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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Book of Ruth -- Part 2

  RUTH’S DEVOTION AND LOYALTY TO NAOMI

            Ruth’s commitment and faithfulness to Naomi and eventually her Jewish kinsman-redeemer stand out in the book of Ruth. Ruth said to Naomi, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you, for where you go, I will go and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17 Naomi must have made a great impression upon Ruth through her heart, ways, and love. Naomi drew Ruth to her God. Ruth was bonded to Naomi and Naomi’s God for life. Ruth will travel with Naomi to a new land and will abide with Naomi and her people. Naomi’s people will be Ruth’s people, and Naomi’s God will be Ruth’s God. She will be buried with Naomi. This extraordinary commitment and love of Ruth silenced Naomi. Ruth was so committed to her mother-in-law that she didn’t even want her dead body to return to Moab. She will not turn back! She will stay with her mother-in-“Law” Naomi until the day she dies. Ruth even invoked God in her oath. “Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth 2:17 An oath made to God is not to be taken lightly. This is the type of commitment Christ wants from those who love Him. No turning back.

            When Naomi saw Ruth’s determination to go with her, she did not discourage Ruth any further. God took Ruth the Gentile and Naomi the Jew and made them partners. God led them back to Him and His land, redeemed them and restored their inheritance. These are the two sticks of Ezekiel 37:19-20 that must become one in God’s Hand. Jesus will make the two – Jew and Gentile – into “one new man” and bring them home to God’s Heavenly Promised Land. (see Ephesians 2:15) There is only one way to the Father – through His Son Jesus. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

            Naomi needed someone to walk with her, love her and provide for her. Ruth was motivated by faithfulness and love for both Israel’s God and Naomi, and eventually her love for God’s people. If Orpah had chosen as Ruth did, she would have shared in the salvation, redemption and blessing of Ruth and Naomi.

            Our Christian walk is a daily journey and oftentimes a wandering one and a difficult one, but God is faithful and if we are faithful and do not turn away from God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We will be blessed as Ruth and Naomi were.

            Again, a Jew and Gentile are united to carry out God’s plan. Ruth is “outside” Israel but will join Israel, which means “one who strives with God or prince with God,” by believing in the True God of Israel. Naomi and Ruth returned to God, His Land and His house of bread. God also wants Jews and Gentiles to unite in His Son Jesus. Jesus is the Divine Bread of Life as the Word of God. He was born in Bethlehem, which means “house of Bread.” Jesus is the spiritual house of Bread as the Word of God – truth.

Ruth’s journey went as follows:


·    Ruth left the place of “emptiness” and false gods to journey to God’s Land and blessing.

·  Ruth laid down her own life to join her Jewish mother-in-law in a unified relationship to return to God’s Land of Promise. Naomi had gone to a foreign land with her husband, now Ruth will go to a foreign land with her Jewish mother-in-law.

·       Ruth came to God’s Land and the True God.

·    Then she came to her Kinsman-Redeemer who paid the price to redeem her and provide for her. She met her kinsman-redeemer who was lord of the harvest in the harvest field.

·  She worked in the harvest field to provide food for Naomi (Jew) and herself (Gentile).

·  She humbly laid at her Kinsman-Redeemer’s feet in devotion, faith, rest, protection, and trust.

·       She was wed to her Kinsman-Redeemer. The two–Jew and Gentile-- became one in Jesus, the Supreme Kinsman-Redeemer who is God.

            Ruth’s walk is the same walk Christians take with Jesus our Kinsman-Redeemer.  Jesus is our kinsman because He took on human flesh to redeem us. In the Book of Ruth, God will work through a faithful remnant of three people: Ruth (Gentile), Naomi (Jew) and Boaz, the Jewish kinsman-redeemer. These three are a type and shadow of Jesus and His Bride. During a time when God’s people were doing what was right in their eyes, these three will do what is right in God’s eyes.

            God will never completely leave His people. He will always have a faithful remnant through whom He will work. “For He Himself has said, ‘I will not leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 God commanded in the Law that atonement for sin be made through the shed blood of an innocent lamb without spot or blemish. (see Leviticus 1) Jesus fulfilled this requirement of the Law perfectly and as a result, the only way to the spiritual Father is through the sinless blood and life of His spiritual Son.

            The Godhead has always had one plan and one plan only! Jesus would come into the world through Israel and save the world through His shed, sinless blood. This is the theme throughout scripture—in the Older Testament concealed (hidden), in the New Testament revealed in part and in Revelation in all of Christ’s glory. The Word of God is a progressive revelation of the Godhead’s plan and ways. Throughout the scriptures, God worked through united Jews and Gentiles to bring His plan of salvation and redemption through His Son Jesus into the world. The Word of God is a progressive revelation of the Godhead’s plan.

            Before Jesus could redeem Jews and Gentiles who believe in Him, He had to first fulfill the claims of God’s Law in the Older Testament. God sent Jesus into the world to do this. For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. Romans 8:3 Jesus is the only One who can save because He lived in the flesh in perfect obedience to the Law giving Him the right to redeem all people. Jesus paid the bridal price by His precious blood. The Law is hidden in Christ as the two tablets of Law were hidden in the Ark of God’s presence in the tabernacle and temple. Jesus is the Ark of God’s covenant. He is the very presence of God on earth. He is the blood-stained mercy seat as the propitiation for sin by His shed blood. Hidden within Jesus are the two tablets of Law, the golden pot of manna as the Divine Bread of heaven – the Word of God – and Aaron’s rod that budded as the Supreme High Priest who gives spiritual life. Since Jesus is the presence of God on earth, the Law is hidden in Him. Galatians 4:4-5: But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under the Law that we might receive the adoption as sons. When we belong to Jesus, we are His sons and daughters. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law.” And in Romans 3:21-24, it says, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Jesus is our Kinsman-Redeemer. We are justified by faith in Him and His atoning work.

            Jesus was born through a young, Jewish virgin under the Law.  Jesus could only come to a pure place that was untouched by man because He was, is and will ever be holy. The young, virgin Mary’s birth canal and womb had not been touched by the flesh or seed of man. Her womb and birth canal were pure and sealed. Mary was not holy because she was born of sinful flesh. Her womb was holy because it had not been touched with the flesh or seed of man.

            Jesus paid the price of redemption by His shed, sinless blood, “not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood He entered the Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12 Jesus entered the heavenly sanctuary through the shedding of His incorruptible, holy, and innocent blood. There is no pure bloodline except the blood of Jesus. The Bible says that “life is in the blood.” Our human blood sustains our physical life which is sinful, but It is through the pure blood of Jesus and His holiness that we have eternal, spiritual life.

            The purpose of the first Covenant with Israel was so God could wed them and together they would produce a Son who would redeem the world. Despite the weakness of the flesh of His people, God carried out His plan through them. He honored the Jewish people by sending the Savior and Light of the world through them. He also honored His people by making them the preservers of the Word of God despite their sinful ways. The Jews have indeed been a light to the world. Without them, we would not have a Savior who is the Light of the whole world or the written Word of God.   

     

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ruth

 

    The Book of Ruth is a story of redemptive love and marriage between a Jewish kinsman-redeemer and a Gentile bride. It is about a Redeemer, a harvest, and a bride. It shows that God’s love, grace, and blessing includes both Jews and Gentiles. Ruth is the only Gentile woman that a book is written about in the Older Testament.
    The Book of Ruth is also about the faithful love and bond between Gentile Ruth and her Jewish mother-in-law Naomi. It is also about the love and faithfulness of Ruth and Naomi’s kinsman-redeemer Boaz. This love and faithfulness deepen as the story goes on. Eventually Ruth and Boaz are wedded and have a son who will inherit the portion of God’s Land given by God to Naomi’s deceased husband. God in His steadfast, gracious love brought redemption and restoration to the Gentile Ruth and her Jewish mother-in-law Naomi.
    Hidden within the story of Boaz and Ruth is the foreshadowing of the deep love and faithfulness of Christ’s Bride made up of faithful Jews and Gentiles and her spiritual Kinsman-Redeemer Jesus. The Word of God has hidden manna from heaven within. Revelation 2:17, To the Church at Pergamum Jesus says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.” In the book of Ruth is the story of Jesus and His Bride hidden throughout the Older Testament.
    Ruth began as a foreigner (Gentile) in a foreign land outside of God’s Land of covenant promise made to Abraham. The Book of Ruth is one of two books of the Bible named after women. The other is Esther. Ruth was a Gentile in the land of the Jews. Esther was a Jew in the land of the Gentiles. Ruth became the bride of her Jewish kinsman-redeemer, and Esther became the bride of a Gentile king. Together they represent the Bride of Christ made up of both Jews and Gentiles who believe in God’s beloved Son Jesus. Ruth is in the harvest field in Israel gathering a harvest and Esther is in the throne room ruling and reigning with her king.
    The story of Ruth reveals that God’s love, grace, and blessing includes both Jews and Gentiles. God in His steadfast love for humanity brought redemption and restoration to Naomi, the Jew, and Ruth, the Gentile. Boaz, a Jew from the tribe of Judah, will be the kinsman-redeemer of Naomi and Ruth. Boaz is a type and shadow of Jesus who is God’s spiritual Kinsman-Redeemer who will redeem a harvest of Jews and Gentiles who will eventually be His Bride.
    The godly attributes of Ruth are revealed throughout her story. She was faithful to Israel’s God, her Jewish mother-in-law, her kinsman-redeemer, and God’s people. She was willing to leave everything – her country, her family, her home, and her false gods – to join her Jewish mother-in-law in her journey to God’s Land. In God’s Land, Ruth would gather new food, a new husband, and a son by God’s grace. Ruth was also hard-working. Her hard work in the harvest field provided for herself and her Jewish mother-in-law. The grain that Ruth harvested fed both the Jew (Naomi) and the Gentile (Ruth). This is also true in the spiritual realm. The Body of Christ is to be faithful to Jesus and leave everything to follow Him. Christ will be our new Husband who gives us the new food of Truth as well as spiritual sons and daughters. Jesus also said that the harvest is ready, but the laborers are few. Like Ruth, those who love and follow Jesus must work hard to feed others the Truth to establish God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. God gave the Israelites an earthly Promised Land, but those who follow Christ will be given a spiritual Promised Land.
    Ruth’s loving-kindness and faithfulness to Naomi, and Naomi’s faithfulness to Ruth shines brightly throughout Ruth’s story. The story of Ruth shows how God can work through a faithful remnant who does what is right in His eyes despite the moral decay and sin all around them. We shine a light on Christ when we walk as He walked in obedience to His Word. If we are His Body and He is the Head and the feet of the Body, we are to have the heart of Jesus, the “mind of Christ,” and walk as He walked. The story of Ruth is a picture of the mostly Gentile Church of Jesus Christ reaching out in love, loyalty, and faithfulness to Jews as well as Gentiles to bring them to their Messiah Jesus.
    The book of Ruth begins with famine and death and ends with a Jewish kinsman- redeemer who is lord of the harvest taking a Gentile bride and redeeming the portion of God’s Land that belonged to Naomi’s deceased Jewish husband. The marriage of Ruth and Boaz will make Boaz the forefather of David, Israel’s mighty king. Boaz and Ruth are listed in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:5. Boaz is a type and shadow of Jesus, God’s Kinsman-Redeemer from the tribe of Judah, who will redeem both Jews and Gentiles who believe in Him and ultimately take His faithful ones as His Bride for all eternity. This marriage between Ruth and Boaz produced a son they named Obed. Obed means “one with a servant’s heart.” This son Obed is a Jew-Gentile and is a foreshadowing of those who serve Jesus with a servant’s heart. Jesus is the Supreme Servant of God.

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Royal Wedding Song

 


Psalm 45

 A Song of Love

          This Psalm is a beautiful wedding song. It is about the wedding of a King and His Bride – in type and shadow, King Jesus, and His Bride. Her King’s love is pure and lovely to behold. He wants her to know that she is surrounded by His love. He also wants to help her live and express that love to others. 

The Word of God begins in Genesis with the wedding between Adam and the Woman. Jesus began His public ministry in the Gospel of John at a wedding in Cana, and Revelation ends with the wedding between Jesus and His Bride. The Word of God goes full circle. The first and last meet completing the circle of the redemption of the world and eternal life with the Godhead. Jesus is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End—the full circle of the Word of God. (see Revelation 1:11,17)

 Bride-to-be Speaking

        This song begins with the Bride-to-be speaking. My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. V1 She has a noble purpose, and her heart has pure motives. Her heart is opened to hear and record His words and revelations. She will not only write what her King speaks to her, she will speak His Word like a skillful writer. Writing records a matter for all to see just as the Word of God does. It lives beyond the life of the writer. This Bride-to-be will put down in writing what she has learned about her King. Her voice is also her pen. She will speak His Word as well as write it.

            You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. V2 King Jesus is the “most excellent of men.” There is none like Him because He is holy. He has no flaw. Jesus’ heart, love and character far surpasses mere man. Our human nature is filthy and vile, but He is pure and holy. Sin has never touched Him either in the earthly or spiritual realm. He has saved His Bride by His grace and love.

Not only is He holy, but He is also the Anointed One of God full of grace and truth. John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” There is no other with such grace and truth. Through Jesus’ lips, the fullness of grace and truth are poured out to humanity so we can receive of His fullness. Jesus Christ is God’s blessing to humanity forever. Where God gives His grace and truth, He also gives His blessing. Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Jesus is our Eternal blessing from God.

             Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. V3 The Bride’s King is not only pure and full of grace and truth, He is also a mighty warrior who will defeat the works of darkness by His Word of truth. Luke 4:22: “So all bore witness to Him and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.”

The thigh is the place of covenant and strength. Abraham told his faithful servant to “put his hand under my thigh” as a covenant oath that he would go and find a bride for his promised son, Isaac. (Genesis 24:2-4) What was done in the “natural,” Jesus fulfilled in the “spiritual.” Jesus, the Mighty Warrior, who is clothed in glory and majesty, carries the Word of God as His sword and His Covenant oath. He is Divine Truth. There is none like Him in His power and glory. He will gather a Bride through His Word and Covenant Oath to God.

Jesus is the Word of God from beginning to end and is gathering a Bride to Himself. In Revelation 19:11-16, Jesus comes to defeat the enemies of God’s people. “Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. With justice He judges and makes war. On His robe and on His thigh, He has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Jesus wields the truth against lies and false truth. Truth is His weapon against the father of lies – the devil. Jesus said to the religious leaders of the day who were teaching untruth, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources. For he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44 Lies do not come from God. A liar is led by the devil, not God. There is no blessing that will come from God through lies.

The sword of God’s Word is double-edged. It not only reveals the ways of God, but also the ways of the devil. To those who follow and love Jesus, it is a Light, Guide and Protector. But to those who do not know Him, it is a sword of judgment, defeat, and death. Instead of a “golden scepter” as king Ahasuerus gave the Queen Esther the Jew indicating forgiveness, favor and salvation, Christ’s enemies will be ruled by an “iron scepter.” Iron crushes. Romans 16:20: “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Christ’s inflexible rule and authority will destroy His and our enemies.