Ruth

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June 21
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RUTH: WEEK THIRTY-FIVE

Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part Five) 

(Click here to listen to the seventh Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week

“LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH BROTHERLY AFFECTION, – AS MEMBERS OF ONE FAMILY- GIVING PRECEDENCE AND SHOWING HONOR TO ONE ANOTHER.” Romans 12v10 AMB

 

 

 

More Words fro the Father

Romans 12

Colossians 3

 

 

 

From my Heart

Page from the past: December 1995

Us

A husband and a wife. Four children (including two teenagers, one pre-adolescent, and one toddler)! Two cats. One totally disobedient dog. And two horses. This is the make-up of our family. Needless to say, with all our comings and goings, individual personalities, and distinct wills, ours is not always a peaceful place. There is plenty of teasing and laughter…and fun. And if I’m honest, quite a few thunderclaps of conflict as well.

 

And I love it.

 

Oh, I don’t always like it. I am, after all, a woman who thrives on solitude, order, calm, quiet, and peace (rare qualities in this busy household). Yet I love the richness, the ever-changing variety, the heart-stopping intimacy of shared thoughts. I find such safety in the “kindred spirits” I have found in each of my family members.

 

I know what they like…

 

They know what I like…

 

We know what we like together.

 

There is something soul-satisfying about a shared beauty; a favorite song on the radio, a breath-taking sunset, or better yet, the groggy-eyed wonder of an early morning sunrise. When I see a brilliant rainbow with my family, it takes on a deeper beauty because we gasp in wonder together.

 

This family of mine is nothing like the still-life portrait I once imagined it would be. For goodness sake, we can’t even get a quick snapshot of all six of us smiling with all 12 eyes open at once!

 

I am learning, ever so slowly, that if I let go and stop trying to get everybody to be quiet and still and orderly, I enjoy this crazy crowd a whole lot more.

 

Though I treasure order, they do not. Though I love quiet, I have never known one of them to leave our noisy family circle to seek solitude for the sake of silence. They prefer noise, and lots of it. And while neatness seems essential to my peace of mind, not a one of the rest of them care a whit if the house is in perfect order before they go to bed, or when they get up, or anytime in between!

 

I’m finally getting it. That family peace consists more in letting go and accepting each other than in trying frantically to keep everybody calm, quiet, and tidy. I am learning that conflict is sometimes okay (will I ever really believe that?) and that closeness comes not by obliterating conflict, but by living with it comfortably.

 

We do not always agree. In fact, we rarely all agree. And that’s okay. It is when we graciously respect each other’s differing opinions and ways of doing things that friendship sprouts like well-watered weeds all over the relationships in this family.

 

So I am learning painstakingly slowly to let go and enjoy this crew of six. I am daily resisting the hundreds of urges to control and corral them into my version of the Happy Family.

 

They are they…

 

and I am me…

 

and together we are we.

 

From my heart,

Diane

 

 

ETC

Genealogies

The Old Testament contains about two-dozen genealogical lists. The aim of these lists was to establish links from the past to the present. Biblical genealogies differ from the family trees that so many Americans attempt to reconstruct, in that they were linear genealogies. Lots and lots of names were left out, skipped over not because they were unknown, but because they were considered insignificant to the purpose of the list. Linear genealogies functioned as legal documents to legitimize claims to position, authority, or power.

 

This genealogy at the end of the book of Ruth was written, at least in part, in order to validate David’s claim to the throne. It starts with the name of Perez, who was the son of Judah, linking David’s ancestry to the promise given to Abraham.

 

The ancient Hebrew genealogies were usually limited to ten generations. In this descending format, the names at the beginning are the revered, honored founders whose stories lend examples of power and prestige, while the names at the end of the list were of the well-known recent generations.

 

This particular genealogy emphasizes how God included imperfect people in the generations who would bring about Israel’s greatest king, David. It gives us hope by showing us that He is in the habit of using messy stories. And if He can orchestrate the dysfunctional families of the past, perhaps He can redeem our own less-than-perfect lives.

 

The Abrahamic Covenant

Genesis 22v16-17

 

By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord,

because you have done this thing,

and have not withheld your son, your only son,

indeed I will greatly bless you,

and I will greatly multiply your seed

as the stars of the heavens,

and as the sand which is on the seashore;

and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.

And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,

Because you have obeyed My voice.”

Posted
June 14
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RUTH: WEEK THIRTY-FOUR

Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part Four)

(Click here to listen to the seventh Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week

“THEREFORE COMFORT ONE ANOTHER WITH THESE WORDS.” 1 Thessalonians 4v18

 

 

 

More Words from the Father

1 John 4v7-5v21

1 Thessalonians 4v13-5v11

 

 

 

From my Heart

You

We’ve read the stories of Ruth and Naomi, Boaz and Orpah, Elimelech and his sons. Add to that mix King Eglon, Rahab, Salmon, Tamar, and several others. In the process, I’ve told you about me – my fears and my failures, my life and loves. But what about your story?

 

I’ve gathered together ten questions for you. Ten queries about who you are and who you want to be. I’ve left no room for you to fill in the blanks, for these are thinking questions – the kind you bring before the Father in those quiet, questioning hours before life’s pressures push you through your day.

 

I would urge you to ponder prayerfully. Think about your relationships, examine the way you use your time. Every once in a while we need to take stock of our lives and make sure we are who we want to be, that we’re doing what our Redeemer redeemed us for. After all, your story will end someday too.

 

From my heart,

Diane

 


Ten Questions

1. Who am I?

2. Who do I want to be?

3. What’s stopping me from being who I want to be?

4. What do I need to do now?

5. What kind of woman do I want to be when I’m old?

6. Who do I want to miss me when I’m gone?

7. Who needs more of me now?

8. How can I organize my life to make this happen?

9. Where does God fit into my wants and wishes?

10. Am I going after God with every ounce of my being?

 

 

 

ETC

Tamar’s Story

Tamar was Perez’s mother. Her story reads like a desperate soap opera set in the middle of the great patriarchal biographies. It is an ugly story, filled with deception and danger. This is not a history to be proud of. So why is it here? Why highlight this particular tragedy by including it in both David’s and Jesus’ genealogies? What is there about this story that the Author of the Scriptures wanted to be sure to communicate to us?

 

The story starts with Judah, one of the twelve sons of Israel, separating himself from his family. He is appalled at the shameful plot he got involved in to sell his brother, Joseph, into slavery in Egypt. Watching his father grieve over the loss of his younger son was Judah’s undoing. Instead of staying to face the consequences, Judah ran from his family in a futile attempt to forget his guilt. While away, he met a woman, married her, and started a family.

 

His firstborn son, Er, needed a wife so Judah found him a Canaanite bride by the name of Tamar. Because of his evil ways, God chose to take Er’s life, leaving Tamar a childless widow.

 

Following the levirate practice, Judah demanded that his next son marry Tamar, which he did with great reluctance. Onan took advantage of Tamar’s situation by enjoying the privileges of sexual pleasure for himself but “spilling his seed” in order to prevent her from getting pregnant. God took him too.

 

By now Judah is looking on Tamar with suspicion. Two sons dead on their honeymoon! Making promises he has no intention of keeping, he sends Tamar back home to her father’s house to wait for his next son to grow up. Years pass. Tamar knows that her future is sealed if she does not get a son soon. So she concocts a deception of her own. Knowing that Judah is now a widower, she dresses up like a prostitute and offers herself to him in exchange for payment. Without so much as a twinge of conscience, Judah has sex with the disguised Tamar for the price of a goat. She gets pregnant.

 

Three months later, a rumor reaches Judah that his ex-daughter-in-law is pregnant with an illegitimate baby. Outraged, Judah demands her death by burning. When Tamar is roughly dragged in front of him to be humiliated before her death, she rises up to bring evidence that it is Judah himself who is the father of this child.

 

Silenced and humbled, Judah acknowledges his sin in the matter and saves her life. Soon after, Tamar gives birth to twin boys. One of them, Perez, is named in the family of King David, and hundreds of years later, in the genealogy of Jesus.

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June 7
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RUTH: WEEK THIRTY-THREE

Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part Three)

(Click here to listen to the seventh Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week

“FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD MOVE TO AND FRO THROUGHOUT THE EARTH THAT HE MAY STRONGLY SUPPORT THOSE WHOSE HEART IS COMPLETELY HIS.” 2 Chronicles 16v9 NASB

 

 

 

More Words from the Father

Psalm 139

1 Corinthians 9v24-10v15

 

 

 

From my Heart

The End

This week our story has ended. The characters we have grown to love are gone. Ruth, Boaz, and even Naomi are silent. Simply a memory.

 

Yet the list of names tacked on at the end – that genealogy which we so easily skip over -represents real lives, people who lived and loved and made history.

 

When someday my life falls silent, I’ll leave a list as well. John Mark, Tammy, Jude, Moses, Sunday, Rebekah and Steve, Elizabeth, Brook, Duke, Scarlet and Matt. My sons and daughters. My grandkids. Maybe even a few extras grafted in. All people who will live and love and make history themselves.

 

The story is never really over. God started something way back in Genesis which is not ever going to be finished. There is no “The End.”

 

You will leave a legacy. And it is the cry of my heart that our stories -yours and mine- will be included in the annuls of the Kingdom just as Ruth and Boaz and Naomi’s were. That someday when we gather together in that place we’ll call home, you and I will sit down and read those histories together. They will, no doubt, be edited by His great grace. A few spots may well be covered over by His beautiful blood. And, my dear sisters, I think we might be surprised to find that the ending reads something like this:

 

“And they lived happily ever after…”

 

From my heart,

Diane

 

 

ETC

Ruth and the Feast of Pentecost

It is the ancient custom of devout Jews to read the story of Ruth during the Shavout, the Feast of Pentecost. This Jewish holiday occurs exactly seven weeks, or 50 days, after the Passover. The name Pentecost comes from the Greek word for “fiftieth,” and signifies the gathering of the wheat harvest. Why Ruth is read during this festival, no one knows for sure. Perhaps the connection to harvest with Ruth’s gleaning brought this story into the celebrations. Today, orthodox Jews give thanks to God for bringing His Word, the Torah, to His people during the Shavout celebrations. Here is what they say about Ruth:

“As a result of her embrace of Torah, Ruth’s life was utterly transformed. She rose from the existence of a penniless and barren widow, facing a miserable present and a bleak future, to a life of spiritual richness and fulfillment, leaving an eternal mark as the progenitor of the Davidic dynasty.

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May 31
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RUTH WEEK THIRTY-TWO

Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part Two)

(Click here to listen to the next Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week

“BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!” Joshua 1v9 NASB

 

 

More Words from the Father

Joshua 2

Joshua 6v21-27

Hebrews 11v30-40

James 2v20-26

1 Peter 3v4-6

 

 

From my Heart

What is it You Want?

Rahab was a woman who knew how to get what she wanted. And what she wanted was what we all want: security, wealth, recognition, family, influence, health, and safety. One thing was missing from her list, though – love. Rahab was willing to sacrifice love in order to get her grasp around every opportunity that came her way. And she had that rare inborn entrepreneurial ability to recognize opportunity which can make certain men and women wildly successful. In our day, I have no doubt Rahab would have been heralded among the rich and famous. Paparazzi would have hounded her while People magazine splashed her face and figure on the cover page.

 

Yet reading her story, I can’t help but wonder – What happened to Rahab that propelled her into prostitution? Why would this woman give up on the dream of being pursued and sought and valued? How could Rahab choose wealth over love? Security over romance?

 

And why would I?

 

Why would I sell my soul for cheap trinkets?

 

I want everything that Rahab wanted. I want security. I want to feel safe. I want to know that I will have all I need and maybe a little more all the way up until its time for me to go home to heaven. And I want wealth too, sure I do. Be honest with yourself, you do too! I am far from content with the bare basics. I want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise – surrounded by a family who adores me. Is that so bad?

 

Maybe…

 

If those wants and wishes drive me to pursue them at the cost of love. If, instead of surrendering my life’s circumstances to the One who loves me like no other, I strive and connive to get what I want no matter what.

 

How about you? What have you sacrificed to get what you want? What you think you need? Have you lost a little of your passion for your Redeemer along the way?

 

If you have, then this story is your story.

 

Somewhere deep inside, Rahab held on to a tiny spark of hope for something more. When she heard about the Israelites camped down the road, and about their God who had such power, that spark leapt into a raging fire. The moment she got her chance to come under the protection of this God, Rahab risked everything she had. All her wealth, her home, her security, her reputation, and her safety. Even her family! How could she know if they would go along with her plan?

 

Rahab’s life was transformed by the power of faith. She thrust herself at God’s feet and got up to aggressively go after Him with every ounce of her being. And in so doing, Rahab’s life was rescued from all the ugliness and emptiness she had filled it with.

 

God is still in the habit of rescuing broken women. What He loved about Rahab – enough to put her into His son’s heritage – was her unerring trust in His goodness. Rahab risked everything of value to her in order to belong to Him. She proved her faith by her actions. She set aside her fear, her worries and her illicit patterns of self-protection in order to entrust herself to God.

 

I can’t help but admire this woman. And, strange as it may be to say it, I find myself wanting to be like this ex-prostitute (please don’t tell my kids I said that!). She is both bold and beautiful, courageous and crafty. Rahab, more than any woman I know, had the guts to go after God with her whole heart.

 

And that’s something to think about.

From my heart,

Diane

 

 

ETC

Rahab’s Story

Rahab was a successful woman. She ran a thriving hotel, entertained powerful men, had the attention of her city-state’s ruling monarch, invested in the growing commodity market of linen, and owned a house which was the envy of every woman in town.

 

How do I know all that? Well, read up on her in Joshua, chapter 2.

 

Two spies were sent by Israel’s new leader, Joshua, to spy out the city of Jericho. With the million-strong encampment of the Hebrews camped uncomfortably close to the walled city, security in Jericho was at level red. In order to slip in unobtrusively, these two spies made their way to the bustling hospitality business Rahab ran from her home.

 

In a day when there were no Comfort Inns, Rahab took advantage of her city’s strategic location at the only major ford between the Jabbok River and the Dead Sea. She regularly took in travelers, no doubt charging them exorbitant prices for her enviable location.

 

And sometimes she did more than give them a room. She gave herself – for a price. Rahab watched her nest egg grow at the expense of her soul. Somehow she managed to harden her heart against the inner loathing every woman feels when she sells her body in exchange for survival.

 

Rahab was ambitious. She wanted more. Seeing the rising trade in linen from far away Egypt, she figured out a way to obtain the stalks of flax from which fine linen was made. The flat roof of her house rising high above the city made a precipitous place to process the tough fibers. First soaking them in water, then dragging them to the rooftop to soak in the sun was not a task for the timid. But Rahab wasn’t afraid of hard work. She was driven by the insatiable thirst for more.

 

Protecting all those assets in a male dominated society kept Rahab’s stress level on alert at all times. When a rumor reached her ears that the march of the dreaded Hebrews was headed her way, she took inventory of all she owned and searched for a solution. The power of the Hebrew god was too great to stand against.

 

Never before had Rahab heard of one god who controlled the weather and the sea and all the natural world. The gods of her experience were puny, competitive deities who were easily appeased with rituals and sacrifice. Listening to the city leaders debate strategy, Rahab knew they didn’t stand a chance against such power. Let them talk all they want, she would do what she must to secure her future.

 

Rahab’s vigilance apparently paid off. The Hebrew spies sought lodging in her home.

 

As a logical location to blend in with other travelers. It didn’t take Rahab long to see through their disguise, nor did it take long for rumors of their whereabouts to reach the ears of the king of Jericho.

 

As Rahab hurried to hide the men amongst the flax on her roof, she must have weighed her options. Turn them over to the authorities and incur the king’s favor with its lucrative reward, or hide the men at great risk to her life in the hopes that they would be obligated to return the favor if and when the Hebrews attacked. She chose the latter.

 

Their hiding place would not have endeared her to these men. The stalks of flax were soggy, having been soaked in stagnant water to separate the fibers. It would have been a ripe incubator of all sorts of insects. The unbearable stench choked the men as they lay in the midst of the mess wondering if Rahab had led them into a trap.

 

But Rahab had made up her mind, and when she decided something, she didn’t back down. Downstairs, she used all her cunning and probably a few feminine wiles to convince the guards that she had seen the spies heading out the gate near her home, headed for the hills. The soldiers set out after the phantom men as the city gate was lowered behind them.

 

Before Rahab led the spies to safety, she gathered her years of business acumen to negotiate a contract which would ensure security for herself and her family. Letting the spies down the massive wall with a woven rope put Rahab in a position to bargain – her life in exchange for their safe escape. When the Israelites attacked the city, Rahab would set out an identifying strand of scarlet cord. This was to be the signal that her house and her entire family were to remain under the direct protection of the men whose lives she had saved.

 

Sure enough, on the day of the invasion, Joshua directed his men to “go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to them.” As her city was being ransacked, Rahab was led to safety, bringing not only her family with her, but also “all she had.”

 

What now? They couldn’t live alone on the outskirts of the ruins of Jericho. Once again, Rahab’s forward thinking saved the day. The family followed the Israelites, living at first on the outer edges of their encampment. At some point however, Rahab must have embraced the God of the Hebrews for whom she held such great respect. Though the men of Israel were not permitted to associate with the women of the foreign lands they were invading, they could marry one who converted to their faith. One of these men, a man by the name of Salmon, chose Rahab to be his bride. Elevated from her former reputation as a harlot, Rahab now had full legal and social protection as his wife.

 

A nice story, you might say. Indeed, but it gets even better.

 

Rahab and her family are absorbed into the wandering nation of Israel. She settles in a little town called Bethlehem, married to a man of standing. There, Rahab begins a family of her own, eventually bearing a son by the name of Boaz. When Boaz grows up, he follows in the footsteps of his father and finds a wife of somewhat shady heritage but stalwart character (that would be Ruth). She presents him with a son, whose name is Obed.

 

As Rahab’s physical beauty gives way to wrinkles and grey hair, the beauty of her life lived under the protection of Yahweh blossoms. Her grandson grows up to have a son of his own, whom he names Jesse. Around the family hearth, Jesse hears stories of his great-grandmother’s courage and his great-grandfather’s love for her. Jesse has seven sons of his own. The youngest, born long after Rahab has passed into the presence of God, grows up to be the king of Israel.

 

By this time, Rahab’s story is but a distant memory – her name left out of the patriarchal genealogies of Hebrew history. But God has a way of remembering His own. In the opening pages of the biography of His Son, God inserts Rahab’s name into Jesus’ biological line of descent. There it is, right in the forefront of Jesus’ family tree – Rahab. It’s almost as if God is proud of her!

 

Jump ahead a few decades, and her name pops up again. In that famous tribute to men and women of great faith, Hebrews, chapter 11, we see this inscription: “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she welcomed the spies in peace.”

 

Flip over a few pages to the epistle of James and Rahab is once again used as a fine example of faith that works. This woman’s sordid story is told all over the pages of our Bibles! Why? Because Rahab was real. Like us, she struggled. Like us, Rahab’s life was all about choices – both good and bad. Some of those choices came back to haunt her. But in the end, she had the guts to follow her heartright to her Redeemer.

 

I can’t help but wonder, as I study her story, if Rahab had any idea that God would use her so? As she picked up the pieces of her shattered life after the fall of Jericho, did she ever despair? Did she think her usefulness was over?

 

And why did God give us her story? Why stretch it out, this history of harlotry and intrigue? Could He have had Rahab in mind when he wrote in 1 Peter 3 of His “precious” women from former times who put their hope in God?

 

And one last question:

 

Could it be that your story could end like hers?

Posted
May 24
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RUTH: WEEK THIRTY-ONE

Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part One)

(Click here to listen to the seventh teaching of Ruth)

Verse of the Week

“SEEK THE LORD AND HIS STRENGTH: SEEK HIS FACE CONTINUALLY” 1 Chronicles 16v11 NASB

 

 

More Word from the Father

1 Corinthians 10v1-14

1 Peter 3v3-6

1 Peter 5v6,7

1 Peter 4v8

1 Corinthians 13

Psalm 23

 

 

From my Heart

Who Am I?

 

“I do not want you to be unaware, brethren…with most of them God was not well-pleased…” (1 Corinthians 10v1, 5)

 

What a terrible and terrifying indictment! In referring back to “our fathers,” God gives this less-than-satisfactory summary of their lives. Then He gives a list: they craved evil things, they were idolaters, they acted immorally, they grumbled…

 

Uh-oh, sounds like me. I fit right into that list.

 

“Now these things happened to them as an example and they were written for our instruction…” (1 Corinthians 10v11)

 

Okay, I see. Instead of condemning them as hopeless, God writes their stories to show me what I ought to be like and what I should avoid at all costs. Instead of just issuing commands, He gives me examples, both good and bad. And that’s why we study the lives of the men and women recorded in Scripture.

The Old Testament is rich with stories. Between the tragic tales in the book of Judges and the trying escapades recorded in the books of Samuel lies this almost hidden gem of Ruth. Each character is easily identifiable. I can relate to Ruth, grieve with Naomi, give up on Orpah, shun those women around the well, and fall head over heels in love with Boaz. Yet these stories are meant for more than a history lesson. They are intended to instruct us in the ways of Yahweh and in the tendencies of His followers. We would do well to read carefully, to put ourselves in the places the Patriarchs walked, to listen, and to learn.

Let’s take a look at the characters in the story of Ruth to see how we measure up.

 

Naomi

She let Satan’s lie sink straight to her bones. It’s a lie he’s been using since the beginning of mankind – the idea that God is holding back His goodness; that He just might not have our best interests in mind. That He’s not nice. And as long as she nourished that little tidbit of falsehood, Naomi failed to thrive. She grew bitter and joyless. Hesed was happening all around her and she just couldn’t taste it.

Is that me? Am I feeling sorry for myself? Am I inwardly dissatisfied with God’s provision for me? Is all my worry and fussing an indication that I don’t really, honestly believe that He is able and willing to take care of me and mine?

 

Ruth

She went after God with the most appealing combination of humility and determination. Nothing would stop her; not the disapproval of people, nor the scolding of Naomi. Not even the looming specter of starvation could deter her. That girl poured every inch of her heart into pursuing God. And in the process, she won over her skeptics. By dying to her dreams, Ruth stepped right under the shadow of the wings of the Almighty, allowing Him to write her happily-ever-after ending.

What about me? Have I grown somewhat lackadaisical in my personal pursuit of God? Kinda lazy? Expecting Him to throw me a bit of wisdom just when I need it instead of storing up His treasures every opportunity I can grab? Am I gleaning – hot and sweaty out in the fields, searching for food?

 

Orpah

She gave up. Too hot, too hard, she turned back to the easier way. The old way. Orpah turned to the idols she was comfortable with rather than risk following Yahweh. Those idols of her heart gave her a sense of quick satisfaction.

What idols do I turn to? How about you?

A glass of wine, a bowl of ice cream to ease the stress of the day? An ungodly boyfriend? How about a shopping spree to pick me up? Or a mindless movie? What do I turn to? When I am all poured out, how do I fill back up?

 

The servant in charge

I like this guy. When Boaz inquired about the new worker in the field, the supervisor gave a glowing report about her progress. He made sure that her reputation was unblemished and utterly honest. Not one mention of any unrest among the other workers at her presence. No words of gossip or innuendo. He praised her hard work and let Boaz know that she was a welcome addition to his fields.

Do I do that? Or am I quick to point out the faults and flaws of others? Am I poking my nose in business I really don’t need to know? Can I be depended upon to let other’s share their own stories, knowing when it’s their story to tell and not mine? Am I willing to keep my mouth shut on stuff that doesn’t really matter? Do I believe the best about people?

 

The women

Twice in the story we hear of them. Once, right at the beginning when Naomi dumps her load of bitterness all over them in an unsolicited display of drama. And then again, right towards the end when they turn around and bless her. These women jump into the story with their own unsolicited commentary, making sure that Naomi knows and notices the good hand of God in her life. They bless God and they bless Naomi in a sort of sing-song vision for her future happiness.

Is that my tendency? Do I listen unjudgmentally when my sisters need to unload on me? Or do I lift my shotgun of Bible verses at them and blast away? These precious friends let Naomi vent without censorship. They listened. They watched. And then they applauded her story, giving God a standing ovation of praise. How must the angels have grinned! Maybe they joined in.

What about my kids? Do I let them question and complain from time to time, or do I shut them down and shame them for their rawness? One thing about the book of Ruth, the Author didn’t leave anything out. Nor did God defend Himself. He just let the story play out to its conclusion, letting lessons be learned little by little, all in good time.

 

And then of course, there’s Elimelech

He ran. He lost sight of what was most important (his relationship with God) and lost himself in the pursuit of pleasure and plenty. And he died doing it. What about his sons? There’s no telling how old they were when they left the Promised Land to follow their dad to Moab, but they were certainly old enough to decide for themselves to marry those Moabite women. They died too.

Oh, there are lessons to be learned alright. Life lessons to soak in and savor. The book of Ruth is rich with wisdom and insight into the Kingdom of God compared to the comforts of life.

 

While you read it, lean a little closer and listen carefully.

From my heart,

Diane

 

 

 

ETC

Four Women

The genealogy at the end of Ruth is copied almost verbatim in the genealogy of Jesus found in the first chapter of Matthew. One significant addition, however, differentiates the lists. In Jesus’ genealogy, the names of four women are highlighted – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. Why did the author include these four women? The inclusion of any women would have been considered inappropriate at the time of the writing. The place of women in society was downplayed; they were considered insignificant to the story. But these women were something of a black spot on the family tree. Why mention them at all? There must be a reason.

As we delve deeper into their stories, take some time to examine what these tales tell us about the women – and about the God they adopted as their own.

 

 

Ten Generations

Perez

Hezron

Ram

Amminadab

Nahshon

Salmon

Boaz

Obed

Jesse

David

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May 17
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RUTH: WEEK THIRTY

Ruth 4v13-17

Ever After (Part Five)

(Click here to listen to the sixth Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week

“…NO ONE TAKES YOUR JOY AWAY FROM YOU.” John 16v22 NASB

 

 

More Words from the Father 

Philippians 1v1-11

Philippians 2

Philippians 3v14-21

 

 

 

From my Heart

Pages from the past: March 1987

Waiting

 

Waiting…so much of our life is spent waiting.

Such a lot of our time is spent on boring, mundane details.

Yet fulfillment does not come

from excitement, adventure, challenge, importance;

but from doing the will of the Father

with all our heart and soul.

 

The purpose of my life is not to do something

big and important for God,

but to empty myself,

to be a “clay vessel,” as it were.

To be used and used up by God

in everything I do.

 

Thus the mundane is of eternal importance,

the boring, an adventure in spiritual enlightenment.

The Creator of the Universe, the Savior of all peoples,

the Comforter of our hearts-working

in and through me!

Magnificent wonder!

Thank You Lord.

 

From my heart,

Diane

 

 

 

ETC

When Does Life Begin?

Dare I answer this question? No, definitely not. Let the scientists, biologists, politicians, and activists argue, blog, chant, and pass their laws. I wouldn’t dare poke my head in their conversations.

 

But God, the creator of life, does dare.

 

I’ve listed a few of the Scriptures most frequently referred to which give God’s answer to the question:

 

1. Psalm 139V13-15 -The Psalmist sings of this life-affirming truth-

“For You created my inmost being

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from You

when I was made in the secret place,

When I was woven together in the depth of the earth,

Your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

Were written in Your book

Before one of them came to be.”

 

2. Luke 1v44 -Elizabeth tells Mary of her unborn child’s response to the presence of Jesus

“As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears,

The baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

 

3. Jeremiah 1v5 -The prophet Jeremiah recognized God’s appointment before birth-

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

Before you were born I set you apart…”

 

4. Isaiah 49v1 -The prophet Isaiah describes his calling before birth-

“Before I was born the Lord called me…”

The Scriptures make it crystal clear that life begins at conception, blossoms at birth, and bears the image of the Creator throughout all the days of our lives. So we’ll let the talking heads argue all they want while we celebrate God’s affirmation of the worth of every human life.

 

 

 

EPILOGUE

The End

Ruth 4v18-22

Seemingly tacked on to the end of our story is this list of names. Not much of a read, just five short verses – one long sentence. We usually let our eyes just sort of skip this part. Genealogies seem like simply a list of hard to pronounce names, of little interest to our hurried lives.

 

But wait.

 

Hold on.

 

Look closer.

 

There are ten names brought to our attention. And each of these names represents a real man, with a real wife, and real kids. A family. And in every family lives a story – God’s story-involving love and laughter, dreams and drama. His-Story.

 

Just as you and I cry out to be known and seen as significant, so these stories of real people call from the pages of our Bibles to be examined and explored. Who were these people? How is it that their lives followed a path that put their families into the back story of the King of Israel? They begot royalty. Somehow they laid a foundation for future greatness.

 

Let’s take some time this week to turn aside from our usual rush and dig up some of these jewels of wisdom dropped around the treasure of God’s Word. Let’s snoop and explore, reading between the lines and coloring in the lives of these men who God chose to mention in the closing lines of Ruth.

 

You might just discover your own keys to the Kingdom.

Posted
May 10
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RUTH: WEEK TWENTY-NINE

Ruth 4v13-17

Ever After (Part Four) 

(Click here to listen to the sixth Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week

“…THE EARS OF THE DEAF WILL BE UNSTOPPED.” Isaiah 35v5b NASB

 

 

More Words from the Father

Isaiah 35v3-10

1 Thessalonians 4v13-18

Mark 7v31-37

Revelation 21

Isaiah 25v6-7

 

 

From my Heart

Someday

 

Someday all sorrow will be gone.

 

The hurts and pains and grief that mark our lives will be but a distant memory. Instead, delight will come bursting into our hearts and minds. We’ll giggle and dance and laugh out loud, unable to contain our joy.

 

Someday all worry will be gone.

 

The stress, the worries we push to the corners of our minds. The prayers we pray in panic for people we love. The underlying anxiety. Poof! Gone. And in place of all those nasty peace stealers will be trust. Absolute, unerring, unwavering trust in the One who holds the world in His hands.

 

Someday all fear will be gone.

 

Fear of the future. Fear of the past. Fear of people. Fear of pain. No longer will fear be the architect of our plans. Instead we’ll dream-and dream big. Walking with the Creator of the Universe, we’ll be so free from the fear that held us back that we’ll expound our ideas and expand on His to the delight of us both. Can’t you just see it? Arms waving, faces alight with the possibilities. We’ll be free!

 

Someday all anger will be gone.

 

We’ll never again hear it or sense it or see it in others. And we’ll never again feel it ourselves. No more seething silently. No more exhausting explosions. Grace will blanket everything and everyone. Love will be so palatable then, that we’ll forget what rage feels like. We’ll scratch our heads and wonder what happened back then, before this place.

 

And someday I’ll be able to hear again.

 

The tinkling of bells. The fall of raindrops. The whisper of the wind. Birds will sound beautiful. The full-throated croak of a frog will send me, no doubt, into peals of laughter. And a creak of a cricket – crisp and clear over the morning air.

 

I’ll never, ever again pretend to hear someone. Never watch lips move and wonder what to do – ask again or nod my head and hope for the best? Words and sounds will float to me, enveloping me in their music, enrapturing my whole self.

 

And I’ll sing. Yes I will! Loud and unabashedly proud, I’ll sing when I’m alone and when I’m surrounded by singers. No worries about missed notes or monotone. My voice will carry over the waves in rich, lovely tones of praise. Maybe I’ll even grab a microphone just so everyone will know it’s me!

 

Someday. Someday soon.

 

I know, I know…I know that the now of my life matters. I have work to do. My Master has called me to walk a while here, to keep my eyes off my troubles, fixed firmly on His face.

 

I know.

 

But still, someday beckons. I’ll be home then. Reveling in that place He meant for me all along. And I’m going to hear those hoped for words, I know I will. Despite my failures, my gross inadequacies, and my horrendous hypocrisy – I’m going to hear Him say,

“Oh Di, my good and faithful servant…Come…enter into Joy!”

 

Someday.

 

From my heart,

Diane

 

 

 

ETC

Words

Laqah

“So Boaz took Ruth…”

The Hebrew word laqah is translated brought, acquired, selected, took, or marry. The word itself changes meaning with its context. Here in the context of a wedding ceremony, it takes on the meaning of marriage. Boaz married Ruth. But it means more than that. Boaz selected Ruth. The entire story romances his selection of Ruth as his bride. Of all the women he could have picked, Boaz sought out and selected Ruth.

This is the same word used in Deuteronomy 4v34 to describe God’s choosing of the people of Israel out of all the other nations to be His own people. The concept of being chosen by God reverberates throughout the book of Ruth and spills onto the pages of the entire Bible. Boaz’s selection of Ruth as his wife is a beautiful picture of Jesus’ choosing of us to be His bride.

For reasons we will never fully grasp, God sought us and bought us, and brought us into His protection and love. In a very real sense, God laqah you!