Archive for the ‘Ruth’ Category

“Some Enchanted Evening”

Posted: September 26, 2014 in Gospel, Marriage, Ruth, Salvation

“There is a time for God’s people to wait passively [and patiently] for God to remove obstacles, and there comes a time for God’s people to engage those obstacles. Both are done in faith that God works all things together for those who love Him, and that God is concerned about the details of our lives. All three characters in [Ruth chapter three] took risks that rendered them vulnerable…”. – Gary Phillips

Match Maker. Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi was determined to find a husband for her Moabite daughter-in-law. Although earlier she had expressed her bitterness when she returned to Bethlehem (Ruth 1:20), she gained some hope when she learned that Ruth had come in contact with one of their relatives by the name of Boaz. He had shown kindness to her in allowing her to glean grain from his field. He even invited her to have lunch with him and his employees.

Bewildered. Confused by his slowness to take action toward Ruth, Naomi became very pragmatic and took matters into her own hands rather than wait for God to work on Boaz’a heart. She wanted to secure a husband for Ruth through a “levirate marriage” (Deuteronomy 25:5-9). Naomi was doing what was right in her own eyes as other people were doing at that time (See Judges 21:15). But the end doesn’t justify the means (Romans 3:8). Christians must do God’s work God’s way (2 Timothy 2:5). Are you doing things your way or God’s way? His ways are so much better than ours. Read Isaiah 55:8, 9.

Advice. Naomi told Ruth to take a bath, put on some nice perfume and her best dress and then go down to the place where Boaz would be spending the night by the crops that he and his workers had brought in from the fields where she herself had also worked. She was to notice where he would lie down after eating and drinking. Then when he was asleep she was to quietly approach him in the dark and uncover his feet and lie down there. Naomi wanted Ruth to appeal to his emotions, not his rationale.

Cautious. Because she trusted her mother-in-law, she followed her advice even though she faced a great risk if things went wrong. Suppose he accused her of being an immoral woman or doing things in an inappropriate way in the dark (See Proverbs 7:9, 10). What if he had allowed his emotions to take over and he violated her as Judah did with Tamar, his daughter-in-law (Genesis 38:13ff)? Contrast this with Joseph’s actions (Genesis 39:12). Both Boaz and Ruth had had good reputations that could have been lost in a moment of passion. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:22; 2 Timothy 2:22).

Chivalrous. When he abruptly awoke from his sleep in the middle of the night, Boaz asked who was at his feet. Ruth identified herself and then asked him a marry her and be her protector (Ruth 3:9). The Mosaic Law permitted a widow woman to do this (Deuteronomy 25:5-9). But the pragmatic way in which Naomi suggested that it be done could have resulted in a lot of gossip in Bethlehem. Do you like to gossip or listen to it? If you’re tempted by this, gird yourself with the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14).

High Road. Rather than take advantage of her, Boaz assured her that he would attend to the matter during the daylight hours as it should be done in the presence of witnesses. But there was a problem. There was another unnamed man who was a closer relative who should be given the opportunity to carry out this levirate marriage if he desired to do so.

Protection. To keep her from the possible danger of returning home in the middle of the night, he told her to stay with him until the break of dawn when she could return home. Both of them maintained their purity (See 1 Thessalonians 4:3). Rather than sending her home empty, he gave to her six times the amount of grain that she had gleaned when she started working in his fields (Ruth 2:17; 3:15).

More. There is more to this love story. Naomi was now confident that Boaz wouldn’t rest until he had taken care of business that day (See Ruth 4).

Lessons. What can we learn from this love story that took place in the dark days of Israel’s history? Among other things, God has a special plan for each of His children (Ephesians 2:10). He works behind the scenes orchestrating things for our good (Romans 8:28) and often removes the obstacles that we can’t move (Ephesians 3:20; Revelation 1:8). Furthermore, God is delighted when His children do His will (2 Corinthians 5:9) and devote themselves fully to Him (Romans 12:1, 2). Have you done that yet? Doing this has no value to it until you receive the gift of eternal life by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for your sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).

Help. If you’re struggling with the issues of life and desire to know what God says in His Word, and If you are willing to change, we invite you to contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped, will you let us and someone else know. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

“Practical Righteousness”

Posted: September 26, 2014 in Compassion, Ruth

Although the words of the prophet Micah hadn’t even been written yet, this young widow woman was following the principles of God’s command “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Justice. Ruth was a Moabite. Here people had a bad reputation (Revelation 2:14). She hadn’t grown up being taught the Law of Moses but she had come to faith in the God of the Jews. She knew that it was the just and right thing for her to take care of her elderly mother-in-law who was a widow. (See 1 Timothy 5:8; James 1:27).  Ruth herself was also a widow and had made a vow to go wherever her mother-in-law would go, lodge wherever she did, make Jehovah her God, and be buried where her mother-in-law would be buried (Ruth 1:16, 17).

Mercy. Upon arriving back in Bethlehem, the city from which her mother-in-law Naomi came, Ruth saw the necessity for herself to go out each day and glean in the barley fields and pick up the left overs so she and Naomi could survive. Ruth was a compassionate young woman. Having secured permission from her mother- in-law, Ruth went out to work in  the barley fields to glean the left over crops for Naomi and herself. We see no indication on Naomi’s part to caution Ruth to the possible dangers that she might face as a foreign widow woman, especially in those dark days of the judges when horrific things were happening (See Judges 19-21).

Humility. With her faith in God, Ruth went out to work in the harvest fields with other Jewish people. She had to rely on God to direct her to the right field to work (See Proverbs 3:5, 6). She humbly requested one of the foremen to allow her to glean in his field and he granted her permission. Ruth displayed a good work ethic and this was recognized by the foreman and others.

Owner. When Boaz, the owner of the field, came to check up on the work, he greeted his workers kindly and they responded in like manner (Ruth 2:4). That doesn’t happen too often these days but if it did there might be more profit for the company and this would enable the owner to treat his employees better. Unfortunately, greed takes place on both sides: labor and management. Boaz asked his foreman about the Moabite woman in his field. When he learned that she was Naomi’s daughter-in-law he treated her kindly and encouraged her to stay in his fields rather than go to other fields to glean where there might be unseen dangers.

Hope. When Ruth returned home that evening, Naomi asked her about her day. Ruth told about her encounter with Boaz. Naomi’s eyes must have lit up as she realized that he was a near kinsman who could deliver them from their poverty by buying back the family farm and marrying the widow Ruth. So Naomi blessed the Lord and Boaz who had shown kindness to Ruth.

Moral. The moral of the story is that whether we realize it or not, God is at work behind the scenes working all things out for the good of His children who love Him (Romans 8:28). Even though we may be facing hard times now, we are to give thanks in the midst of our trials and tests (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and display the joy of the Lord in our lives (James 1:2; Philippians 4:4). As the song writer wrote, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

Help. The temptations of life give us an opportunity to display our true love either for God or for the temporary pleasure we might derive from engaging in sin (Hebrews 11:25). Those Christians who overcome temptations will receive the crown of life (James 1:12). If you need spiritual help or have questions/comments, we invite you to contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com.  Click on “Follow” if you’d like to receive future articles as they come out.

When my wife and I got married she included in her vows to me these words: “…wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). She has kept that vow and has been a great help to me during our marriage.

But these words were uttered initially by a young Moabite widow toward her bitter, Jewish mother-in-law, who was also a widow. Both of them were headed back to the land of Israel after a famine in Bethlehem (House of bread). Both women were in desperate need of assistance and mercy from God and others. Their futures were very uncertain. One might ask, “Why was there a famine in the land of Israel?” God had made it clear to the Jews that if they kept His commandments they would be blessed, and if not they would be cursed (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28).

Crises. “Life’s tragic circumstances often lead to despair and depression; sometimes we have no sense of the immediate presence of God. Even so, He may bring others alongside to encourage and strengthen in time of need – whether or not we are receptive.” – Gary Phillips. Has someone come by to help you in your distress? Are you helping others in their time of need?

Depravity. The events in this love story took place during some very dark days in the nation of Israel. If you want, you can read about them in Judges 17-21. Be warned – it’s gruesome. Considering our world today, things haven’t changed much. The depravity of humanity was on display when people were doing what was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25) but which was an abomination to God. Against this black backdrop two people emerge to shine as pure pearls in the bright light.

Ruth. She was from the land of Moab. The Moabites came into existence when Abraham’s nephew Lot was seduced by his own two daughters into an incestuous relationship with their father after they got him drunk. This took place shortly after God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness (Genesis 19). The descendants of Moab and Ammom became enemies to the people of Israel. When the Jews, who had been slaves in Egypt, came out of there on their way to the land of Canaan, that God had promised to give to them (Genesis 15:18-21), the king of Moab called on the soothsayer Balaam to come and curse the children of Israel (Numbers 22-25). But God wouldn’t allow him to do that so he gave King Balak some advice.

Seduction. He told him to send the most beautiful Moabite girls into the camp of the Jews and seduce the men and get them involved with the Moabites in immorality and idolatry (Numbers 30:16). Consequently, twenty-four thousand Jews died by a plague (Numbers 25:9). Later Balaam himself was slain with the sword (Joshua 13:22). Even though Balaam has been dead for thousands of years, his influence is still being felt in the world today (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11; Revelation 2:15).

Eglon. He was a king of Moab whom God allowed to oppress the Jews for 18 years because of their sinful behavior. But then Ehud, a left-handed judge in Israel, killed him with his dagger and set the Jews free for 80 years (Judges 3:12-30). The Book of Judges records seven cycles when the Jews went from rest in their land into rebellion, retribution, repentance, and restoration. They just didn’t seem to learn from the mistakes of others. Are we any different today?

Players. Other Jews who play a part in this story are Elimelech whose name means “My God is King.” But he didn’t trust God very much when he left Bethlehem for Moab in a time of famine. Because of this, he died in Moab. Naomi, His wife, whose name means “Pleasant one” ended up as a widow. To add to her grief, her two sons, Mahlon (meaning “Sick”), and Chilion (meaning “Pining”) married two Moabite girls but both of her sons died in Moab too (Ruth 1:1-5).

Famine. One might ask, “Why was there a famine in the land of Israel?” God had made it clear to the Jews that if they kept His commandments they would be blessed, and if not they would be cursed (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). As Christians, we have to be careful that we don’t try to claim the promises that were given exclusively to the Jews. The Church hasn’t replaced Israel. (Replacement Theology – http://www.gotquestions.org/replacement-theology.html) When Naomi heard that God had lifted the curse on the land of Israel, she wanted to go back to Bethlehem. She had gone out full, but now she was returning empty (Ruth 1:21). Needless to say, she wasn’t happy about her condition. Rather than take responsibility for herself, she blamed God for her plight.

Persuasion. Naomi tried to persuade her daughters-in-law to go back to their people and their gods (Ruth 1:11-15). That was terrible advice and she even evoked God’s name and blessing on such actions. Israel, not Moab, was the place of blessing, and for her daughters-in-law to go back there would mean that they might marry pagan men and worship their gods. Sometimes well meaning Christians, who are out of fellowship with God, lead fellow Christians away from God’s will for their lives. “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). How many things do you do while you have doubts in your mind?

Thoughts. The injustices obedient Christians experience in life will not go unnoticed by God (Romans 8:18; Hebrews 6:10). The end doesn’t justify the means (Romans 3:8; 2 Timothy 2:5). God will keep His promises whether we believe them or not (Titus 1:2). Our attitude + Our aptitude = Our altitude (Philippians 4:4; 2 Timothy 2:15; James 4:10). Do you need an attitude adjustment (Galatians 6:1)? The decisions we make and the actions we take have consequences (John 3:18, 36). The most important decision we’ll have to make in life is, What will we do with the Lord Jesus Christ? Will we place our faith in Him alone as the One who died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the dead, or reject God’s offer of deliverance from the lake of fire to heaven?

Help. If you’re sincerely concerned about your future and need some help from God’s Word, we invite you to contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com.  If you’d like to receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”