More than an Ethic; A Guaranteed Trust!

Friday Dec. 22, 2017

Scripture reference 1 Peter 2:
Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

- Yesterday I asked the question, “How can we lose out when we choose to trust God?” As well as, “Where does such a notion come from?” Is this not the crux of the matter when it comes to being treated unjustly? Now I realize that many of us might want to respond with, “No this is about right and wrong, it’s about justice, not being taken advantage of, or perhaps even the rationalization that by taking it we are in fact enabling the abuser!

- All of these objections are not only understandable, they are quite reasonable. So then why, why would Peter say that, “it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God”? Should not God consciousness motivate us to seek out justice?! Should not abuse be stopped in its tracks rather that tolerated? What in the world are we to make of this?

- Now let’s press pause for a moment because it is very easy and natural for us to quickly digress into cynicism, but we have the Word of God moving us in a seemingly objectionable direction. Jesus told His disciples, Matt. 5: 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

- Let me just say for the record I am anything but a pacifist. When it comes to the bad guys getting what they deserve I am the first in line to dish out payback but I find a very different ethic thrust upon me coming straight from the King. This ethic not only challenges my natural gut reactions it stands in judgment upon them and it without question overrules them! This ethic comes, not from well-meaning followers, it comes from the Master and it comes with power and authority because it is an ethic He not only preached, it is one He lived no matter how unjust the situation or how great the personal cost. He did not resolve to only grit His teeth and bear the consequences, He relied entirely upon His Father to not only take care of Him but to inevitably work it out! That, friend is more than an ethic, it is a guaranteed trust!

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Bear Up Under the Pain of Unjust Suffering?

Thursday Dec. 21, 2017

Scripture reference 1 Peter 2:
Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

- I love the way Peter sets this passage up, he commends slaves to be submissive to their Masters, even harsh ones out of reverent fear of God.

- Now many wonder about the whole slave question and what the Bible has to say about slavery and let me say that in no way does the New Testament endorse slavery any more so than it supports male chauvinism, however what the Christian ethic as revealed in the New Testament does encourage, even mandates is a life lived in submission to Almighty God!

- Peter is not endorsing slavery here! What Peter is however doing is instructing very real people who are in very real life situations about how they should live their lives while in that situation. This is a very difficult concept for 21st century, western minded person to even begin to digest but for the first century, Middle Eastern person this was an important and very relevant message.

- Sometimes slaves were mistreated and even abused by their Masters/owners. Peter had a message for those individuals and it was not a message we might readily expect. Peter’s message was for such individuals to endure/persevere even in the face of unjust treatment. For many Peter’s words might seem outrageous, however to whom or to what example does Peter point to in support of His exhortation?

- Let’s be a little brutally honest here, there is a lot of hypocrisy in the church today; we claim to love and want to follow Jesus, but when it comes to actually following His example we cry, Injustice! Abuse! “I don’t have to take this!” We give up before we have even begun to put up! We quit before we ever began to commit! The Bible says, “it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God“, but not too many are willing to live this ethic out for fear they will in fact, actually lose out. How can we lose out when we choose to trust God? Where does such a notion come from? Think about it. More tomorrow.

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Live Free!

Wednesday Dec. 20, 2017

Scripture reference 1 Peter 2:
16 
Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

- We are to live as free people but we are not to use our freedom as a cover-up for evil. When God delivered Israel out of their slavery in Egypt they had to learn how to live as free people. That might seem a foreign concept to many of us but for the people of Israel it was a tremendous challenge. Think of it, they had spent over 400 years in Egypt and centuries of that time was spent in slavery. They knew how to be slaves, but they did not know how to be free.

- When they had their taste of freedom, what did they do with it? They made a golden calf, an idol that they bowed down to and sacrificed to and they declared, “behold your gods Israel who have brought you out of Egypt”, Ex. 32:4!

- You see, due to our natural propensity to sin, freedom can become an opportunity for the enemy to subdue and then conquer. The Bible tells us, Gal. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

- Did you catch that? It is for freedom that Christ has set us free but take warning that you do not allow yourself to be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. How can those who are set free by Christ be re-enslaved? Those who will not stand firm in their faith resolved to live for Christ and honor God, will in fact be re-enslaved by the enticements of the world, the flesh and the devil.

- Why would we think it could be any different? O, it is true that some ministries have come up with fanciful doctrines suggesting that the Christian can never be re-enslaved by the enemy but such a position is not biblical and in fact dangerous giving the believer an unrealistic sense of false security. In John 15 Jesus emphasized to His disciples the importance of remaining in Him to be fruitful and blessed. The exhortation that we must choose to remain in Christ suggests the converse, we can choose to not remain in Him. John 15: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

- When we use our freedom as a cover-up for evil we not only fail to live in Christ and so forfeit the blessings available to all who live in Him, we also set ourselves up to become re-enslaved by sin. This cycle of enslavement can end right now, today for any who will acknowledge their situation, confess their sin and choose to live in the freedom Christ has made possible! You can throw off that yoke of slavery and experience the blessings of living in Christ Jesus! New life, new identity, new beginning, strong in the Lord and His mighty power, free to love, free to forgive, free to be healed, free to heal in Jesus’ name! Eph. 3: 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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Your Conflict an Opportunity for God to Confront

Friday Sept. 22, 2017

Dan.
3: 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” 26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

 

- Things rapidly escalated in this account. Suddenly the intensity went from zero to 60. Neb. was furious, the furnace was heated seven times hotter than usual, the strongest soldiers were employed to man handle the men and the swiftness by which their intended execution was carried out resulted in the unintended deaths of their executioners.

 

- While everyone and everything is escalating we do not hear of any escalation on the part of the, would be victims. They were thrown into the furnace but they soon after were walking around inside it. Now such an account defies any sort of logical explanation. What Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego experienced is without question impossible apart from a metaphysical interpretation. To be certain that such an interpretation is not missed we read of the Fourth Man in the fire. The Fourth Man is also walking around in the fire however, He is distinguished from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as one who “looks like a son of the gods.”

The Following is a perspective on this account and the take home for us:

- No crisis of faith then no reason to take a stand. The crisis provokes a response.

- The magnitude of the problem these men faced only intensified the miraculous intervention they experienced. The enormity of your problem is an occasion for a greater intervention.

- The conflict was actually an opportunity for God’s confrontation.

- The, would be assailants actually perished in the flames intended to kill Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego the servants of God. God still protects His children.

- Before they would experience the Fourth man in the fire they first had to be thrown into the fire. The crisis was an opportunity for the believer to experience a deeper revelation of God and also an opportunity for the unbeliever to come face to face with God! This conflict opened Neb’s eyes and changed his heart, that can happen for you as well!

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Your Conflict an Opportunity for God to Confront

Friday Sept. 22, 2017

Dan.
3: 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” 26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

 

- Things rapidly escalated in this account. Suddenly the intensity went from zero to 60. Neb. was furious, the furnace was heated seven times hotter than usual, the strongest soldiers were employed to man handle the men and the swiftness by which their intended execution was carried out resulted in the unintended deaths of their executioners.

 

- While everyone and everything is escalating we do not hear of any escalation on the part of the, would be victims. They were thrown into the furnace but they soon after were walking around inside it. Now such an account defies any sort of logical explanation. What Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego experienced is without question impossible apart from a metaphysical interpretation. To be certain that such an interpretation is not missed we read of the Fourth Man in the fire. The Fourth Man is also walking around in the fire however, He is distinguished from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as one who “looks like a son of the gods.”

The Following is a perspective on this account and the take home for us:

- No crisis of faith then no reason to take a stand. The crisis provokes a response.

- The magnitude of the problem these men faced only intensified the miraculous intervention they experienced. The enormity of your problem is an occasion for a greater intervention.

- The conflict was actually an opportunity for God’s confrontation.

- The, would be assailants actually perished in the flames intended to kill Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego the servants of God. God still protects His children.

- Before they would experience the Fourth man in the fire they first had to be thrown into the fire. The crisis was an opportunity for the believer to experience a deeper revelation of God and also an opportunity for the unbeliever to come face to face with God! This conflict opened Neb’s eyes and changed his heart,that can happen for you as well!

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Faith, Conflict and Conviction

Thursday Sept. 21, 2017

Dan.
3: 13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

 

 
 

- There will be times when our commitment to the Lord will bring us into conflict with others.

 

- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in the good books as long as they appeared to be going along with the status quo, but as soon as their faith in God prevented them from doing what everyone else was doing they were immediately brought in and interrogated.

 

- As Christians we too can remain somewhat inconspicuous to the watching world as long as what we believe and how we behave as a result of our belief does not go against what everyone else is doing. Disagree with the popular view, speak against something that is believed to be acceptable, choose not to participate in something that is condemned as sin but that is being celebrated by the community around you and you might find yourself labelled as a hate monger, and judged and condemned even by those who you thought were your friends.

 

- Sometimes this type of thing happens even within the confines of the church community; mess with the status quo, attempt to move people toward a deeper relationship with the Lord, change a few things here and there and suddenly there is an uprising! There is the next thing to a civil war that begins to happen within the church! People begin meeting, conspiring, gossiping, spreading rumor and hate, and you wonder what in the world is happening? I’ll tell you what is happening, we are not alone in this world and the same type of spiritual influences that were in play in Daniel’s day are still active today. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood.

 

- We need to have the same approach to such spiritual warfare as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; we need to first and foremost be people of prayer, Daniel 2:17-19 and then we must also be convinced that the Lord our God will see us through such times of satanic attack, Dan. 3:17. When Neb asked the men, “Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” they knew exactly what God because they knew the Lord and they were convinced that God would see them through this no matter how it turned out!

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Are You Trying to Earn It??

Wednesday Sept. 20, 2017

2 Kings
10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” 11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage. 13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

 
 

- Naaman went seeking healing for his leprosy but when the process of that healing was not to his approval he walked away angry and his anger grew to a rage. Naaman considered the means by which he would receive his healing crude and demeaning.

 

- Now just thing about that for a minute, here is a guy who is afflicted with a horrible disease of the skin, yet he is so very concerned about appearances! Isn’t that just like us today? How many are so focused on how things look that they are missing out completely on the blessing God has for them simply because they have such high standards?

 

- Is it barely possible that God required Naaman to go wash in the Jordan because God knew this would be an issue that would provoke his pride? You say, “God didn’t do that, Elisha did”. Reality check, Elisha was the servant of the Lord and what that inherently means when properly understood is that Elisha spoke the message of God to Naaman. The requirement to wash in the Jordan was from the Lord.

 

- Sometimes we choose not listen to the prompting of God because it does not suit our preconceived notions of what His Word ought to say to us. Often times it is our pride that stands between us and our healing, our deliverance, the opportunity God has made available for us.

 

- But there is something else we also must consider here, Naaman quite possibly wanted to do something to merit his healing. What he had been told re a prophet in Israel healing him – a work of God’s grace, he had decided was something that would require his own personal effort. How many of us make this mistake on an ongoing basis? How many question their salvation because they believe they do not deserve it? Listen to the words of Paul or more precisely the Word of the Lord as communicated through Paul, You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

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It is Faith in God, not Status that Transforms Lives!

Tuesday Sept. 18, 2017

2 Kings
Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!” When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.”So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” 11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

 
 

- Naaman acted on the young girl’s advice, that in and of itself is incredible! This young girl had been taken from her family and made to serve in Naaman’s home, yet she boldly shared her witness testifying to the power of the God of Israel to heal her master. Some would say the girl’s witness was without any credibility based on the fact that she was a prisoner – after all her God had certainly failed to protect her from her captors did He not? Sometimes we feel our witness is without merit because of our situation, but we are wrong when we think this way. Like this young girl, or the Samaritan woman in John 4, our witness can be very effective based on our experience with God and our conviction that He is able to do “immeasurably more …”! What I am saying is our situation or status has nothing to do with our ability to effectively communicate the life transforming power of God for those who believe!

 

- A young servant girl boldly testified to her master’s wife about the power of God to heal Naaman of his leprosy and the king of Israel recoiled in fear and frustration after receiving a letter asking the king to see to it that Naaman was healed of his leprosy. What a servant girl was more than willing to believe and speak openly about, a king was completely ignorant of and without recourse to do anything about.

 

- Elisha, however was undaunted by the request and sent word to the king to, “Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” O how desperately we need this kind of faith to be lived out today. Naaman would also experience a crisis of faith when asked by the prophet of God to do something he deemed an insult. In this story we have the faith of two contrasted with the doubts and questioning of two. Please note the humble positions of the two possessing faith with the exalted positions of the two whose questions presented tremendous obstacles to their faith. It is faith in God, not status that transforms lives!

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Boaz, The Portrait of a Real Man

Devotional Series on Faith

 

Friday June 16, 2017

Ruth
3: When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”

10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. … 16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?”

Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”

18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”

 

 - As we approach Father’s day it seems fitting to ask the question, “What does a real man look like?” We need to look no further than Boaz as depicted here in the Book of Ruth. If Ruth might be considered a heroin in this story, certainly Boaz is a hero.

 

- Here is the portrait of a real man: A real man is first and foremost a believer and a follower of God. Boaz was without question a man of great faith and strong conviction in God.

 

- A real man gives generously to those in need. Boaz was wealthy but he was not stingy. So often times those who have much hoard what they have and even complain that they never have enough. Boaz was content with what he had and he gave to those in need by allowing the needy to come and to glean from his fields without cost. Not only did this show Boaz’ generosity it also demonstrated his faith in God because in doing this he was obeying the Word of God that said, Lev. 23:22 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’”

 

- A real man values character above all else. Boaz was attracted to Ruth because she was a woman of virtuous character demonstrated by her actions in leaving her homeland for the sake of her mother-in-law, Naomi as well as adopting Naomi’s faith as her own.

 

- A real man will do whatever is necessary to protect his wife and family. Boaz wasted no time securing Ruth’s future as his wife. To achieve this goal required wisdom, cunning, and risk. Boaz’ primary concern was ensuring that Ruth would be provided for and taken care of and believing God would take care of the rest.

 

- A real man loves unconditionally, gives sacrificially and lives with integrity!

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True Faith! Part 2

Devotional Series on Faith

 

Thursday June 15, 2017

Ruth
2 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.

And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”

Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.

Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!”

“The Lord bless you!” they answered.

Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”

The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”

So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” 10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”

11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

 

 - Ruth had made an unexpected call in staying with her mother-in-law, a call based not on circumstances or perhaps not even on self-preservation and certainly not on self-advancement but on a judgment call based primarily on faith. Such a call might seem ill advised given the way things appeared, but a decision to trust God is never ill-advised. From this time on we see the Hand of God all over the place in Ruth’s life. Ruth decides to go out and glean from the fields – no easy task. She is determined to do what she can to make a life for her and Naomi. God is with her. It just so happened that the field she went in to glean was owned by Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s husband. God had gone before her. Then while she is hard at work, Boaz shows up and, wonder of wonders he takes notice of her. Boaz had heard of Ruth’s sacrificial love for Naomi (another god thing) and then proceeded to bless her for it, vs. 12. O, you can be certain that the Lord was blessing Ruth and also repaying her 100 fold as she stepped out in faith and thereby took refuge under God’s wings!

 

- Through faith God had turned a desperate and despondent situation completely around. Whereas Elimelek had left Bethlehem to improve his situation only to find out things were not so much better on the other side of the fence, Ruth had made the sacrifice to leave her homeland to pursue faith in God with Naomi and in so doing experienced God’s blessing and miraculous provision! Ruth seemingly gave up personal security in search of God and found the greatest security under His wings. “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose”, Jim Elliot, missionary to the Auca Indians and martyr for Christ.

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