-Rev Melissa Fain-
8 Before the spies bedded down, Rahab went up to them on the roof.9 She said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land. Terror over you has overwhelmed us. The entire population of the land has melted down in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lorddried up the water of the Reed Sea in front of you when you left Egypt. We have also heard what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites on the other side of the Jordan. You utterly wiped them out.11 We heard this and our hearts turned to water. Because of you, people can no longer work up their courage. This is because the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. 12 Now, I have been loyal to you. So pledge to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal loyally with my family. Give me a sign of good faith. 13 Spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, and sisters, along with everything they own. Rescue us from death.”
Joshua 2:8-13 CEB
Sex trafficking is real, and happens right under our noses. In 2012 there were 20.9 million victims of human trafficking world wide, with many of those being pushed into the sex tracking business. A business, I might add, that brings in 150 billion dollars a year.
If your immediate thought is "not in America," think again. In 2012 there were over 4,000 cases of sex trafficking in the U.S. Our daughters have been coerced and kidnapped into prostitution. It's forcing someone to work without their permission or monetary gain. It's modern day slavery.
Many years ago, prosecutors and police were struggling to put a stop to it When stings would go down everyone was being punished. Prostitutes would go to jail along with their pimp. Punishing everyone made it easier for gangs and pimps to keep these girls under control. They could simply tell them they were breaking the law. They would go to jail too if they ran away. Then they would take away their ability to communicate. No phones. No Facebook.
In more recent years something changed. Language. The girl went from being accused of prostitution, to being the victim of rape, kidnapping and pandering. It gave these girls a voice, and a way out.
Rahab was a prostitute in the land of Jericho. Jericho was the Promised Land, the land promised to the Israelites after leaving Egypt. The Israelites had to take it, but they needed help. (We're coming back to this scripture on another day. There is so many uncomfortable things happening, and I can only focus on one uncomfortable piece a day!)
Prostitution was not a choice in the Ancient Near East. If a woman didn't have a husband or family, selling their body was the only option left. Rahab was a slave to the Ancient Near East sex trafficking business. That's why it's important God worked through her. More than that, she would be a root in the line of Jesse. She is the mother of Boaz, who would marry Ruth, whose grandson was Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David. Besides the fact that the Bible points David directly to Jesus, Rahab becomes part of God's Chosen, a Grandmother to royalty.
We must listen to the voice of those that appear guilty, but are actually victims. From them, the voice of God could rise and change the world. God is a prostitute.
Let us pray:
God of the victim, help us see you when we only see the sin. Amen.