One of the most memorable scenes in the book, Tom Sawyer, is where he’s painting the fence. His friends walk up, and he brags about how much fun he’s having painting the fence. His friends start to ask for their turn, and for awhile, Tom just won’t give up painting. Then, he hooks them. His friend takes the brush and all the hard work that went with it. Tom was a genius! His friend was used and didn’t even see it coming. He was deceived and manipulated. This scene is hilarious, but in reality, nobody likes to be selfishly used.
Being used isn’t always a bad thing. To be used, you first have to be selected, called out, and in some way, put into service. Moses was used of God to lead the children of Israel. Sarah was used in her old age to deliver Isaac. Joseph was used to provide food in the time of famine. Jonah was used to preach the message of repentance to Nineveh. Paul was called out of sin and used mightily to become a prominent leader in the New Testament church. All were selected and used by God for a very specific purpose.
Rahab was selfishly used. Joshua 2 says that she was a prostitute. She sold herself to men who used her. When the children of Israel were on their way into Jericho, the King approached Rahab with yet another proposition. He wanted to use Rahab, too. The King of Jericho knew that Joshua and his spies were in the land on a covert operation to prepare for attack. He told her to turn over the spies to him since the Israelites were planning to overthrow Jericho.
Rahab was used again on the day that she chose to help Joshua and the children of Israel. This time, she was used of God. Rather than turn over Joshua and his men, Rahab hid them in the brush on the roof of her home. She told the King of Jericho that the spies had left and if his men quickly pursued, they might catch them leaving the city. Then she struck a deal with Joshua that saved her life, the lives of her family, and made her an ancestor to Jesus. Rahab knew that there was one true God, the God of the Israelites, and she had the courage to be used of Him.
Manipulation or selection? We can be manipulated and deceived by sin and what it offers. Or, we can be selected to service, to be used of Him.