Two Kinds of Faith

Hebrews 11:30-31(NKJV) 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

Yesterday we discussed the need for faith in order to walk in favor from God. We added to this the need for patience. Patience is particularly needed when we are talking about favor because the idea of favor is that God is moving on another person to meet your need. Since this takes time, we need to be able to wait patiently in faith while God works on the person or people involved.

A second reason we need patience to walk in favor is that we have no control over the outcome of the situation. If we are trusting God to give us favor, we cannot try to influence the person or people involved. If we do that, we eliminate God’s ability to move on them. If the Lord speaks to us to go to someone, that is something else. If we, in our impatience, try to influence people, we are trying to control them. This is manipulation and God will not bless that.

I want to take some time this week to look at another Old Testament character who obtained favor. She is found in the story of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land. She is forever connected with another prominent bible character, Joshua. She is not a person of high position or reputation. She is the “harlot” Rahab.

These two people highlight two kinds of faith. Joshua represents aggressive, direct faith. In the story of Jericho, Joshua does not rely on favor from God. Joshua receives a plan from the Lord for taking the city. This plan is outside the boundaries of natural logic, but it is God’s plan. Joshua acts on the Word of God and in seven days, the walls of Jericho fall.

This is the kind of faith in which most prefer to walk. We hear the word. We stand on the promise. We act on the Word of God and in a short time we see the results. This kind of faith depends more on our obedience and faith focus than on favor from anyone else. We have to resist our enemy the devil, but we do not have to wait for someone else to do something we have no control over.

Areas we may walk in this kind of faith might include healing for our own bodies. We go to the bible and find the scriptures that tell us God heals the sick. We study and meditate on them until we sense faith rising in our hearts. We then pray the prayer of faith and expect God to move. No one else is involved. There is no need for favor. We pray, believe and receive the answer.

This applies anywhere we have a need that is met strictly by divine intervention. The plan God gave Joshua for Jericho required this kind of faith. They prayed, received a plan, obeyed and the power of God knocked down the walls. Then they went in and took the city. No natural intervention from anyone was necessary.

We know that God can meet any need in this way. However, for many reasons this is not the way the Lord usually works. Few people have experienced God knocking down city walls. Rarely have seas or rivers been parted supernaturally as they were in the ministry of Moses and Joshua. Jesus turned water into wine but that is not how God provides for us. Peter went fishing and found his tax money, but this is not the normal way we pay our taxes.

The majority of things we see God do in our lives happen through what might be called normal channels. We see things work out when they should not have worked out. Money comes to us from sources that we did not expect. We know in our hearts that God has moved in our situation yet the channels he used were within the realm of the natural world. These things are no less supernatural than the falling walls of Jericho, but they are not nearly as spectacular.

When God moves in these “natural supernatural” ways, we find that one of the main components to what God does is favor. He moves on someone to do something that helps us in ways we could not help ourselves. This requires a different kind of faith than Joshua’s aggressive faith used in the battle of Jericho. This requires a faith we will call waiting faith. We apply waiting faith far more than we apply aggressive faith. Even when we do apply aggressive faith, there is usually a waiting faith component involved.

This brings us to the second character in the story of Jericho. Rahab could not apply Joshua’s kind of faith to her situation. We will find that she had no control over what would happen in her life. She received favor from two spies sent into the land by Joshua. They gave her a promise that she would be saved from destruction when Israel came to attack the city. They then left to go back to the Israelite camp.

The Israelite spies had given her some instructions to follow and that is the only thing she could do while she waited. Her story takes place in Joshua 2. Israel does not take Jericho until Joshua chapter 6. During that interval, Israel crosses the Jordan River. They make camp on the west bank of the river. They circumcise all of the men of military age. They celebrate the Passover. I am not sure how much time passed between the day the spies left Rahab’s house and Israel’s return to Jericho, but it was more than a few days.

When Israel finally got to Jericho, it is seven more days before they actually attack and take the city preserving Rahab and her family. What did Rahab do for all that time? She continued living her life. She followed the instructions of the spies, trusted God and went about her daily business. I am sure she had some shaky moments just as you and I do when we must wait for God to move. However, the one thing she did not do was give up.

I am sure that she meditated on the promise she received from the spies. We know that all Jericho was afraid of Israel and their God. I imagine she must have prayed to the Hebrew God, thanking him for sending the spies so she could help them and have the opportunity be saved from the coming destruction. Beyond those things, there was absolutely nothing she could do but wait in faith for her deliverance to come.

You may be facing a “waiting faith situation.” I expect you are. You can do nothing to change your circumstances. If there is something you know you can do or that the Lord has instructed you to do, do it. However, in the end, it is going to be up to God to bring favor where it is needed and change what must be changed. That might include changing you!

Give thanks to God for his promise while you wait. Meditate on the Word of God concerning your situation. Think about God’s goodness in your life. Resist the thoughts that will come from the devil telling you that God has forgotten you or that you are not worthy for God to move on your behalf. Neither is true. God is working. He is bringing favor to you. He is doing what needs to be done to meet your need. If necessary God still knows how to bring down walls with no help from anyone or anything.

Apply waiting faith, trusting him and see what he will do for you. I wish I could tell you when you will see the manifestation but I cannot. I can tell you that God is never late and his love never fails.

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