rightly understood the reality of what was taking place in Jericho. This made her strong and managed her fear, giving her calm in her defining moment.
Acting on what she had been shown,
Rahab stepped resolutely over the threshold
that would define the rest of her existence.
She was placing her full confidence in The One she was convinced was there . . . The One she was convinced was more real than all the gods of Canaan.
Lifting her insouciant face to the captain of the guard, she summoned every ounce of appeal she knew how to employ. “Guys, (my words) you well know how many men come to my door.” I imagine her pausing purposely, making direct eye contact, one-by-one, with each of the men glowering over her, the fierceness in the room abating.
“Yes, the men came to me,” she admitted, “but I did not know where they were from. When it was time to shut the gate at dark, the men went out; and I don’t know where they went. It wasn’t that long ago, so if you pursue them quickly, you should be able to overtake them.” (Josh 2:4-7)
Leaving quickly, the king’s men rushed through the city gate, which closed after them as they pressed in hot pursuit of the two Jews who represented everything they feared. But Rahab, shutting her door behind them climbed up to her roof, to assure the hearts of the two she had hidden under stalks of flax.
I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
Joshua 2:9-12, NASU
How did this Canaanite pagan prostitute come to this conclusion? Her culture had taught her contempt for the god of the Hebrew slaves and his so-called promise to them of Canaan’s land. She was no more preconditioned to recognize or respond to God, than any of us . . .
But Scripture explains what brought Rahab to this place.
By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
Hebrews 11:31, NASU
Her assurance and conviction is explained,
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1-2, NASU
And we are also told how her faith came to be,
. . . faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17, NKJV
It does not matter who she was, what she did for a living, or how deeply in pagan antiquity she lived, the Word had come to find Rahab, to bring her from where she was to where she was meant-to-be.
And when that Word came, she recognized, “Its God!”
Rahab heard, recognized, acknowledged, and trusted
The One Jericho didn’t.
We, like Rahab, come to threshold moments when the only way that we will be able to step across is if we have our own history with God, moments when we have clearly recognized that It was Him leading, softly guiding and correcting us. We don’t have to absolutely positively understand all that He is telling us, but we need enough of our own personal history with Him to be able to trust Him, to step over that threshold, acting on what we’ve been shown.