Archive for the ‘Bible Studies’ category

The Earth as Described by God

January 17, 2017

The Old Testament provides us with unusual information about the earth and the universe at a time when that information was not scientifically discernible.  The Old Testament provides us with some amazing insights that are accepted fact today, but they were compiled thousands of years before Galileo, Copernicus, and Isaac Newton were able to scientifically derive them.

We can read that the earth is round in Isaiah 40:22 where it says, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

In Proverbs 8:27, “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

In Job 22:14, “Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.”

All three of occurrences of the original Hebrew word (“Chuwg”) Strong’s Number: 02329 in the Bible are used as either circle, compass, or circuit and are shown in the above three verses.  They all refer to something which is a circle or round in shape.

Finally, Job 26:7, “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”  The earth indeed hangs on nothing in the vast vacuum of space! Only God could know this to be the case at the time of this writing…More proof that the Bible is the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God!

Mephibosheth and the Covenant of Grace

January 17, 2017

Introduction

The story of Mephibosheth is another Biblical example of God’s Grace bestowed on the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Mephibosheth is an allegorical representation of all believers who by nature should die (eternally) for their sins, but, by the Grace of God through the Covenant of Grace wrought through the Person and Work of the LORD Jesus Christ, can have eternal peace and security in Heaven with Jesus Christ. The story is also an interesting one because it requires a bit of searching to see the whole picture.

In 1 Samuel 20:11-17 we read, “And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field. 12 And Jonathan said unto David, O Lord God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee; 13 The Lord do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the Lord be with thee, as he hath been with my father. 14 And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not: 15 But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth. 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the Lord even require it at the hand of David’s enemies. 17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.”

Mephibosheth is a son of Jonathan, the son of King Saul, to whom that “forever” covenant applies, but he is lame

In 2 Samuel 4:4 we read, “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.” Mephibosheth in Hebrew means “Dispeller of Shame.” (It is not entirely clear what that means, but we do know that Saul was not a man who God loved, and because Miphibosheth was the only one of Saul’s line who found grace, he would have thereby have been viewed as having dispelled that shame.)

We also know now that he was lame in his feet (both feet, as the Bible later explains). To be lame is NOT a good thing…it is used in the Bible as being a “blemish” and as an allegory for being in a state of sin sickness that requires healing. We know this because it is specifically mentioned in God’s Law as a reason for which a person approach God’s holy temple or an animal cannot be used as a sacrifice for sin. Here are the key examples (please read the chapters to see the full context).

Leviticus 21:18, “For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,”

Deuteronomy 15:21, “And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the Lord thy God.”

To be lame is treated in the Bible much like all such ailments /infirmities /blemishes /sicknesses that spiritually signify our natural state of sin, e.g., deafness, dumbness, blindness, broken bones, leprosy, demon possession, and even physical death from which there is a need of a cure. And the Bible makes clear that Salvation through Jesus Christ is the only eternal cure for our sins. The reality is that we are all by nature, “spiritually lame.”

With specific regard to being lame, we see other accounts of someone who is lame and then is miraculously cured by Jesus and his disciples. See for example, Matthew 15:30,31, “And great multitudes came unto him (Jesus), having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel. Also, Matthew 21:14 “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. This is reiterated in Jesus testimony to be passed to John the Baptist, “Luke 7:22, “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” and later in Acts Chapter 3 we read where Peter healed the lame man seeking alms to whom Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:” Again in Acts 8:7 we read the account of the disciples healing infirmities that include lameness, “For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.”

David comes to power and fulfills the covenant to Jonathan by showing mercy to Mephibosheth

 When David was anointed king of Israel, in theory, any living male heir of King Saul could have tried to challenge David’s throne and would in general be quite fearful of being killed by the king for that sole reason (we later read that the male heirs considered themselves “dead men”). In fact, all but one of king Saul’s male heirs were slain, one way or another (only Mephibosheth was spared as we will see). We read in 1 Samuel 31:2, “And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul’s sons.” But several grandsons of Saul did live on for a time, that included Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul.

 In 2 Samuel chapter 9 we read the account where David remembers his covenant with Jonathan, “And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? 2 And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. 3 And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. 4 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. 5 Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. 6 Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! 7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. 8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? 9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. 10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.

 However, the account of Mephibosheth does not stop there…for in 2 Samuel 16:1-4 we later read where Mephibostheth is falsely accused of treason and his possessions are taken from him and given to the accuser,And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine. And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink. And the king said, And where is thy master’s son? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father. Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king.” Ziba, originally the servant of Saul (and hence also Jonathan), falsely accused Mephibosheth to King David, for Mephibosheth never said this, and Ziba must have evidently coveted Mephibosheth’s inheritance from king Saul.

Later, in 2 Samuel 19 we read the following where Mephibosheth has the opportunity to explain himself to king David: “And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. 25 And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth? 26 And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame. 27 And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes. 28 For all of my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king? 29 And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land. 30 And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.” Here we (and king David) can plainly see that Mephibosheth is a faithful servant who loves David and places his relationship with David above all worldly material possessions. But with Ziba it is not so.

King David continued to show grace to Mephibosheth as we later read in 2 Samuel 21. There we find the account where seven of Saul’s grandsons were turned over by king David to Gibeonites to appease them, and the Gibeonites killed (actually “hanged”*) those seven men (including a cousin of Mephibosheth who was also named Mephibosheth). However, most notably we read in verse 7, “But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the Lord’s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.”

The Message

Just like David, God remembers his Covenants…God’s Covenant of Grace and Mercy is sealed by the precisous blood of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and will endure forever. May we all be blessed as Mephibosheth and learn from his example to be humble servants willing to forsake all to serve our Lord, King, and Savior, Jesus Christ. May we all, like Mephibosheth, eat “Bread” continually (forever) at the King’s Table in the King’s House.

* The Bible teaches that anyone who is hanged is cursed by God. Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” The Old Testament specified that in Deuteronomy 21:23, “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God; ) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”  What this would seem to teach us is that all of Saul’s grandsons were cursed by God (except for Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, and not his cousin Mepibosheth born of the woman Rizpah).  Hence, to at least some degree, “Mephibosheth”, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, “dispelled the shame” of his grandfather, Saul.

Seeing the Person and Work of Jesus Christ in Nehemiah Chapter 2

December 28, 2015

This is a work in progress…but it is posted now as a means to stimulate thought and discussion.

When we read Nehemiah, Chapter 2, there are some very clear parallels between the activities of Nehemiah during his 3 day and 3 night journey to Jerusalem and that of the final days of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry.

Like Nehemiah, who was the only other person Who went to Jerusalem for three days and three nights?

Who else, like Nehemiah, went with no man with him? (where no one else could go?)

Who else, like Nehemiah, did not inform anyone of his business before hand?

Who else, like Nehemiah, “viewed” the walls (the Hebrew word for “viewed” can also be interpreted as “purchase” as in purchasing wheat…remembering that the believers,  who are purchased by the shed blood of Jesus, are the “lively stones”that are built into the walls of the spiritual house of God…see 1 Peter 2:5, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” See also Ephesians 2: 20-22).

Who went out by a spiritual “dung port” as presaged by Nehemiah?

Who crossed over the brook, Kidron, presaged by Nehemiah? (the Garden of Gethsemane is on the other side of the brook, Kidron from Jerusalem). Spiritually, the Brook Kidron at least suggests the eternal fires of hell, as this is where all the refuse was dumped and continually burned from the ancient city of Jerusalem.

What other analogies can be found?  Please search for yourselves.

I will try to get back to this study myself in the future…the Lord willing, as there are many, many analogies to be found.

 

NEW POST ADDITION: July 10, 2016

Let’s take a closer look at another interesting analogy that refers to the enemies of Nehemiah (Nehemiah, by extension, clearly represents Jesus Christ in Nehemiah Chapter 2…in case that was not clear enough in the above):

Nehemiah 2:10

When SANBALLAT the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard [of it], it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

Isn’t it interesting that two persons (along with representatives from many nearby nations in the world at that time, see Nehemiah 4:7 below) sought to hinder the work of Nehemiah that he had set out to accomplish…that of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and thereby seeking “the welfare of the children of Israel.”

Those two persons were named Sanballat and Tobiah. Who might those two persons represent?

IF the analogy presented above equating the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah following his solo journey to view (“purchase”) the walls during three days and nights with that laying the ground work for the building of the walls of the eternal Jerusalem, the Church, by Jesus Christ (Himself being the Chief Corner Stone), then those two persons ought to have counterparts in the New Testament who sought to defeat the efforts of Jesus in that work. Hmmmm?

Is it only pure coincidence that Sanballat means “hatred (or thorn) in secret.”?

You be the judge.

And the Bible tells us that Sanballat was also a “Horonite”  A Horonite is someone who lives in a cave, and one reference declares such a person to be a “trogolodite”. (see A Dictionary of Scriptural Proper Names, by J.B. Jackson). At a minimum, we have been given some insight that Sanballat is likely to not be a very nice person. So once again, who might Sanballat represent? Who sought to defeat Jesus at the cross of Calvary to keep Jesus from completing His mission? And who was filled with hatred of Jesus and those who followed Jesus and are considered his kinsman (the True Jews)?

Altogether, there at ten verses in the Book of Nehemiah that mention Sanballat, but in Chapter 4 there are a number of references:

1 “But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.

2  And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?

3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite [was] by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.

4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:

5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked [thee] to anger before the builders.

6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

7 But it came to pass, [that] when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, [and] that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,

8 And conspired all of them together to come [and] to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.”
Nehemiah 13:28

“And [one] of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, [was] son in law to SANBALLAT the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me.”

We can also see from the above verse that the high priest was in league with Sanballat in seeking to defeat Nehemiah’s efforts. Isn’t that interesting? In the New Testament, do we see a high priest who in effect was also in league with someone who was seeking to stop Jesus by having Jesus put to death at the cross? Yes we do, and his name was Caiaphas. Hmmm?

And what about Tobiah? Tobias in Hebrew means “goodness of God” which is a good thing, but Tobiah was also an Ammonite, which is NOT “good” from a Biblical perspective as described below.
Nehemiah 13:1

“On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the AMMONITE and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever;”

Please compare with what we find here:
Deuteronomy 23:3

“An AMMONITE or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:”

Ammon and Moab were the offspring of Lot by his two daughters.

 

There is still more to do regarding this Bible study help concerning Nehemiah, Chapter 2.

 

 

 

 

 

The real “Inconvenient Truth”

December 28, 2015

Introduction 

God is Sovereign and in complete charge of all of His Creation (this Universe) and God alone determines the end from the beginning because God’s Sovereignty knows no bounds.

Jesus is the embodiment of that “Inconvenient” Truth

In recent times (2006) there was a documentary film created about a former United States Vice President’s campaign to educate citizens about global warming entitled “An Inconvenient Truth.” Valid or not, that film only had to do with some carnal, materialistic, and temporal issues of this world. The Bible provides us with insights on a far more important “Inconvenient Truth”…one that directly affects every single human being who has ever lived or ever will live. That inconvenient truth is not only real, but it deals with incarnate, supernatural, and eternal issues. That truth is the fact that God is Sovereign over very single facet of all creation and life, and, moreover, that He orchestrates all of the events of the universe solely for His Glory, His Honor, and His Majesty and that it intimately involves the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is “inconvenient” because it is the “Truth” that most of mankind does not want to hear and/or believe.

Oftentimes, when we see evil or tragedy in the world, many will claim, “How can there be a God who allows such evil and misery to exist? How could a good God allow such evil things?” It is because it all serves God’s purposes. It goes back to the Garden of Eden. Was the devil and his enticement that led to the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden an accident or unexpected event? Was it some kind of an aberration to which God had to quickly develop a plan B? No, it was all ordained of God to provide the means by which God would Glorify Himself through the redemptive action of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who became the means by which mankind could be reconciled to God for that original sin (and all sins that they would commit in their own lives) and despite the adversarial actions of the devil throughout temporal history. Remember how we read in Revelation 13:8 that Jesus Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,”  which clearly indicates that His Sacrifice was not an afterthought. God clearly states His plan and His purposes to us in the Bible, just as we read here in Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.*”   

* Remembering  also Ezekiel 33:11, where God says, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked (הָרָשָׁ֔ע); but that the wicked (רָשָׁ֛ע) turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil (הָרָעִ֛ים, ha-ra-im) ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

God is Sovereign and in Total Control of Everything and Everything Belongs to Him

When we consider earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, etc., we know that it is God Who is ultimately in control of nature (despite the fact of, or perhaps through the use of, mankind’s influence on climate change).  Alternatively, when we consider the human caused acts of violence like murder, rape, acts of terrorism, or war; we know that such evil is “allowed” by God to fulfill His purposes. While we cannot readily understand all of those purposes, the sin is due to man alone.  Nonetheless, God does “allow” sin to exist, at least for now.  And we also know that God sacrificed (allowed evil to come upon) His Own Son to save sinners, not the righteous (because as we read in Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.), and that salvation program undeniably glorifies God in ways that are too marvelous for us to fully comprehend. We should also note that despite the numerous tragedies and acts of violence in the world that we hear about every day…there is still far more peace and comfort to the majority of humankind that is too often taken for granted, and that it is only God’s Divine Providence that protects the vastly greater multitudes from having to endure such tragedies on a daily basis, either the natural ones or those human caused.

Let’s take a look at a few important verses that reveal how God creates and uses evil, such that He can and has/will overcome it to His own Glory. But before we do that, let this be very, very, clear…God is NOT the author of sin! (Romans 9:14, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.”) Sin is an inherent trait of man since the fall of Adam and Eve.  However, God has allowed sin to continue to exist and He clearly can and does use the outcomes of sin for His purposes.  The Death of Jesus on the cross was the result of man’s sin…being necessary in order to save sinners due to the fall of Adam, and was effectuated by the sin of mankind who crucified Him…God allowed the crucifixion to occur as it served God’s purposes to bring about mankind’s (the believers) salvation and redemption… which absolutely brings glory to God.

However, nonetheless, we must always bear in mind what Jesus said in John 10:14-17, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.”  Jesus voluntarily went to the cross, eventhough outwardly it appeared otherwise.

We are also informed and admonished in James 1:13-15: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Mankind is responsible for the sin (Not GOD!), despite the circumstances that led to it as ordained by God, Who is totally Sovereign.

And just think for a moment about David lusting after Bathsheba.  In 2 Samuel chapter 11 we read that…”And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman.” We subsequently read how David took Bathsheba and then eventually had her husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed in battle to cover up David’s sin.  Soon thereafter those sins were exposed openly by the Prophet of God, Nathan, in 2 Samuel chapter 12, where God led Nathan to say, “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” This whole series of events was no incidental accident.  God foreknew, and clearly understood, what David would do when God presented David with that sinful opportunity (God was in no way surprised…But rather, God provided that opportunity…and God allowed it to happen… and He used it for our edification, exactly as it was recorded for us in the Bible!   One reason being that this account ultimately brings Glory to God, because it shows that God not only could, but would, save a sinner as evil as David was for having committed the sins of adultery and murder, to show us that God does not save the righteous, but rather sinners (like all of us), and moreover that despite those grievous sins, God would still have Jesus to be descended from David through Mary.

God also provides some insights on how such orchestration serves His purposes, as God tells us in Proverbs 16: 9, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” or in the case of such as King David (or really anyone) we read in Proverbs 21:1; “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

So let’s now move on to gain other insights on this inconvenient truth….In Isaiah 45 (Verses 5-7), God, in addressing Cyrus the King of Persia, says, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (The word for “evil” in Hebrew is the root word “רָע , (or phonetically “ra”) which can also be translated as adversity, calamitydistress, misery, trial, hardship, bad, or injury): I the Lord do all these things.” We also read in Amos, 3:6, “…shall there be evil (רָעָה֙, ra-ah) in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” In Proverbs 16:4 we find, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked (רָשָׁע , ra-sa) for the day of evil (רָעָה֙ , ra-ah).” See also: Job 21:30,”That the wicked (רָע , ra) is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.” 

The day of evil or day of wrath(s) would seem to be talking about Judgment Day (see 2 Peter 2:4).  Please remember also that in the book of Esther (please see other commentary on this site), the adversary Haman, who was an allegorical representation of the devil, was also called “the wicked” (הָרָ֛ע, ha-ra).  So, the result is that in the Bible, God is making clear to us that He not only Is completely Sovereign, but He created all things, and formed everything for Himself, even including the wicked (whether  רָע  ra; רָעהָרָ֛ע, ha-ra; רָשָׁ֛ע, ra-sa; or הָרָשָׁ֔ע, ha-ra-sa) who will all be destroyed on Judgment Day.

While some may think that this is just a matter of interpretation, or that these verses are taken out of context, let’s take a look at some other scriptural passages to see what God reveals about this point.

Joseph Before His Brothers in Egypt

Before getting to the main points of this study, one other amazing event has come to the mind of this teacher which unfolds in the Biblical account concerning Joseph within the book of Genesis. About ten years or so after Joseph was thrown into a deep pit by ten of his own (half) brothers, from which he was subsequently sold into slavery in Egypt (and forgotten and presumed to be dead by those same brothers), Joseph was raised to the right hand of the Pharaoh of Egypt.  During a time of famine (also orchestrated by God and foretold to Joseph by God providing Joseph with  the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams), Joseph’s father, Jacob (Israel), sent his sons to Egypt to seek for bread. The story unfolds from Genesis Chapters 37-50 (sufficient for an enormous commentary far beyond the purposes of this one), which for the child of God and student of the Bible the allegory of Joseph as a type of Jesus Christ becomes unmistakable.

For this study, however, in just one recognition of God’s complete mastery over all time, and space, and even the hearts and minds of men, the key verses, Genesis 45:4-9 and Genesis 50: 19-21 are thus:

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:”

19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?20 But as for you, ye thought evil (ra-ah) against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

The Exodus Account is Another Allegory, Which Provides Us With Insights on How God Works

We can see something very interesting in the Exodus account of the ten Plagues that God brings upon Egypt in response to the Pharaoh’s repeated refusal to let God’s people go out from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.  Moreover, it is not only interesting, but contrary to most people’s understanding of those events. Hollywood, for example, has, through at least one film effort, created the impression that Pharaoh would not let the people go despite the repeated ten plagues solely as a result of the natural stubbornness or stupidity of Pharaoh. However, in the Exodus account of the Bible (not the Hollywood version) we read where God informed Moses, beforehand, exactly how things would happen and why they would happen that way. God said that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh would not let the people go!

Exodus 4:3, “And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”

Exodus 7:3, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.”

Exodus 7:13, “And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.”

Exodus 7:14, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh‘s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.”

Exodus 7:22, “And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.

Exodus 8:15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” (If this verse is taken out of context, it might appear that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, but the whole context shows that this was not the case.

Exodus 8:19, “Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

Exodus 8:32, “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.” (this again would seem to suggest that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, but from the other verses we see that God was the initiator)

Exodus 9:7, “And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.”

Exodus 9:12, “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.” (This verse, like the majority of the others before it, makes it clear that it was God who hardened the heart of Pharaoh and not Pharaoh)

Exodus 9:34, “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.” (what is interesting in this case is that it says Pharaoh sinned yet more! How could Pharaoh be responsible for this sin, if his heart was hardened by God and as had God had ordained?…this will be addressed below.)

Exodus 9:35, “And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.”

Exodus 10:1-2 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.

Exodus 10:20, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.”

Exodus 10:27, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.”

Exodus 11:10, “And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Exodus 14:3, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.”

Exodus 14:8, “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.”

Exodus 14:17, “And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”

These verses all clearly reveal that the evil that Pharaoh subsequently does in preventing and trying to prevent Moses from leading national Israel, the representative chosen people of God, out of the land of Egypt…was all planned, ordained, and orchestrated by God. Therefore Pharaoh was no more than a pawn in God’s hand, as Pharaoh was created by God, raised up by God, and used for God’s purposes…which purpose was solely to bring glory and honor to God. He was used of God to fulfill God’s promise to Moses in Exodus 6:6, “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:”  God goes further in Exodus 9:16 to say in regards to Pharaoh: “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” This statement is repeated in the New Testament in the writings of Paul to the Romans, as in Romans 9: 17-18, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

God begins the introduction of the Ten Commandments by saying in Exodus 20:2, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” And then in Deuteronomy 5:15, “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” Similarly we also read in Deuteronomy 4:33-35, “Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.” And in Deuteronomy 26:8, “And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:” It is also notable that immediately after the verses Exodus 7:5, 1) “That the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD” and after Exodus 14:4, 2) “I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host: that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.”

The whole Exodus account was an allegory to show the power of God to save a people for Himself. God created Satan just like He created Pharaoh and raised them both up to serve his purposes of saving a people for Himself and Glorifying Himself in the process. Pharaoh was a powerful ruler who held God’s people in bondage, he served as an allegorical type for the devil who holds mankind in bondage to sin, death, and ultimately hell (note that God referred to Egypt allegorically as the “iron furnace” in Deuteronomy 4:20, “But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.” (similarly also see 1 Kings 8:51 and Jeremiah 11:4)   Just as God, by a mighty out stretched arm, working through amazing signs and wonders brought national Israel out of that house bondage, so too God, through the amazing sacrifice of His dear Son, Jesus Christ (as also the Passover Lamb of God) brought out His eternal spiritual Israel from bondage to sin and the devil (and otherwise destined for hell…the eternal “iron furnace”). We can say this confidently, for we read in Revelation 1:18, where Jesus (as the Lamb of God) says, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

God’s Sovereign Actions are Explained in Romans Chapter 9:“Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

To prove that the above commentary is not simply this teacher’s opinion, and that it is indeed true, we have only to see what is written in Romans, chapter 9, verses 13-26, where Paul, as the scribe who was guided by the Holy Spirit, wrote,

13 “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Osee (Hosea in Greek), I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. (see Hosea 2:23)

26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”

So there we have it!…God explains that He will have compassion on those who He wills and He will harden whom He wills. This is the REAL “Inconvenient Truth”! in John, 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” You see, Jesus is the truth, and whether anyone likes it or not, Jesus is the very substance of that real “Inconvenient Truth.” Moreover, while the Bible also says in Mathew 22:14, that “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (note that it is not the few who “choose” God, but rather those “few” are the ones who are solely “chosen” by God).  This is also in keeping with what we read in Mathew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Remember also that in 1 Peter 2:9, we read, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

Finally, let’s look at John 6:44 where Jesus very plainly states: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  God is entirely sovereign, and yes we are mere pieces of clay molded by the potter.  Although we are physically alive, we are all spiritually dead by  nature because we are “dead in our trespasses and sins” by nature and it must be God who makes us alive and capable of responding.  Theses verses make that clear for all believers:

Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Colossians 2:13, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”

John5:21, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them (makes them alive); even so the Son quickeneth (makes alive) whom he will.”

Romans 4:17, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth (makes alive) the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

And God also makes clear that this quickening (making alive) is by the Power of God the Holy Spirit for we also read in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Remember when Lazarus was called by Jesus to “Come forth“? Let’s take a close look at that account: In John 11:39-44, we read were Jesus comes to the grave of Lazarus where Lazarus’s sister (Martha) explained that it was too late to do anything, as her brother, Lazarus, was dead for four days laying in the grave and by now his body was so decayed that it would stink when they rolled back the stone over the grave.  Jesus was honored by God, The Father in Heaven, and then Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth” and Lazarus arose from the dead and came forth.  Did Lazarus exercise his “free will” to respond to Jesus’s call, or did God first draw him, and then enliven and empower him to respond.  How can a dead thing choose life?  You be the judge.

“Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Yes, this means there is “predestination” (another aspect of the real inconvenient truth).  Does that mean we should throw up our hands in despair as though we have no hope?  God Forbid!

Dealing with the Real “Inconvenient Truth”: Predestination Does not Inhibit Anyone from Crying Out to God for Mercy Through Jesus Christ

Nonetheless, the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that, according to the Bible, if anyone becomes convicted in his or her heart of his or her sins and hence his or her need of a Saviour…Who is, and can only be, Jesus Christ…then it is still possible for anyone to cry out to God for mercy and God will show mercy. In Mathew 7:7, Jesus says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

If anyone is at all concerned about the above and does not want to be one of those who God destroys, and would rather be a vessel of mercy (and honor), then that is already a great evidence that God is working in that person’s heart!  Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” and as additional comfort, Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Dear reader, if you are not already at peace with God through Jesus Christ, please just cry out to God in prayer and He will hear you and show you that mercy. But when He does show mercy, it will only be because of the inconvenient truth that it had always been God’s intention from the beginning, and even before the Universe was even created.  Ephesians 1:5 says regarding the believers… “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” and Ephesians 1:9 , “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” Finally, as Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write in 2 Thessalonians 1:11, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:”

PostScript: God ‘s Sovereignty knows no bounds. God even has the power to send evil spirits to serve His purposes

The following verses are hard to be understood if we fail to understand that God is Sovereign and in control of everything, and that we are continually (every moment) at His mercy alone, and that we should honor and worship Him appropriately. Remember, in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 we read, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Similarly, in Proverbs 21:1, we read how God extends His Sovereignty over the world… even among the kings of the earth, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Judges 9:23, “Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:

1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.

1 Samuel 16:15, “And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evilspirit (ra-ah) from God troubleth thee.

1 Samuel 16:16, “Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

1 Samuel 16:23, “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

1 Samuel 18:10, “And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

1 Samuel 19:9, “And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.

1 Kings 22:23, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

2 Chronicles 18:22, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.
Isaiah 54: 16 includes this passage where God is speaking and He says, “...I have created the waster to destroy.”  Pretty scary stuff, but it is entirely in keeping with what we read in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” and in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
As a final commentary on how Sovereign Almighty God really Is, please ponder these verses:
Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (and that “day of evil” is Judgment Day)
Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
And always remember that for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is this hope that we read in Psalm 121:7,8:

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

We may be tormented by evil and perplexed (think back to Joseph and his tribulations), but do not despair, because God will preserve us (the believers) in the end if we trust in Him.

2 Corinthians 4:8-11:

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Isn’t it interesting that, Matthew 6-13, when Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, He said thus:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask himAfter this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Postscript: 

We should also remember that God explicitly stated the following (via Moses in Deuteronomy 32:39-42 as part of what is referred to as the “Song of Moses”) where he makes clear that He is the only True God, and is completely Sovereign and He Alone has the power over life and death:

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword (Barak, in the original Hebrew), and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.”

 

 

 

 

“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;…” (2 Corinthians 5:11)

January 22, 2014

Bereansearching is simply intended to serve as a vehicle to lead the reader to safety and security from the just wrath of God for sin (one sin is enough to send any of us to Hell). Only through the substitutionary sacrifice for that sin by Jesus Christ , Who as God and Savior served as the supreme sacrificial Lamb of God, can we be free from that punishment. Hence this bereansearching blog is simply seeking to persuade all to put their trust in Jesus.  The detailed expositions of  a few portions of Old Testament scriptures provide the proofs that the Bible is the Word of God and is the vehicle that God uses to bring us to that Truth and the saving faith in that Truth. (Romans10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“)

For more on this singular motivation, please review: https://bereansearching.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/hello-world/

 

Psalm 19 as a Devotional…”Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)

January 22, 2014

Each and every day, we all need at least a few moments to step back, and take a deep breath, and remember Who God Is, and to meditate on His Word…and to remember that God is Truth, God’s Word is Truth, and that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and also The Word made flesh. That just as Psalm 23 asks God for “our daily bread,”  we also remember that The Daily Bread is Jesus.  The more we read and meditate on God’s Word the Bible, the more and more The Word, Jesus, becomes a Living part of us.

Remember when Jesus broke the bread at the last supper (1 Corinthians 11:24), how Jesus clearly identified the physical bread with Himself.  While that bread was instituted by Jesus as an earthly sacrament of remembrance, we know that Jesus is intimately identified with, and as, the Spiritual Bread, the Word (as found in the Bible).  Therefore when we read the Bible, we are being Spiritually fed by Jesus.

In another post in this bereansearching blog, Psalm 119 is discussed in terms of “Discernment.”  It was mentioned that there are several similarities with Psalm 19.  Please take a moment to read and reflect on this short, but extremely rich and fulfilling morsel of that Bread of Life:

Psalm 19

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19 can be viewed as a reflection and encapsulation of the whole Bible…much as we can see in Psalm 119

A useful companion study guide can be found at:http://www.shadowmountain.org/content/htmlimages/public/documents/general/smallgroups/2013sermonnotes/sermonnotes_131201.pdf

A Proper Reading of Ephesians Chapter 1

December 28, 2013

Jesus Christ is All in All…

It is sometimes easy to miss an important aspect of how God particularly crafted the first chapter of Ephesians.  If read casually, as even believing Christians sometimes can do, the chapter can seem like an ordinary narrative or simple prose.  However, if read with particular emphasis on the words highlighted below in Bold…an entirely different perspective can become clear.

Try this for yourself…Before proceeding any further, please read Ephesians Chapter 1 on  your own from your own Bible .   Think about what you have read and what was significant about the chapter and the impact it has had.

Next, read the chapter again as highlighted below…emphasizing the words marked in bold (say them to yourself in a louder tone or something akin to that).  May you be blessed by the process, and see clearly that Jesus Christ, Who is both God and yet a distinct part of the God Head, and God’s Will (The Will of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit) are the central theme of the whole chapter.  It is really a condensed version of the whole Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ.  Amazing!

Moreover there is absolutely no mention anywhere of any “free will” or “man’s will” in the process….but rather only God’s Will.   Note also the words that weren’t emphasized…”predestined” (twice), and “chosen” “before the foundation of the world…”

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: Another place where we can see Jesus, “the Son of God”!

December 3, 2013

The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: What was that all about?

Many people may have heard of the Old Testament story that comprises Daniel, chapter 3.  The story was about Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, the three “certain Jews” who had been given high official positions in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  In that account, we read how they refused to worship the false idol of gold that the king had set up, and as the king commanded.  They understood the full penalty for disobedience to that command.  They understood that they would be thrown into a fiery furnace.  But they miraculously survived!  Was this just a children’s bedtime story?

The answer is an emphatic NO! As we have already learned from numerous other Old Testament accounts, this not only was a true historical event, but it was crafted by God to convey an extremely important message, the good news of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ!  Moreover, there is another aspect of salvation that God paints with words in this particular account. For anyone to become saved…for believers to remain untouched by the fires of Hell… Jesus had to be there to endure those fires on behalf of all those who are counted among His sheep. If Jesus endured the fires of Hell, then the believers will never have to.  Those who are not faithful, spiritual “Jews” (believers), but instead are like the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar (who God uses in some cases to represent the devil), will be similarly slain by the fiery furnace (and the fires of hell that represent the second death are for eternity).

Had you ever heard that before?

If so, great!…but if not, please read on.

NOTE: Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were the assigned names (by the Babylonians) of three men whose original Hebrew names were:

  • Hananiah means “God who is gracious
  • Misha’el means “Who is like God?”, also means “to feed” or “to provide”—as in how a husband provides for his family
  • Azariah appropriately means “God has helped

We read at the beginning of Chapter 3 where King Nebuchadnezzar made a huge image of gold and decreed that all who heard the ”sound of the cornet, flute, harp …and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hat set up.

And then in verse 6 we read, “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

Then we read where “certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.”   There after, we read this complete account…

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Ordinarily, that would have been the end of the story.  But although Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to die for their faith in the true God of all creation, they didn’t die.  In fact, we read the following surprising and truly amazing account…

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the  Son of God.

WOW! You know Who the king actually saw don’t you? Yes, it was Jesus Christ walking in their midst.  Jesus is also the “angel” we see mentioned later (“messenger” in the original Hebrew) who made it possible for them to survive. After all, isn’t it true that only Jesus isthe Son of God”? (but Jesus was also a “man” born of the Virgin Mary).  See for example the first verses of the Book of Hebrews: 

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

There are many other unequivocal references to Jesus as the Son of God in the New Testament, but what is amazing is that this reference is in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament!  We have to ask the question, who do the Jews think was being described here?  There is not a single other reference in the Old Testament that specifically mentions “the Son of God”! (Here is a link to read all of the passages in the entire Bible: http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=%22the%20Son%20of%20God%22&version1=KJV&searchtype=all&limit=none&wholewordsonly=no)

So this is a VERY unique case!  But, let’s read on to the end of the chapter…

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

So having read this story, we note that the fire was so hot that the servants of the king who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace were themselves slain.  Moreover, not only did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survive, but their clothes did not even have the smell of smoke on them afterward!

What does this account remind us of? Remember the account of Joshua (Jesus in Greek, and meaning Savior in Hebrew) leading he people through the Jordan River to the “Promised Land”? As long as the priests held the Ark of the Covenant in the Jordan River, the people could pass through at flood stage and not even have the souls of their shoes get wet!  (they crossed on dry land) Familiar…yes!  Why is that?…It is because God repeats the same theme through many different allegories to paint new portraits of God’s magnificent Plan of Salvation through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.  Jesus paid the price for the believer’s salvation.  If Jesus, the Son of God, is there, we are safe, the fires (or floods) of Hell are no threat to our eternal souls.  The believers (typified by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or the Israelites)  can pass through because Jesus is there for them.

Let’s review Joshua Chapter 3:

1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.

4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

7 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.

10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.

12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.

13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;

15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)

16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

Then in Chapter 4:

14 On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

15 And the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying,

16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.

The Ark of the Covenant represented the Word of God (it held the Manna from Heaven in a jar (Jesus Is the Manna from Heaven) , and the Ten Commandments in stone (the Word of God, Who is Jesus), and Aaron’s rod that budded (indicating that a dead thing can come back to life). The people were led by Joshua (Jesus) and they all made it safe…EVERY one of them.

This is because Jesus, “the Son of God,” paid the full price to become the Savior of all those who would believe and trust in God to save them.  Jesus alone is the only One Who can save us from the fires or the floods that God uses to typify Hell, but Who, through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, allows us to pass completely untouched by either the fire or flood safely to the other side.

There is so much more to say here, but for now I’ll stop (this is another work in progress)

There is a useful primer on Hell that can be found here: https://truthingrace.com/2013/12/02/fire-fire/

For more background on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego…Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadrach,_Meshach,_and_Abednego

“Fatherless, Widow, and Stranger”: Spiritual Understanding of the Biblical Books of Esther and Ruth

September 21, 2011

“Fatherless, Widow, and Stranger”: 

A Spiritual Understanding of the Biblical Books of Esther and Ruth


It is far more than mere coincidence that the only two books in the entire Bible which are named after women, Esther and Ruth, also happen to provide historical accounts of women who are, respectively, “fatherless” (Esther) and “widows” (Ruth and Naomi, and Ruth was also a “stranger”). Why is that?  We can begin to find the answer by searching God’s word, the Bible, to find that in Psalms 68:5, God declares, “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, [is] God in his holy habitation.” Then in Jeremiah 49:11, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve [them] alive; and let thy widows trust in me.”  We also read in the New Testament in James 1:2, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Moreover, God classifies them together with the “stranger.”  In Deuteronomy 10:18, we read, “He (God) doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.”  and in Deuteronomy 27:19 we read, “Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.” 

In each of the two historical accounts provided in the books of Esther and Ruth, we will see God’s mercy and providence bestowed on those who would otherwise be entirely destitute and without any hope apart from God’s mercy alone.  Those two earthly, historically accurate, accounts of God’s mercy upon the destitute fatherless and widows (one, Ruth as a Moabitess,was also a stranger) were provided by God in the Books of Esther and Ruth to typify His magnificent salvation plan, in which God displays His eternal spiritual mercy, by grace alone, to destitute sinners who would otherwise be entirely without hope apart from the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Each book displays God’s mastery over time and space, involving supernatural ironies and challenges to faith, that glorify God in the process, and give us insights into Who God Is, and about His love for His saints, His Bride (the church), as made possible only through the intercessional sacrifice of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

A detailed exposition on the Book of Esther has already been produced that can be found here: https://bereansearching.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/an-exposition-of-the-book-of-esther/. In that exposition it is shown that Esther, as an otherwise destitute orphan, was established by God as a typological representation of the body of believers from throughout the world (both Jews and Gentiles) who would ultimately co-share in God’s Kingdom as the Bride of Jesus Christ.  Mordechai, Esther’s nearest living relative, served as a nurturing savior to Esther, and guided her and her people in a time of great affliction to safety from their mortal enemies.  Mordechai, who was eventually elevated to the right hand of the King in glory and honor, is shown in that exposition to have been clearly established by God as a typological representation of Jesus Christ.

But what about Ruth?  It has already been pointed out by another writer, Warren W Wiersbe,[1] that there are some amazing twists and counterpoints when the two books are viewed together from the purely historical perspective.  Wiersbe correctly points out in one example that first, “The Book of Ruth tells the story of a Gentile who married a Jew and became ancestress of the Messiah (Jesus Christ),” while, “The book of Esther introduces us to a Jewess who married a Gentile and was used of God to save the Jewish nation from destruction so that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) could be born.”

But what about the spiritual perspective as was already exposited for Esther?  Are there similar parallels that we might find in the Book of Ruth?  Indeed there are.

Dear reader, please read on. 

An Exposition of the Book of Ruth

(Another Book of Prophesy that Reveals God’s Magnificent Plan of Salvation

Through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ)

 The Book of Ruth is read every year to the assembled congregations of the Jewish people in their synagogues to the present day.  It is read as part of the celebration of the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot…The Feast of Weeks is the second of the three pilgrim festivals ordained in the Old Testament after Passover and before the end of the year Feast of Tabernacles). The Feast of Weeks is known by Christians as the Feast of Pentecost.  The feast is celebrated at the end of the barley harvest (or time of the “first fruits”) and it is the time of year when the most critical period in the Book of Ruth takes place, when Ruth meets Boaz, Ruth’s and Naomi’s kinsman-redeemer.  And just like the Book of Esther, the Book of Ruth has both an earthly (historical) and a Heavenly (spiritual) meaning, and hence it is also an historical “parable.”  While the Book of Ruth does provide an account of an actual period in history, it was nonetheless written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and it has been incorporated into God’s Word the Bible.  It is a vignette orchestrated by God in the first instance (historically) and written down as precisely crafted in the Bible in the second instance (spiritually) to fulfill God’s own purposes.

Perhaps the most important of God’s purposes was to convey in one short, four chapter, historical account some critical elements of His magnificent salvation plan.  The message of the Book of Ruth is the same Gospel message that can be found everywhere else in the Bible, as it focuses on the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The only difference is that, each time Jesus is interwoven and revealed as having been otherwise hidden in the Bible, we can learn more about Him and God’s Gospel plan through Him (which glorifies God in the process).  However, to truly “see” Jesus (to believe with our hearts and not just our minds), we must have our spiritual eyes opened by God.  Given that this can indeed be the case, then another purpose for God having provided us with the Book of Ruth is that it will edify and strengthen the faith of the saints (the believers).

So where do we “see” Jesus in the Book of Ruth?   As an introduction, let’s first briefly look at the seven named persons in the order of their appearance, and then the plotline:

1) Elimelech: The Jewish husband of Naomi, who’s name means, “my God is King” who led his family away from Bethlehem-Judah on a sojourn to Moab during the time of the Judges and who suffers an untimely death in Moab.

2) Naomi: The wife of Elimelech, and the mother of his two sons, who becomes a widow in Moab. A Jewish woman whose name means, “my God is Sweet(ness)”.

3) Mahlon: The first named son of Elimelech and Naomi, whose name means “sickness” who married Ruth, a Moabitess woman after his father died, and then himself suffers an untimely death.

4) Chilion: The second named son of Elimelech and Naomi, whose name means “consumption.” who married, Orpah, a Moabitess woman after his father died, and then himself also suffers an untimely death.

5) Orpah: The Moabitess wife (soon widowed) of Chilion, whose name means “her neck(?)”.

6) Ruth: The Moabitess wife (soon widowed) of Mahlon, whose name means, “satisfied.” (Ruth is also a “stranger” in Israel)

7) Boaz: The rich kinsman redeemer of Elimelech’s Jewish family born in Bethlehem, (the “House of Bread”), whose name means “in him is strength”, and who married Ruth (the then Moabitess widow), and who ultimately became the great grandfather of King David (and a direct line ancestor/progenitor (from David’s son Nathan through to Mary) of the Lord Jesus Christ).

8) The unnamed servant of Boaz who was set over the reapers: the person who served as headmaster of the maidens and who gave the account of Ruth’s actions to Boaz.

9) Obed: The son of Boaz and Ruth, whose name means “servant”, “worshipper”, or “follower”

Obed is representative of all of God’s children who become saved through the marriage of Jesus Christ and his church. All believers who are the children of God are also servants, worshippers, and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It could not be any other way. This name was no accident, as I trust that you have now learned that none of the names of persons recorded in the Bible were ever accidental or incidental.  They each carry an intended meaning that is carefully woven into the tapestry of God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan.

The Plot:

The story of Ruth begins in the day of the Judges, about the time of Eli, and just before Samuel during a time of famine in the land.  The famine evidently led Elimelech to choose to move to Moab in search of sustenance.  We read early in Chapter 1 that Elimelech soon died, and then his sons, Mahlon and Chilion, each took wives from the women from Moab (Ruth and Orpah respectively), which was another grievous sin in contradiction to God’s edict as stated in Deuteronomy, Chapter 23.  The next thing we read is that both of the two sons soon die and also leave behind no children (no heirs).

Naomi fully realized her state of destitution (according to the Bible, Naomi was a “widow indeed”, having been made bereft of both her husband and her children and any hope of livelihood) and decided to return to Bethlehem, because she had heard that, by the grace of God, there was again bread available.  The immediate reaction from her daughters-in-law, was that they would accompany her.  Nonetheless, Naomi warned them of the hazards and hardships with respect to finding a husband, etc. (e.g., as Moabites, they would be treated like lepers in Israel), and then she instructed her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their husbands to find “rest”.  Orpah went back, sadly, but Ruth stood fast and, despite one last admonition from Naomi, made it clear that she would stay with Naomi until death, and finished with this statement, “….thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

The two returned together to Bethlehem, and were greeted by the townspeople who wondered what had happened to Naomi (she was entirely alone except for Ruth “the Moabitess”, a “stranger” in the land of Israel).  Naomi made the point of saying that she had come back home out of the land of Moab entirely empty, and moreover, that they should no longer refer to her as Naomi (“sweet”) but rather Mara meaning “bitter” because, “the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”

In the second chapter of Ruth, we immediately learn of Naomi’s “kinsman” by marriage, Boaz, a “mighty man of wealth.”   And Ruth suggests that she go out humbly as a beggar to glean the fields of “corn” (likely the barley) owned by Boaz and she also describes her hope of finding “grace” in his eyes.  Indeed after working hard in the fields after humbly asking the headmaster of the reapers for permission to glean, Boaz comes from Bethlehem and takes notice of her.  He asks the details from the headmaster and then goes to Ruth and though she be a “stranger” in Israel, Boaz calls her “Daughter”, and tells her to stay close to his maiden reapers and not go to any other fields. He also tells Ruth that the men won’t harm her, and that she may have of the water that the men will bring for the reapers to drink.

Ruth responded by throwing herself to the ground and bowing before Boaz, and humbly asking him why he had shown her such grace, given that she was a stranger? Boaz responded with the statement that he was fully aware of the kindness she had shown to Naomi and the fact that she had left behind all her family to come to a live with people she had never known before. Boaz blesses her in the name of the God of Israel, under whose wings she had come to trust.

Ruth was overwhelmed and thanked Boaz and spoke of his amazing kindness in treating her as though she was one of his maiden reapers. Boaz added that at lunchtime she could sit and eat with the reapers as well. Later she did eat with the reapers and was full.  After she left to go back to gleaning, Boaz took the additional step of telling his men reapers not to hinder or prevent Ruth from gleaning in any way, and moreover to deliberately drop handfuls of harvested grain to the ground that Ruth could pick them up.  That evening, Ruth was able to have her apron filled with a large amount (an “ephah”) of barley.

Ruth took the barley home to Naomi, who after being filled, asked Ruth in whose fields she had gleaned and who it was that had shown her such kindness.  When Ruth told Naomi it was Boaz, Naomi immediately replied, Blessed be he of the LORD, and that Boaz had not forgotten the living and the dead, and that Boaz was a relative and hence a near kinsman (the same word as “redeemer”).  Naomi said that it was good that Ruth obey Boaz in all as he had told her to do.  Ruth did so.

In the third chapter, we learn that Naomi has a plan by which if Ruth properly prepares herself, and then goes into the threshing floor at night when Boaz is sleeping after a harvest dinner, she might make clear to Boaz that she is available to have as a wife by the rule of kinsmanship by laying at his feet.  Ruth followed Naomi’s instructions and, about midnight, Boaz was startled and woke up and asked who she was. She replied that she was Ruth and, in essence, asked him to do the service of a kinsman in marrying her.  Boaz immediately blessed her for her showing kindness to him (as he was evidently an old man) and that it was clear she was also interested in the duties of raising children in the name of Elimelech. He also said that everyone in Bethlehem knew that she was a virtuous woman (a requirement for a Godly wife according to Proverbs 12:4 and 34:10). While stating his willingness to fulfill her request, he cautioned her that there was a nearer kinsman who was entitled to a first right of refusal.  If that man accepted Ruth, then so be it, otherwise Boaz would be happy to marry Ruth. The chapter ends with Boaz providing her with six measures of barley as a gift for Naomi.  When Ruth brings the barley in the early morning to Naomi, Naomi instructs Ruth to be patient and sit still.  It is clear to Naomi what Boaz intends to do…and that Boaz will not rest until he finishes the business before the day ends.

In the fourth and last chapter, Boaz went to the gate of the city and calls to the man who is the nearest kinsman, and also calls ten elders of the city to be witnesses to the ensuing discussion, upon which the twelve men sat down together.  When the nearest kinsman is asked by Boaz if he would be willing to serve as a kinsman redeemer for the dead relative, Elimelech, and to purchase from the hand of Naomi some land in Judah previously belonging to Elimelech, the man said yes. But then Boaz said whenever the kinsman purchases the land, he must also fulfill the duties of the near kinsman redeemer and marry the widow of the line to raise up children in the name of the deceased.  That meant the kinsman must marry Ruth, “the Moabitess.”  That was the deal breaker, and the man ceremonially refused to accept his nearest kinsman opportunity and passed it to Boaz.  Boaz announced to all who were in hearing that this day he would serve as the kinsman redeemer for Elimelech and his two sons.  Moreover he made clear that they would all be witnesses to his intent to purchase as part of that inheritance, Ruth “the Moabitess” to be his wife, in order to raise up children as an inheritance in the name of the dead men. The people in the city rejoiced at this, and offered many blessings pertaining to the tribe of Judah.  Subsequently, Boaz and Ruth were married and had a son, named Obed.  Naomi was able to hold the baby boy in her arms.  The women proclaimed that Ruth was to Naomi better than seven sons. Obed grew up to become the father of Jesse, who became the father of King David…hence Ruth and Boaz were genealogical ancestors, through Davids’ son Nathan down to Mary, of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we compare this historical account with the rest of the Bible, we can find some amazing and unequivocal parallels between the following:

1) Boaz with the Lord Jesus Christ (as the Kinsman Redeemer of all believers, who otherwise, apart from God’s intervening grace, would have remained “widows indeed”)

2) Ruth “the Moabitess” with the body of believers (the remnant from the Gentile nations; as an in-grafted Jew of the eternal Israel) and hence representative of the church, the eternal bride of Jesus Christ. (Who would have otherwise remained destitute (estranged from a husband) and under the curse of God as a stranger in Israel, as God frequently reminds us through His repetitive use of the term “Moabitess”)

3) Naomi with the remnant of the Nation of Israel, who repent and come to God on His terms and who are saved by the grace of God to also have an equal inheritance in the eternal Israel, and hence who, by redemption, are also a full partaker in the eternal spiritual marriage with Jesus Christ.

4) The unnamed servant of Boaz (who was set as headmaster over the reapers) with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit provides a watch, and guidance, and intercession for the believers while they are here on Earth while they work in the fields of humankind.  The Holy Spirit Communes with Jesus and intercedes for the believers with God.  In Romans 8:26, we read, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

5) Obed, as the first born son of Boaz by Ruth, with all believers who are the result of the marriage between Jesus and His church, hence his name means “servant” and “worshipper.”

6) Elimelech, as a type, or figure, of Old Testament National Israel, which rejected the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, and who fell into spiritual adultery and sin as typified by his leaving Bethlehem and moving to Moab and with his sons going on to marry Moabitish women.

It is Jesus Christ who is the believers’ Kinsman Redeemer.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem (the “House of Bread”), and Jesus specifically announced that He was the “Bread of Life” in John 6:47.  Jesus established the New Covent symbols of bread and wine to represent His Body and blood.   It is Jesus of Whom we must be partakers to have eternal life.  Jesus is also the Mighty Man of Wealth.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem (just as Boaz was) and Jesus is described as the Lion of Judah…He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords…the cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him…He is the Creator of the Universe!  Jesus shows grace to destitute sinners as typified as widows throughout the Bible, who humbly come as supplicants for that grace.  Moreover the believers are chosen from a remnant of the world, both Jew and Gentile, and are viewed by God as true “Jews” (the true believers in Christ, the Messiah, please see Romans 2:28-29) and will find rest in Him.  We also know that the believers are referred to throughout the Bible as the Bride of Christ (and Jesus Christ is also God).  That bride is described in the Bible with the attributes ascribed to Ruth (e.g., virtuous).  Jesus Christ imputes His righteousness to sinful mankind and in God’s sight all the believers become virtuous as described in Proverbs 31:10.

Biblical Validation of the Ruth Exposition: Taking a Closer Look by Expository Reading

The preceding review was not written with any presumption that this author understands every nuance of the Book of Ruth.  No one (other than God Himself) can ever claim the ability to plumb the depths of the riches of God’s word, the Bible.  However, this writer is confident that if we humbly, faithfully, approach the Bible with no other pre-suppositions than that God is the sole author of the Bible, then we can begin to see by that faith (albeit as through a glass darkly) the truths that God has hidden within His word.  As we have already learned, there is much more to the Bible than meets the “physical” eye, and it’s not just an intellectual exercise. The Bible itself uses such terms such as “mystery” and “dark sayings” to describe how it has been uniquely crafted by God in a magnificent, and yes, even a mysterious way, whereby He has deliberately veiled or hidden the true spiritual meanings of its passages from those whom He has not given the “spiritual eyes and ears.”  The following is this writer’s best effort to explain that hidden truth.

Chapter 1: As was stated earlier, the story of Ruth took place in the day of the Judges, about the time of Eli, and just before Samuel during a time of famine in the land.  The famine evidently led Elimelech to choose to move to Moab in search of sustenance.  It would seem then that Elimelech had made a particularly bad decision in response to the famine that God had sent.  Elimelech had turned his back on the essence of all true sustenance, the House of Bread, and instead turned to the world as is typified by Moab.  And God uses famines as punishment for His people when they turn from Him and put His words behind them. Moreover, and more importantly, famine is used by God to represent something else “spiritually.”  We read in Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:”. When we fail to seek the Lord first, and fail to trust in Him alone, and instead look to the world for our help in times of trouble; God will send a famine of the hearing of His Word (as is found in the Bible) and we will suffer spiritually as a result.

Moreover Moab was a foreign territory that was inhabited by a people whom God had cursed, as we read in:

“Deuteronomy 23:3-6, “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:  Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee. Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.”  (Remember also that both Moab and Ammon were the sons of Lot, after his wife became a pillar of salt during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Lot’s Daughters assumed that they were the only people left on the earth, and so they decided to get their father drunk so they could lie with him and conceive children by him…Moab and Ammon were the result of those incestuous acts.  See Genesis 19:30-38). [SIDE NOTE: It is also interesting that if one does a careful review of the geneology from Jacob (who was the son of Isaac, and who was also the same generation as Moab, the son of Lot, and Isaac’s Cousin) down to Boaz, the number of generations can be shown to be nine (see Mathew Chapter 1: 2-5 and Mark 3:32-34).  However, Ruth was young enough to be the daughter of Boaz, so she would have been of the next generation…the tenth generation.  It would therefore seem that God was showing us that His curse on Moab stopped with Ruth’s generation.]

We read early in Chapter 1 that Elimelech soon died, and then his sons each took wives from the women from Moab (Ruth and Orpah respectively), which was another grievous sin in contradiction to God’s edict as stated in Deuteronomy, Chapter 23.  The next thing we read is that both of the two sons soon die and also leave behind no children (no heirs).

Naomi fully realized her state of destitution (according to the Bible, Naomi was a “widow indeed”, having been made bereft of both her husband and her children and any hope of livelihood) and decided to return to Bethlehem, because she “had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.”  The immediate reaction from her daughters-in-law, “Surely, we will return with thee unto thy people.”  Nonetheless, Naomi warned them of the hazards and hardships with respect to finding a husband, etc. (e.g., as Moabites, they would be treated like lepers in Israel), and then she instructed her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their husbands to find “rest”.  Orpah went back, sadly, but Ruth stood fast and, despite one last admonition from Naomi, said,  “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

After the death of the Naomi’s husband and two sons, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem because she had heard of God’s showing mercy to His people and His provision of bread to them there.  Initially, the daughters-in-law both sought to accompany Naomi back to her people in Bethlehem.  Naomi is recorded as having nonetheless instructed her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, to return to the homes of their husbands to find “rest”.   This is particularly significant because Naomi did not use any other word other than “rest”.  She was uttering a biblical, spiritual, truism. Isn’t it to the house of Jesus that we go if we truly seek rest from both our sins and our enemies?  Absolutely!  Remember how Jesus said, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Naomi could have used other language… but she didn’t.  God the Holy Spirit moved Naomi to say “rest” so that it would harmonize with the rest of this historical parable (and the rest of the Bible) to convey important spiritual truths.

But there is another important spiritual aspect of this admonition by Naomi.  In Luke 14:25-27, we read that great multitudes began to follow Jesus Christ and then Jesus turned and gave them a similar admonition, “and there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

 Many people hear the gospel call and are intrigued, at least initially.  However, once it becomes clear that the true nature of the gospel is such that we are called upon to make a choice, to follow Jesus and abandon all else: friends, family, and self…then the number of followers dwindles quickly and most go back to the enticements of their old world. We are instructed to put God first in our lives as stated in Matthew, 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…” We must be willing to put all cherished worldly things and sins into the trash bin. We must truly repent (turn back to God, rather than stay fixated on the enticements of the world) and not go backward.  We must be fully committed to serving God in order to achieve eternal life. “Many are called but few are chosen.”(Matthew 22:14)

Ruth typifies those who recognize their destitution and desperate need of finding the bread of life by “grace”, which is the underserved favor of God.  The two, Naomi and Ruth, returned together to Bethlehem, and were greeted by the townspeople who wondered what had happened to Naomi (she was entirely alone, except for “Ruth the Moabitess”).  Naomi made the point of saying that she had come back home out of the land of Moab entirely empty, and moreover, that they should no longer refer to her as Naomi, meaning “sweet”, but rather Mara, meaning “bitter” because, “the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”  It is no accident that Mara is the same as Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the New Testament.

The final key piece of information provided is that this was the time of the beginning of the barley harvest (which not coincidentally happens to also be the same time as Pentecost, the Feast of First Fruits, which was also when the New Testament church was instituted with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit).

Chapter 2: In the second chapter of Ruth, we immediately learn of Naomi’s “kinsman” by marriage, Boaz, a “mighty man of wealth.”   And Ruth suggests that she go out humbly as a beggar to glean the fields of “corn” (likely the barley) owned by Boaz and she also describes her hope of finding “grace” in his eyes.  But then we are led to believe that by “happenstance” she came into the fields of Boaz…but the reality is that it was in God’s plan and that it is now clear that this was exactly as God purposed (e.g., In John 6:44, Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:”).  Next we see that Boaz “came from Bethlehem.”   Next we read that Boaz greets the reapers with “The LORD be with you” and the reapers respond with “The LORD bless thee.

When Boaz notices Ruth, and then asks the reapers this question, “Whose damsel is this?” The person in charge of the reapers responded, “…It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.” The key points here are that the servant reminds us quickly, twice, that Ruth is a “Moabitess”…a person who is an outcast, and from a God cursed people.  We, by nature, are all God cursed people.  We are all descended from Adam, but who by God’s grace alone, like Ruth, can find salvation through the intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ as typified here by Boaz as our Kinsman Redeemer.  Also it was made clear that she was a diligent worker and worked in the fields all day as a gleaner.

With respect to “gleaning”, God set down specific laws as found in the following Bible verses:

Leviticus 19:9&10, “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God.”

Leviticus 23:22 “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God.”

Moreover, in Deuteronomy 24:17-21 we read,  “Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge: But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing. When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.”

This is a picture of the fact that we (who have the gospel of salvations through Jesus Christ (and the fruit of the blessings of God) because He has saved us) are to have a concern for those who are still aliens, as orphans and widows, and to provide the necessary spiritual food for those who are without but come seeking for spiritual nourishment.

An interesting parallel can be found in Matthew Chapter 15 where we read in verses 22-28: “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”  There we see an unsaved person, from a Gentile nation, outside of the people of God (corporately speaking), call upon Jesus as “Lord” and admit that she is no better than a dog, but yet asks if it might be that she (like a dog) might glean some crumbs from her Master’s table. And Jesus showed her grace. Like Ruth, we see another picture of someone who humbly gleans of the spiritual bread to become born again by the grace of God who would have otherwise remained a stranger, orphan, or widow.

Boaz came from Bethlehem just as Jesus came from Bethlehem.  Boaz was of the Tribe of Judah, just like Jesus.  Boaz said, “The LORD be with you,” to the reapers, and the reapers responded with “The LORD bless thee.”  Isn’t this exactly what God says to the believers the reapers in the world?  See for example, in Luke 10:2 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest,” …However we also know that in the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew 13:39, Jesus said, “the reapers are the angels.” The fact is that “angels” in the original Greek text can also be interpreted as “messengers,” and both the angels of God (from Heaven) and the believers on earth are both considered as being God’s “messengers”.   And don’t we say with all our heart like the Psalmist of the Old Testament, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, [bless] his holy name.”?  Of course we do if we are believers and therefore among God’s reapers and messengers.

In verse…. He knows us Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Ruth was a “stranger”, but Boaz called her, “My Daughter”!

In Chapter 8, beginning at verse 1, we read, “Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

Imagine that! Boaz knew he was speaking to a “Moabitess”, a widow and a stranger, and yet he showed loving kindness to her, to the point of calling her his daughter!  Does this sound at all familiar?  It should, because that is exactly how God views His elect.  While we were yet strangers, through Jesus’s intercession, we become the children of God.   This is what we read in Ephesians 2:19, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”

(Still a work in progress)

 Conclusions

We also see that God has provided some interesting factual insights regarding Himself in the Book of Ruth.  We can see that Jesus was descended (through Mary’s line through David, See Mathew 6:5) via an incestuous relationship (through Ruth, hence Moab, hence Lot with Lot’s daughter).  We are also reminded of another somewhat seamy point when we are provided this verse, “And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.” Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah and she played the harlot (prostitute) to entice Judah in order to conceive Pharez by him. Moreover, the mother of Boaz (Booz in the New Testament) was named Rahab (Rachab in the New Tetament), and Rahab is the name of a harlot whom Joshua (Jesus) saved, when the city of Jericho was destroyed, see: Joshua 6:17. Even David was both an adulterer and murderer. These sordid historical issues were all included in the Bible by God deliberately to show us how God was willing to clearly and unequivocally associate Himself with sinful mankind from every possible perspective (and yet he Himself knew no sin, 2 Corinthians 5:21) in order to take the believers’ places on the cross and for what would have otherwise been an eternity in Hell.  Jesus came to save sinners.


[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Committed: An Old Testament Study- Ruth And Esther, SP Publications, Inc, 1993 (ISBN 1-56476-067-7)

Psalm 119 and Discernment

September 21, 2011

Discernment and Psalm 119:

In the past year or so a number of  “Psalm 119 Discernment ” conferences have been held and continue to be held according to this website:  http://www.wretchedradio.com/wretched-events.cfm

On the home page we find this verse: Psalms 119:15-16, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.  I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

With that as our starting point, let’s take a brief look at a just a few verses of Psalm “119” (the longest chapter in the bible) to see what we might discern from them.  One thing we  should all notice immediately is that nearly every single verse has some direct reference to God’s law, statutes, precepts, commandments, judgments, testimonies, way(s), and word(s).  This is what makes this chapter unique! (although interestingly, and not by coincidence, Chapter “19” comes the closest to it…please take a look)

It is clear that from beginning to end, from A to Z, chapter 119 is all about God’ s Word, and that can only mean that ultimately, spiritually, it is all about Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

In Revelation we read four times (1:8, 1:11, 21:6, 22:13) that Jesus says,

I am ALPHA AND OMEGA, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”   Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and equivalent to the Hebrew first and last letters of the alphabet,  Aleph and Tav (tau) in the Old Testament that demarcate the beginning and end of Psalm 119.  We also know that Jesus is the Word made flesh…

John 1:14, And the Word was made 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.”  Therefore if we really use “discernment” with respect to Psalm 119, we can see Jesus is in every verse of Psalm 119.  The Word (hence Jesus) is described in almost each and every verse of Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, as the following: Word, Testimonies, Precepts, Law, Commandments, Judgment(s), Statutes, Ways (or The Way), Ordinances. 

Psalm 119:11, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

As True Christians, We all want to have Jesus hidden in our hearts by reading and pondering God’s Word, the Bible, in our hearts.

Psalm 119:18  “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law

We should all pray that God gives us the discernment to see Jesus wondrously interwoven throughout the whole Bible.

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Jesus in the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:16), and we should all hope that Jesus shines His Light into our life through the reading and hearing of His Word, the Bible. 

What have you discerned from Psalm 119?