Posts tagged Yahweh

Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part One)

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

Verse of the Week




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.



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?



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?



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,






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











RUTH: week 1

Once Upon a Time: Ruth 1:1-5

Like a riveting drama, the book of Ruth opens upon a scene of conflict and confusion. A family journeys away from their home and identity in search of an illusion of security. Troubled times in the land of their birth, prompt them to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Away from their extended family and far from their God, they sojourn, then they enter, and they remain with a people who worship the violent, irrational god called Chemosh.

Chaos ensues.

First, the father dies, leaving Naomi with her two sons to fend for herself. The sons marry and sink their roots deeper into the culture of Moab, a country whose practices are anathema to everything they were raised to believe. After a decade of adapting to their adopted land, both sons suddenly die, leaving three widows in their wake.

The scene is set in just a few short sentences. No grand display of emotion, no weeping and wailing, not even a haunting dirge playing in the background. Just the facts. But those facts are staggering, their implications posing impossible odds for Naomi. She scrambles to undo the irreversible harm done ten years previously, when, against all wisdom, her husband led their family away from their land, Israel, and away from their God, Yahweh.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll be delving deeper into the drama of our own lives. How do you handle adversity? What do you do when your heart aches for satisfaction? When emotional or relational famine leaves you high and dry?

The answer, of course, is to plant your heart firmly beside what Psalm 1 describes as “streams of water” the Word of God. There, we thrive and flourish no matter what the circumstances of our story dictate.





Ruth 1:1-5

Matthew 4:23-5:6

1 Peter 1:25-2:3

Hebrews 5:14-6:12

Isaiah 55


Are You Hungry?

Have you ever been on a diet? How about those liquid-only ones? The instructions sound so convincing: “Just drink these lovely drinks which will fill you up, imparting loads of energy without the dreaded calories of real food. You’ll be svelte and slim in no time.”

Give me a break!

Not that I haven’t tried it, mind you. It’s just that I haven’t succeeded. I do okay for a day. In fact, I feel rather proud of myself, energized and motivated to finally “do it this time.” But by day two I start fixating on food. The slightest whiff of toast in the morning makes me crave a luscious, crispy, jam-laden hunk of life-giving bread. You get the picture.

No, starvation diets don’t work because the hungrier you are, the more you start to earnestly long for food to fill your empty belly.

Hunger is real. And if left unattended, it can weaken you. Elimelech looked on in anguish as his family suffered the agonizing effects of genuine hunger. Naomi lost weight, not because she wanted to fit into tight jeans, but because she hadn’t enough to eat. His boys failed to thrive, whining for more when their bowls were empty. As he watched their cupboards empty and faced the prospect of weeks and months of subsistence living, Elimelech came to the conclusion that he must act now to satisfy his desperate need for food. He must solve the hunger problem.

Elimelech is not the only one. You and I try to solve our own hunger problem whether we know it or not. In fact, some of us get to the very end of our lives before we realize that the messes we have caused along the way were actually the consequences of an undernourished life.

Let me explain.

Way back in Deuteronomy, when God is laying out His instructions for His people in order that “it might be well with them and their sons forever” (Deuteronomy 5:29), He makes a curious claim about hunger:

“…He humbled you and let you be hungry,

and fed you with manna

which you did not know,

that He might make you understand that

man does not live by bread alone,

but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”

(Deuteronomy 8:3)

Or, as the New Living Translation so poetically puts it:

“…He did it to teach you that people need more than bread for their life;

real life comes by feeding on every word of the LORD.”

God caused their hunger. He didn’t just allow it. It didn’t slip by Him without notice. He let them feel the full force of the pain of their own hunger for a purpose: in order to teach His chosen, beloved people that “real life comes by feeding on every word of the LORD”.

So I ask you - “Are you hungry?” Have you experienced real, starvation-induced heart hunger? And, have you yet discovered the satisfaction that comes from truly feasting on His every word?

Just as your body can become gaunt from not enough good food, so your soul will show symptoms when you are languishing. And just as I’ve experienced all sorts of self-induced hunger on an ever-elusive quest for leanness, I know all too well those signs of soul hunger. Do you have any of these symptoms?

In the area of relationships…

  • Are you a control freak? Do you wonder why others are getting in the way of what you want, why they don’t do what you want, or why they don’t understand what you want?
  • Are you growing contentious? Aggravated when “nobody can’t do nothin’ right!”
  • Is conflict making you feel that “everybody-is-against-me-nobody-loves-me-woe-is-me!”
  • Is competitiveness driving you to need to be better than everyone else?

In your hidden heart…

Are you disappointed that life and dreams and relationships haven’t brought the happiness you were so sure they would when you started out?

Are you depressed that there is no hope for improvement, no new dreams to inspire, nothing to get you up in the morning?

Are you sensing despair? (And don’t think for a minute that Christians never experience this!) King David asked himself this very question, “Why are you in despair, O my soul?”

And have you, like Elimelech tried to find solutions for your starvation symptoms? Have you tried to alleviate those hunger pangs by bingeing on what the Bible metaphorically calls the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life?”

Have you found yourself buying a new outfit to make you feel better about yourself, clawing your way up the corporate ladder to prove yourself, striving to create the perfect home in order to paint a perfect picture of yourself? Maybe even flirting with men to bring attention to yourself?

And how far has it led?

How much debt has it caused you? How much alienation and exhaustion? What about shame?

All of these, and more, are simply signs that you are hungry. You are not getting enough food. Or you’re pigging out on the wrong kinds of food. You’ve been dieting too long, buying into the notion that “Devotions in One Minute a Day” will satisfy your soul. And it doesn’t. Just as food-less dieting doesn’t work, Word-less living leaves you and me weak and vulnerable.

So, this week, I prescribe real food. Go and gather that Manna, that Bread of Life which can be “ground and beat and boiled and made into cakes” (look it up in Numbers 11). Get up a little earlier, get your “cooking utensils” out the night before, and be ready for a feast…and an end to hunger.

From my heart,



The Famine

The story of Ruth happened during a time of severe and significant famine. We’re not talking an economic downturn here. It was a national meltdown. Think widespread poverty and complete panic. The Great Depression of BC 1200.

It is widely believed that this story transpired sometime before Gideon became judge over Israel, (though no one knows for certain). In Gideon’s time, a famine occurred which was more a political than an agricultural disaster. Crop conditions were excellent, the fields filled with the rich produce of the region. Everyone anticipated a good year. But just as harvest day dawned, a swarming army of nomadic raiders (the Bedouins from the desert region of Midian) invaded Israel, stealing the crops, the sheep, the oxen, and even their donkeys. A full years’ work devastated in one fell swoop.

These Bedouin nomads did not want to destroy the Israelites, nor did they attempt to take over their land. The camel-riding Midianites simply swooped in like locusts and emptied their cupboards, leaving the land and the people poor and destitute, with just enough supplies to survive to plant next year’s crop. And all of this went on for seven years!

No wonder Gideon, Elimelech, and quite possibly every man, woman, and child in Israel were desperately looking for relief.