In the Old Testament book of the Bible, Joshua 1:9 God says, "Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed for the Lord Thy God is with you wherever you go."
This was a time of discovering Joshua's leadership abilities both for himself and for the people he was to lead. However, Joshua's service to Moses and the people was well known and his devotion to God established. God's reminder that he would be with them wherever they go was of great reassurance.
In the Israelite's' pursuit in finding a place to live, after leaving the bondage of slavery, in Joshua 2: 6, Rahab a citizen of Jericho and a harlot (today we would call her a prostitute) was used to hide the men sent into Jericho. Rahab not only hide the men, at great peril to her life and that of her family, she also guided them to a way of escape from the King's men who pursued them.
Out of all the people that could have taken on the task of housing the men of Israel and aiding in their escape God allow a prostitute to be chosen. God reached throughout human existence to teach humanity a lesson. That he chooses who he will to fulfill his purposes. Rahab had a knowledge of the God of the Israelites and trusted enough to ask for salvation. The mercy shown to the harlot was to shine a spotlight, to place a bookmark on the example of what mercy should look for those who are followers of Christ as we interact with others.
Because of Rabab's courage and faith in the God of Israel, while all around her was destroyed, she was given refuge, along with her family, among the people of God. Rahab did not yield to her nation's King, instead she yielded to the King of all kings, she yielded to the grand authority, she yielded to God.
Jesus was considered by the Jews, his own people. to be just a man. Jesus was thought to be unworthy of what he claimed to be, the Son of God. He was a threat to the religious order while, at the same time, dispensing hope to those who came to hear him as he taught with the authority of God.
Matthew 5:17 Jesus told the crowd, "Do not think I came to destroy the Law or Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill." The Law are standards to live by, rules to follow and judgment to be received. Just as in human government there are standards to live by, rules to follow and judgment received when laws are broken. But God's law has a purpose and divine insight that spans the globe and human existence. Jesus came to fulfill what the law alone could not do and that was to soften the hearts of man that they may have a thirst and hunger for the righteousness of God. "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:17
When one has rules to follow, because of human nature, there grows an affinity to not follow rules. The exercise to escape the rules ensues. Eventually, you will stray away as your attention is drawn away. If there is a way to rework the rules or to get away with not following them that is what human nature will do. The Law of Moses had its greatest affect on those who lived during Moses' time. Eventually, Israel strayed away and fell into a state of disobedience, decay and finally taken captive. Many continue to follow the law of Moses with varying degree of success.
Jesus had a reputation among the people to be one who taught with authority. He was not a mere man. He had great wisdom to share. He was the authority. Jesus laid out the law with two commandments. Mark 12:30, 31 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater then these." it is the deep love for the Savior that motivates one to obey God no matter the cost or personal sacrifice. It is His mercy and grace and our deep love for Jesus that resets our passion for righteousness when we stray away.
What Jesus gave us is what no other could or will ever give us. He gave us mercy and grace. He gave us the way of escape from our own selves and our sins that so often overtake us. He is the great hope that we can depend on. Ephesians 2:4 -5, " But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (By grace you have been saved)."
In our lifetime we will have many decisions to make and choices to choose from. Many will have consequences that will follow us throughout our lifetime while others will follow us into eternity. The question we must all answer is whose authority will we yield to? There is government authority and religious authority that is often at odds with the authority of God. Matthew 6:24 says, "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You can not serve God and mammon." Mammon is material wealth. And the chapter 6 address that. However, there are other things that compete with our serving God and the list is endless. What or who is your master and what and who will you yield to? What will you say yes to?
The Bible speaks to God using who he will for his purposes. He also loves without being discriminatory. His ways are easy to follow when our love for Him grows and encompasses our very being. It matters not what the world says or teaches. What matters is the Word of the Lord. Whose report shall you believe? Whose voice will you follow? Who has the greater authority in your life? Yes, there are rules to follow and Yes, Jesus died that we may be saved. 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The Bible acknowledges we have sins and that God is faithful to forgive us of our sins when we confess, acknowledge own up to our sins. Will you say yes to accepting the authority of Christ Jesus and to confess your sins before him? The choice is your of course. The hope is that you will say yes to Jesus not some of the time, but all of the time and into eternity.
Matthew Chapter 7, Romans Chapter 6, Ephesians chapter 2, Ezekiel Chapter 33
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
to love mercy
And to walk humbly with God?