Friday, July 31, 2015

A Done Deal

O. T. #569  "A Done Deal"
July 30, 2015
Ruth 4-Part 2
Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.
Ruth 4:10


Boaz kept his word and sought Ruth's kinsman in the city of Bethlehem. He gave the nearer of kin opportunity to redeem Elimilech's property and family, but the guy rejected the offer. As a result, the man took off his shoe and gave it to Boaz in the presence of 10 witnesses.  It was a done deal. Then Boaz announced that he would be the kinsman-redeemer of Naomi's deceased husband and two sons, buying her land and marrying Ruth so their son could carry on the Jewish line, which had temporarily been cut off by death.

A formal contract was then sealed in the customary fashion: the relative removed his sandal and gave it to Boaz (verse 8), in effect granting Boaz the right to stand in his stead as goel for Ruth and Naomi. (MacArthur)

The people and those 10 witnesses confirmed the transaction. They even pronounced a blessing on Boaz and his bride-to-be. They were saying may the Lord make you fruitful like Rachel, Leah, who were mothers of the tribes of Jacob, and Pharez was born to Judah and a his daughter in law Tamar, a Canaanite girl in the line of Jesus' ancestry (Gen. 38). The descendants of Perez made Judah a prominent tribe. Boaz, David, and all the Judean kings were descendants of Perez.

Do we trust the Lord to work out our situation according to His purpose? Remember, Naomi told Ruth to sit still for Boaz would handle the matter.


No word about the wedding of Ruth and Boaz is recorded. He took her and she was his wife. (verse 13)
Ruth's waiting, sitting still, was worth it. This couple was blessed with a child, who was named Obed, meaning worshiper, as in Obadiah, derived from the Hebrew word 'ebed meaning servant.

The one who trusts will never be dismayed. Isaiah 28:16

The bitter Mara became blessed Naomi, once again. Ruth was better to Naomi than 7 sons, the women noted.
How good the Lord God is to us! Do we acknowledge it?


Let the past remain in the past. Look to today and tomorrow with faith.

Do what I can, trusting the Lord to do His will.

Wait for His timing.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

To Purchase or Not to Purchase

O. T. #568  "To Purchase or Not to Purchase"
July 30, 2015
Ruth 4
If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it besides thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. Ruth 4:4b


Have you ever been in dilemma of whether to purchase an item or not to purchase an item. There are times that it can be a difficult decision. That is especially true whenever it is a high-priced item, such as a new car or house or a business investment. Such was the case when we purchased our business, we considered the pros and cons for a while. Boaz made a decision to purchase something, rather quickly. Shall we find out the results?

Our scenery changes again to the city of Bethlehem. We left Ruth sitting still and drawing strength from God, as we should do at times (Ex. 14:13; Ps. 46:10). The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still. What comforting and encouraging words.

As Boaz waited to discern God's will, Naomi and Ruth waited to discover it. (D. Jeremiah)

Boaz is true to his word spoken to Ruth-he would seek her kinsman that morning. So Boaz left the threshing floor to sit at the city gate so he could get 10 witnesses to his ordeal. These 10 men served as official witnesses and a quorum necessary for Jewish transactions.

Then this nameless kinsman, who was a relative of Elimelech, Ruth's deceased father in law, passed closely and Boaz grabbed him, pushed him down to sit with the group, well maybe not that dramatic.
Then Boaz began to inform this kinsman that Naomi selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's. (This nameless man may have been Elimech's brother and Boaz may have been his cousin. We aren't told for sure.) 

Selleth, in the Hebrew language, refers to sell, as merchandise, a daughter in marriage, into slavery; to surrender. (Strong's Concordance)
Here are some views on this word:
Falwell explains that selleth, in this form of the Hebrew verb is in the perfect tense and normally describes completed action.
MacDonald's opinion is that Naomi had already sold the land upon her return, and now it had to be redeemed fro the purchaser.
Morris views the verb form as a "perfect of certain," indicating that Naomi is imminently about to sell the property, which either of them may buy. He notes that in verse 5 the sale is still viewed as future.

Boaz told the kinsman:
  • to redeem the land, but it he chose not to do so, tell Boaz so he could redeem it.
  • There is no other relative to redeem it.
  • Buy it back in the presence of these witnesses.
  • On the day he buys the land from Naomi, he must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.
The Jeremiah Study Bible states:
To redeem during the period of the judges had three meanings:
  1. to free from bondage (Lev. 25:47,48),
  2. from poverty (Lev. 25:25),
  3. or from death (in the case of a widow who needed an heir to carry on the family line and provide for her (Deut. 25:5,6). Boaz redeemed Ruth and Naomi in all three ways, portraying the redemption Jesus offers from slavery to sin, poverty of spirit, and the consequences of death.
Jesus is our Kinsman-Redeemer. He purchased our salvation so we would not have to pay for our sins. Sin must be paid for with a blood sacrifice, as Jesus did. Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins and be your Savior? Today is a perfect do to do so.


What was the answer of the kinsman? He could not redeem it for himself, lest he ruin his own inheritance. He told Boaz to redeem his right for him. (The kinsman would never actually own the land itself, but would actually hold it in trust for the son of Ruth in order to raise up the name of the dead.) The man would have nothing to gain by the purchase. He may have had to invest some of his own estate to do so. Perhaps it was because Ruth was a Moabitess. We aren't told the reason for the decline.

During this time in history, to remove one's sandal and give it to another confirmed a transaction of property from one to another. The kinsman was indicating that he would no longer step foot on Boaz's property or your belongings (Deut. 25:8-10). The relative transferred his right to all that was Elimelech's, Chilion's, and Mahlon's, both the land and marriage to Ruth.

Boaz exercised his legal option to redeem both the land and Ruth before appropriate witnesses. (MacArthur) verse 9

Aren't Boaz and Ruth a beautiful picture of the love of Christ for His Gentile bride-the church? Boaz must love her with pure grace and undeserved favor. He extends the opportunity of redemption because of his loving kindness.


Thank and praise Jesus for being my Redeemer.

Share with others His redemption.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sit Still

O. T. #567  "Sit Still"
July 29, 2015
Ruth 3-Part 2
Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day. Ruth 3:18


Have you ever been told to sit still and wait? There have been times I had to wait-9 months on a baby to arrive, hours for test results at a hospital, days for an interview result, decisions of others. I am sure you have too. Waiting is one of the hardest things for me to do. Yesterday I waited 2 hours at the hospital for results of blood work in the ER so the doctor would know what to give me to better my condition. Thankfully, I only had to drink some awful tasting potassium and not be put into the hospital like back in November. (Although, no one had to tell me to sit still for I felt so badly that I slept between nurse visits that I slept.)
Yet, Ruth only had to sit still and wait for a day for her results.

She was proposing. What did he say?
We left Ruth, who had made her best appearance, lying at the feet of Boaz and uncovering his feet, as a way of proposing marriage, yet in not so many words. If he put his robe over her and agreed to be her kinsman-redeemer, then she knew he accepted. Not only was he willing to redeem Ruth, but Boaz was in a position to do so. This kind bachelor was a close relative of Ruth's father in law (Perhaps a nephew), wealth enough to purchase back land sold in hard economic times, so he could redeem the family name. All along, perhaps a couple of weeks, Naomi and Ruth assumed that Boaz was their closest relative.

Ruth did not commit any immorality. Boaz was a man of valor (2:1) and concerned that there be no appearance of evil concerning the matter. The people knew Ruth to be a woman of virtue, so he insisted she wait until morning to return home. (Women of the night would be about in the streets and Boaz was even reluctant to escort her home.)

Are we careful with our actions so they are above reproach? Now days, women have to be careful  about being alone with men and vice versa, lest wrong talk start.


Come to think of it, Boaz must have considered marrying Ruth since his answer shows he had been thinking about it.
Boaz agreed that he was Ruth's kinsman, but there was one man nearer relative, who had the first right to take her as his wife than he. Boaz promised Ruth that he would find out if the man was interested in being her kinsman-redeemer. If he choose not to, then Boaz could and would marry Ruth.

I am not so sure Ruth was able to sleep the rest of the night. Wouldn't she be too excited? Perhaps silently making wedding plans instead of sleeping? Scripture does not say that, though. In the morning, Ruth returned to Naomi with barley in her apron and good news, exciting news for the both of them.

Naomi knew this man's character would not let him rest until he finished the thing that day. (verse 18) Boaz would keep his word to Ruth. Obviously, he had a reputation of such. The decision was delayed. Would Ruth marry another man or would she marry Boaz? Stay tuned for the answer.

What advice did Naomi give to Ruth now? SIT STILL. Wait until you know how it works out or what happens. Sit still? Who could do that at a time like this? Her man would go to whatever lengths necessary for the opportunity to marry Ruth.

Do others see us as one who does what we say we will do? It should be high on our priority list, shouldn't it? Are we building our reputation for integrity, one act at a time?


Watch my actions for others are watching me.

Keep my word.

Trust in God's will and timing for my answered prayers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Matchmaker Mother In Law

O. T. # 566  "Matchmaker Mother In Law"
July 28, 2015
Ruth 3
Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? And now...   Ruth 3:1-2a


Here comes the third change of scenery. There was Moab, the fields of Bethlehem, and now the threshing floor of Boaz. We don't know how much time lapsed between chapters 2 and 3.

Did Naomi see it her duty as Ruth's mother in law, taking on the role of her mother, to seek a long-term security for this faithful Moabite girl?
In verse 1, the term rest seems to be equivalent to marriage, indicating that if Ruth were to marry Boaz she could cease from her labors as a poor gleaner in the fields. (Falwell)

Keep in mind that in that culture, arranged marriages were the norm. This meant Naomi had her work cut out for her, arranging a marriage between Ruth and Boaz. It is suggested that Boaz was an older eligible bachelor that qualified as Ruth's kinsman-redeemer, a near relative of Naomi's deseased husband Elimelech.

At any rate, Naomi has a talk with Ruth, revealing her plan to make sure she is well provided for and a  home:
  • Boaz would be winnowing (throwing the whole grain in the air and allowing the wind to carry away the chaff, a method of separating the usable grain, usually in the late afternoon when Mediterranean winds were stronger, so sifting and bagging grain lasted into the night) barley that night in the threshingfloor (a large open area of hard ground or stone).
  • Ruth had to get ready quickly because Naomi indicated that tonight is the night (to find out if Boaz was interested in Ruth).
  • Specific instructions given were for Ruth to wash herself, anoint herself with perfume (so she didn't smell like a sweaty worker from the field and the hot sun), put on her best clothes.
  • Then quietly get herself down to the threshingfloor, waiting inconspicuously until Boaz had eaten and drank (a refreshed man with a full stomach is more likely to listen to a woman's request).
  • When he lies down, note the place where Boaz is lying (so she doesn't go to the wrong man).
  • Uncover his feet, slightly pull back the edge of Boaz's robe (normal attire), then request him to spread the robe (literally wing) over her. This act implied that Ruth was proposing marriage to Boaz, asking that she be taken into his family as his wife, coming under his protection.
Every indication in the story certainly emphasizes that there was nothing immodest or questionable about this practice, since the character of both Ruth and Boaz is above reproach throughout the entire account. (Falwell)

The scheme did not involve any real unrighteousness or indecency. Naomi would not have asked Ruth to compromise her virtue or relinquish godly modesty. (MacArthur)

Ruth's obedience was risky. Boaz could have rejected Ruth's offer.

Are the things we do above reproach? Do we consider how an action may be perceived by an onlooker?


So Ruth heeded Naomi's plan. After the preparation of herself, Ruth went to the place where she would find Boaz had worked into the night. Ruth came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. (verse 7) Boaz must have been so worn out from the work that he did not notice her until he awakened at midnight and was startled to find a woman lying at his feet.

Ruth removed her mourning clothes and put on her morning clothes. She left behind the hopelessness and moved toward hope.

Boaz asked who she was, to which Ruth replied  and requested Boaz to take her under his wing, spread his garment over her, since he was her kinsman-redeemer. This was a marriage proposal. We will discuss the outcome next time.

Jesus Christ came to earth to redeem us from our sins. He purchased us as His own possession (1Peter 1:18-19). This guarantees our eternity with Him in heaven.

You may not be up to a midnight walk to a threshing floor, remember, what Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthian church, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has past, the new has come!


Keep my integrity when dealing with people.

Let go of the past and look to the future.

Share my Kinsman-Redeemer's love and wealth with others.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Widow Meets Her Man, a Kinsman-Redeemer

O. T. #565  "A Widow Meets Her Man, a Kinsman-Redeemer"
July 27, 2015
Ruth 2-Part 5
And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day?
Ruth 2:19a


My senior year in high school was going to be an exciting time, with the future only months down the road. Little did I know that my life was soon to take a turn in the road. I rarely dated the guys I went to school with 11 years. I knew them. But then there was this cute new guy that caught my eye. He often sat on the furnace watching the Ping-Pong game happening at lunchtime. I was curious about him. We didn't have any classes together, so I had to gather my information from friends.
I arranged a double date with my best girlfriend and his friend and HIM. That was all it took, one date. I met my man! Oh, he stole my heart. The rest is history-we married a year later. (Let me add that I had been praying for a godly man to be my husband before meeting him. We felt this was God's will for our lives.) We have been married almost 43 years.
I wonder if Ruth suspected that she would meet her man the morning she left to work in the field.

Here was a foreign, young, childless widow woman who went into a field to gather some grain for her mother in law, Naomi, and herself to eat. Obviously Ruth had become a believer in Israel's God somewhere along the way. She ended up in Boaz's field.(The Lord lead her steps there.) He was the land owner, noticed a stranger working in his field, had a conversation with her, and invited Ruth to join him for lunch. Because Boaz instructed his men of drop extra grain for Ruth to gather, she took home a half a bushel of barley, about a 5 day's supply of food.

We pick up the story in verse 18. What happened when Ruth returns home?
  • Ruth brought Naomi leftovers of roasted grain (corn) from her lunch with Boaz. I wonder if she ate while Ruth told her about the day.
  • Naomi was curious as to which field Ruth had gleaned. It turned out to be Boaz's field.
  • Naomi blessed the man who took notice of Ruth.  Wait a minute. Is this the same woman who called herself Mara, meaning bitter, feeling God had dealt bitterly with her and with just cause of such? She perked up, didn't she?
  • Naomi was surprised by the food, the leftovers, and the kindness of a kinsman named Boaz. Naomi identifies Boaz as being a near kin and one of their kinsmen.
In the Hebrew language, kin means relation; kinsmen refers to be the next of kin, (and as such to buy back a relative's property, marry his widow, etc.); ransom; redeemer.

The MacArthur Bible Commentary feeds us more information:
The great kinsman-redeemer theme of Ruth begins here. A close relative could redeem
  1. a family member sold into slavery (Lev. 25:47-49)
  2. land which needed to be sold under economic hardship (Lev. 25:23-28), and/or
  3. the family name by virtue of a levirate marriage (Deut. 25:5-10).
This earthly custom pictures the reality of God the Redeemer dong a great work by reclaiming those who needed to be spiritually redeemed out of slavery to sin (Ps. 107:2; Is. 62:12). Thus, Boaz pictures Christ who, as a Brother (Heb. 2:17), redeemed those who
  1. were slaves to sin (Rom. 6:15-18),
  2. had lost all earthly possessions/privilege in the Fall (Gen. 3:17-19),
  3. had been alienated by sin from God (2 Cor. 5:18-21).
Boaz stands in the direct line of Christ (Matt. 1:5). Naomi's human emptiness begins to be refilled by the Lord. Her night of earthly doubt has been broken by the dawning of new hope (Rom. 8:28-29).

Have you surrendered to Jesus as your Kinsmen-Redeemer? He is offering all to you, dear one.


Boaz was one of the closest relatives of Elimelech in the line of redemption. This line of relationship included brothers, then uncles, then male cousins. (Falwell)

We aren't told how Boaz was related to Naomi's late husband, just that he was. Does it rally matter anyway? (The culture was different in Biblical times, Israelites married within their nationality, as God instructed, so their bloodline would remain pure. However, it was not always the case, as Ruth and Boaz.)

In verse 23, Naomi encourages Ruth to keep gleaning in Boaz's field with the maidens until the end of the barley and wheat harvest.

This would have been a period of about two months of intense labor, since the barley harvest began mid-April and the wheat harvest extended to mid-June. It usually coincided with the 7 weeks between Passover and the Feast of Weeks, Pentecost. (MacArthur)

Less than 7 weeks to prepare for a wedding? That is not much time, today. In our story, there is more that must take place before the wedding is even announced.

Isn't this a beautiful story, ladies? We don't have to buy romance books, just read the Bible. Yet, this actually happened. Such loving kindness is demonstrated by Boaz, in the same way God show us.
Hold out your apron and He will fill it.


Remain faithful to what God has called me to be and do for His glory.

Leave the past behind, look to the future trusting God.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Extraordinary Dinner Invitation

O. T. #564  "Extraordinary Dinner Invitation"
July 24, 2015
Ruth 2-Part 4
... at mealtime come thou hither and eat...  Ruth 2:14


We have eaten with  recognizable leaders of our nation and denomination. However, we were in the same room, not sitting at the same table. Of course, the invitations which we received were generic and sent to several others. I like to think we were special guests, though. In our story, Ruth gets an extraordinary dinner invitation. Read on to find out from whom.

During the conversation between Ruth and Boaz, she asked that she continue to find favor in his eyes, then she recognized his showing comfort to her, and spoken kindly to her as to his servant girls. (verse 13)


We don't know how much time lapsed between verses 13 and 14.

Kelly Minter describes Boaz's  lunch invitation for Ruth to join him as extraordinary and that it exceeded what the law required. Ruth found herself sitting at Boaz's table, not among the gleaners, but among the reapers. She continues to say that being invited "to the table" represented belonging, acceptance, conversation, nourishment, and safety.

Boaz continued to show his kindness toward Ruth by:
  • inviting Ruth to eat lunch of bread dipped in wine vinegar with him. Vinegar was wine mixed with oil to quench thirst.
  • instructing his men to leave stalks of grain for her to gather, while not embarrassing her.
How much one should feel valued when invited to someone's table. Especially when that someone is highly esteemed as Boaz.

In Liberty Bible Commentary, Falwell tells us:
Not only is Boaz a type of Christ, the bridegroom from Bethlehem, but Ruth is a type of the church, the undeserving gentile bride, who had nothing with which to commend herself to her master.

Jesus invites us strangers, foreigners, Gentiles to His banqueting table where we can feast upon  His salvation, righteousness, kindness, love, and Word. There is nothing we can do to merit such an invitation. Through humility we can accept this honor to become His child and sit at His table. There we spiritually eat the Master's manna from heaven, served by the Savior. How glorious is it to experience now and in our future heaven. We can come as we are, since He will provide our white robes, cleansed by Jesus' blood. Thank You Lord!

Ruth ended up with an ephah of barley, which would be half a bushel weighing 30-40 pounds. It would have been enough to support Naomi and Ruth for five days of food. Verse 18 tells us that Ruth took it to share with Naomi.
Doesn't the Lord give up exceedingly abundantly above all that we think and ask?
Are we grateful? Do we recognize that all we have is provided by God? Wow! Such grace and mercy! So we share the blessings we have with others?

I continue to eat from His Majesty's table of grace and mercy as I read His Word. Will you join me as I share from His grain filling my soul? We won't go away with a hungry or thirsty soul.


Drop that pride and come humbly and needy to Jesus' table.

Allow Him to fill my soul with His Words of love and kindness.

Share with others so they too can be filled.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

O. T. #563  "Word Gets Around"
July 23, 2015
Ruth 2-Part 3
And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done...
Ruth 2:11


She found grace in his eyes, alright. He had already heard about the young widowed daughter in law of Naomi's who came back with her from Moab. Now he saw her in his field, working. Was it love-at-first-sight? Ruth had every reason to think Boaz might reject her but had every hope that he would accept her.
What was being said around town about this young woman named Ruth, the talk of the town?
  • The good things she had done, since her husband's death, for Naomi.
  • She left her family and homeland to live with a people unknown to her before.
Now Ruth was working her fingers to the bone as an incredibly hard worker to provide food for herself and Naomi by picking up corn in Boaz's field. Her reputation of being a hard-working, kind, loving, faithful and brave person proceeded her.

How do we react when others are talking about us? Perhaps it is truth or false words, good or bad, hurtful or encouraging words. Are we going to keep on going in spite of whatever is being said? Do we work hard to honor the Lord Jesus in our life? Do others see Him in us? What kind of reputation do we have around town?


 Boaz was willing to show chesed, kindness, which indicates the personal expression of godliness on the part of one servant of the Lord to another. (Falwell)

This couple, who was not a couple as of yet, is found carrying on quite a conversation. Shall we continue to listen in on them?

Boaz blessed Ruth in verse 12 (NIV) by saying:
  • May the Lord repay you for what you have done.
  • May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.
King James Version uses the word trust instead of refuge. In the Hebrew language, trust means to flee for protection; to confide in: have hope, make refuge.

Scripture pictures God as catching Israel up on His wings in the Exodus (Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:11). God is here portrayed as a mother bird sheltering the young and  fragile with her wings. Boaz blessed Ruth in light of her new found commitment to and dependence on the Lord. Later, he would become God's answer to this prayer (3:9).  (MacArthur)

Are we fully trusting in the God of Israel?

What else happened in this beautiful love story, a story of Ruth desires to continue to find favor in Boaz's eyes. She acknowledges to him the comfort and kindness which Boaz has shown her, though she did not have the standing of one of his servant girls.

Are you in a long season of unnoticed hard work, sacrifice, faithfulness? Are you wondering if you will ever be recognized?

In Isaiah 58:6-12, what does God promise for those who take care of their own flesh and blood, feed the poor, help the oppressed, and fight against injustice?
The day is not over, so come tomorrow for more of this sweet and inspiring story.


Stay faithful to the Lord Jesus.

Show kindness to someone today.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Undeserved Kindness

O. T. #562  "Undeserved Kindness"
July 22, 2015
Ruth 2-Part 2
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?
Ruth 2:10


They don't deserve my showing kindness, after all, they hurt me by...
I am supposed to forgive them for what they did or said, the way they hurt me?
I can't do that on my own strength, Lord. I need Your help. Please forgive me of these sins I have committed toward them. I need a new heart so I can do what is right and pleasing to you. Change my attitude toward them, too, Lord. Only you can do that.
I know, I don't deserve Your kindness because of my hurting You when I sin. Same thing, huh? Only mine is worse. I know better, yet don't do it. How disappointed You must be in me. I need Your grace and loving kindness.
Ruth realized that she didn't deserve Boaz's kindness. Find out why she thought that by reading on.

We left Ruth in the corn field picking up ears to take home for her and Naomi's supper. Ruth went looking for grace in the sight of the landowner's eyes. Grace, in this verse and in the Hebrew language, refers to favor, kindness. She found alright, for it was Boaz's field in which Ruth was gleaning. Yes, it just so happened, from the human standpoint a coincidence, that Ruth was working in the field that belonged to her late husband's relative, a kinsman. If you believe in God's Devine Providence, like me, then you believe it was her destiny. Ruth was led to the right place and the right time.

If we are following the Lord Jesus, then we will be at the right place in the right time for us to witness, help, encourage someone in need today.
Are we looking for grace from God and others? Will we show grace today to another?


Boaz went to check on the day's activity of harvest in his field. What a relationship between this employer and his employees. He pronounces a blessing upon the workers and they in turn do the same. Then Boaz notices someone new in his field and inquires about the Gentile girl, Ruth, calling her a damsel (servant-girl).
Here the manager identifies Ruth as a Moabitish damsel, that foreigner who came back with Naomi from Moab. He explained to Boaz why he had allowed Ruth to remain in the field after she asked permission. She even rested for a short time in the hut for the workers. Boaz approved of the situation.

What did Boaz tell Ruth?
  • He calls her daughter, showing his recognition of his responsibility as family (goel).
  • He encouraged her to abide here fast, staying close to his own servant girls.
  • She would be protected while in his field, for he'd instruct the men not to touch her.
  • Ruth was given permission to drink from the water jars when thirsty.
Evidently Boaz's kindness overwhelmed Ruth, for she said in verse 10: 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?

Boaz answered that he was willing to show every kindness to Ruth because of the kindness that she had shown to her mother-in-law. The term kindness (chesed in Hebrew) indicates the personal expression of godliness on the part of one servant of the Lord to another. (Falwell)

How great is God's kindness, chesed, toward us Gentile foreigners when He loves us, saves us for eternity, and provides for us poor and needy people! Bless His name and thank Him for His provisions upon us undeserved, sinful people.

It is possible that Boaz encouraged Ruth to remain in his field where he might keep an eye on her not only for the purpose of protection, but possibly because of a personal interest in her. The impression is definitely given that he has set his heart upon her from the beginning.

Do we show undeserved kindness to others? It takes extra effort for those who are undeserving, due to how they treat me. Yet, I don't want God to treat me how I deserve. I need His loving kindness that is new every morning. So I will have to work on showing kindness to certain others.

Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament gives some practical lessons from this wonderful book:
1. No matter how difficult the situation may be, if we surrender to the Lord and obey Him, He will see us through.
2. No person is so far outside the reach of God's grace that he or she cannot be saved. Ruth had everything against her, but the Lord saved her!
3. God providentially guides those who want to obey Him and serve others. Because Ruth was concerned for Naomi, God led her and brought her into a life of happiness.


Realize that I don't deserve God's grace and kindness.

Forgive those who have hurt me, then show them kindness.

Do unto others like I want them to do unto me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Picking up Scraps

O. T. #561  "Picking up Scraps"
July 21, 2015
Ruth 2-Part 1
So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. Ruth 2:3a


Okay, my children will deny this story, but when we lived in married housing at our university, we did not have extra money, as students often lived. We had a dumpster that all the residence students could use. One time, I saw a book shelf inside it. Yes, I had them climb inside it and retrieve it for its new owners, us. (Can you hear their complaining and disgust?) Of course, I cleaned it up and it looked like new. I felt that God provided for us, we just had to go get it by doing the work. Blessed, we picked up the scraps of someone. Ruth was in a similar situation, picking up the scraps in a field, not a dumpster.

So far we have only studied the first four chapters in this small book of Ruth, and
have experienced a famine, a move, a marriage of two sons, the death of a husband, the death of two sons, the beginning of a return journey, the turning back of one woman, and now their arrival in Bethlehem. Whew! Talk about drama, this family had it in their life.
As far as characters, we had a family of four growing to six, then brought down to three, now reduced to two. But hang on, we add another one to the two, Boaz, in just the first verse of the second chapter.

Naomi, who wanted folks to call her Mara because she felt she deserved the Lord dealing bitterly with her due to rebellion, would soon have a new beginning with God. Friends, it is never too late to start fresh with God. Today is a good time.

Hey, I just learned that the majority of the events in this book actually cover only a matter of a few weeks, according to Falwell. (Thought you'd like that little tidbit.)

Getting to our new character, the name Boaz means strength in the Hebrew language.
What do we know about this new character who enters this story?
  • He was a relative (perhaps a cousin or nephew) of Naomi's deceased husband, Elimelech.
  • He is called a kinsman, (moda in Hebrew) which means acquaintance, kinfolk.
  • He was a mighty man of wealth, a man of property or fame. (We will discuss a different meaning for the word kinsman in verse 20.) Wealth, sometimes translated valiant or might, would use his influence and resources to be God's special provision for Ruth.
  • According to Matthew 1, Boaz was the grandson of Nahshon, prince of the tribe of Judah, and son of Salmon, probably a younger son by Rahab, the harlot of Jericho.
  • The fact that Boaz was related to the family of Elimelech indicates the basis of his kinsmanship to Naomi through her marriage. Family probably denotes a larger group of relatives, similar to a clan.
  • Boaz appears as a powerful landowner who becomes the potential hero of the drama because of his position and relationship to the widow Ruth.
  • He was never married or was a widower (1 Chronicles 2:11, 12; Matt. 1:5)
  • This man had many servants under him who brought in the harvest of the corn and grain crops.
  • We will see that Boaz was a wonderful master and overseer, which we will discover further on down the road.
What a guy! Ruth could not have done better if she had picked him out like she picked the corn in his field. God did it all through His Providential hand at work. Continue to read, for these two are going to meet.
Do we turn to God for His help, leading, direction for our life? How about the prospective spouse of our children?


What else happened in verses 2-3?
These two hungry women needed to eat. You can only stay with friends so long and then you wear out your welcome.
  • Ruth, the Moabitess, inquired of her mother in law, Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor. Naomi said to her, "Go ahead, my daughter." (NIV)
  • Ruth went out and began to glean (means to pick up, to gather)in the fields behind the harvesters. In other words, she was picking up the scraps that remained.
Whose field did Ruth work in? None other than our wonderful guy Boaz, an eligible bachelor.
God made provision for the widows, poor, orphans, and strangers.
The Mosaic Law commanded that the harvest should not be reaped to the corners nor the gleanings picked up (Lev. 19:9, 10). Gleanings were stalks of grain left after the first cutting. (MacArthur)

God knows what needs we have before we ask Him to meet it. See Matthew 6.


Whatever is holding me back, let it go.

Follow Jesus today.

Look for those in need.

Help supply their needs.

Give, go, give thanks.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Returning Home Can be Bitter Sweet

O. T. #560  "Returning Home Can be Bitter Sweet"
July 20, 2015
Ruth 1-Part 5
And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.  Ruth 1:20


I was so excited to move back near my hometown after being gone 17 years. My mother was very excited, also. Little did I know that within 6 weeks she would be gone. So little time to settle into a house and church and catch up on time gone by. Returning home can be bitter sweet, as it was for me and Naomi. Read on for an explanation.

Although Ruth succeeded in persuading Naomi to stop trying to dissuade her from going on to Bethlehem with her, Naomi's witness must have made a powerful impression on Ruth. It probably was not a quiet journey, what with two women walking together.

Naomi and Ruth went on the road from Moab to Bethlehem, some 60-75 miles downhill and uphill would have taken about 7-10 days. They would have descended 4,500 feet from Moab into the Jordan Valley, then ascended 3,750 feet through the hills of Judea. (MacArthur)

Bethlehem was about 5 miles southwest of Jerusalem. It would have been surrounded by lush fields and olive groves. Its harvest were abundant. These two were now walking in the will of God because that is where their decedents King David and Jesus Christ would later be born. This move was more than convenience, for it was fulfillment of Scripture-Micah 5:2 and 1 Samuel 16:1.

Their arrival would have been during the barley harvest, which was one of two harvests for Israel. It took place in the spring, around April or May. It was a time of hope and plenty in Israel.

Are we walking in the will of God? Do we have hope and plenty in our heart? What are we harvesting-happiness or bitterness?


The mother in law's return home would have been bitter sweet. Obviously, it was good for Naomi to be home as she walk through the gates of Bethlehem, for she was among her family and friends once more. Yet, accompanying her was a Gentile, a Moabite, too.

The whole town was stirred up with Naomi's return. (verse 19) The key Hebrew word here is wattehom meaning echoed with excitement. The word "conjures up images of joyous shouting and happy, animated conversations in response to an event... Here one imagines excited citizens scurrying about the streets shouting the good news to others, who then do likewise." (Hubbard)

This well-loved, prominent person in her society must have aged over the 12 years in Moab. She had a rough life with her 3 men dying. Perhaps the people were unsure that this was actually Naomi.

You will recall that Naomi's name meant pleasant in the Hebrew language. Now Naomi wasn't feeling very pleasant, since she told her friends to call her Mira, which means  bitter.  Naomi was asking that they not call her a name which was no longer true of her personal experience or disposition. (It was common for names to be interchangeable based upon one's life-changing experiences in the ancient Near East.)

Naomi was not suggesting that she had become a bitter person, but that Providence had handed her a bitter cup to drink. Did she see the hand of God in her sufferings, even in the midst of a life of bitter grief? She had remained steadfast in her faith in God's sovereignty throughout her trials. Naomi's love for God and her commitment to His will is evident. Did she consider it to be God's punishment for her family's forsaking their inheritance in Israel to be justifiably deserving?

Almighty in Hebrew is the name Shaddad, which we call El Shadiah.

Not only did Naomi change her name, but she says she left full and returned empty. After all, she had left with a husband and two sons, to return with only a barren and foreign daughter in law. Although Naomi thought God was against her and brought her home empty, He providentially arranged events to redeem her (Ps. 119:71, 75) and preserve her line for the coming Messiah (1:22).

How is the state of our heart? Is it angry, fearful, grieving, questions, doubtful, unbelieving or strong in faith no matter the situation? Are your prayers lasting for a long season, unanswered? Be assured, dear one, God is at work, whether behind the scenes or under the soil, even if we cannot see the results. Goodness will soon be cropping up for us to reap like the barley harvest has in our story.

He has made everything beautiful in it's time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.   Ecclesiastes 3:11


Let go of any bitterness that has taken root in my heart towards others.

Seek God's forgiveness.

Allow God to fill me with His love for those who have hurt me, for I can't do it on my own.

Let sweetness replace bitterness.

Let go and let's go with God.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Mother In Laws

O. T. #559  "Mother In Laws"
July 17, 2015
Ruth 1-Part 4

And Ruth 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; Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.  Ruth 1:16-17


I was blessed with a wonderful mother in law. She was not the meddlin' kind, as portrayed on television. When we asked for advice, that was the only time we received it (from either set of parents). In our early marriage when we would have a fight, she always took my side against her son. I always felt accepted as a part of her family, especially loved by her. I witnessed her faith in God, even as she trusted His wisdom and went through the cancer which took her life. She demonstrated the sacrificial love of a mother that Naomi did to her daughter in laws. I want to be like these two mother in laws.

Here they are, three women whose husband each died. Maybe a disease caused it, we aren't told the cause of their deaths. Anyway, they are forced to fend for themselves to survive. They lived in a culture where women did not work. Naomi was destitute of land and possessions, without any relatives to care for her, and longed for her homeland. Leaving her men folk buried in Moab, no doubt she struggled with regret and grief. Willing to travel alone, Naomi decides to go back home, where her loving people and provisions would be.

Now let's take a look at a heart-wrenching scene. These three women are at the cross roads of their life. Naomi, the mother in law of the other two women, Orpah and Ruth, convinced Orpah to return home. Three times Naomi would entreat (negotiate) with the young women who has become like her own daughters, loving them very much. It must have been hard to see Orpah go after several years of being family. Naomi selflessly made her proposition to the gals, thinking of their welfare.

What kind of mother in law am I/are you? Do we love our daughter in law or son in law like our very own? Have we accepted them as part of our family? I have seen situations where many do not and it causes a rift in the family.
 I am so blessed with wonderful ones. Couldn't have done better if I had picked them out myself as spouses for my children.
Don't overlook the love, strength, and resources that God provides in our relationships. Don't allow bitterness and disappointment to blind us to our opportunities.


Now comes Ruth's Hallmark expression of love and loyalty to the family she married into and bonded with, found in verses 16-17. Which path in her crossroad did Ruth decide to take, back home or onward to Bethlehem with her aged mother in law?
  • Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. (Was Naomi testing her faithfulness and faith in God?) In other words, do not insist that I return.
  • Where you go, I will go.
  • Where you stay, I will stay.
  • Your people will be my people.
  • Your God will be my God.
  • Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.
  • May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely if anything but death separates you and me.
Seeing Ruth's sincere determination, Namoi shut up and walked on with Ruth toward Bethlehem. There lay a 50-60 mile journey ahead of them. We do not read of any more arguing and urging. Like Ruth, God does not let us go alone. He is always with His children, seeing our needs, ready to forgive and show us love.

This passage is often quoted in wedding ceremonies of Christian couples. Is there any other expression of personal commitment by one person to another found in Scriptures? It reveals Ruth's character (do what's right) and genuine spiritual decision (faith in God).

We get more insight from Life Application Study Bible:
God accepts all who worship Him: He works through people regardless of their race, sex, or nationality. the book of Ruth is a perfect example of God's impartiality. Although Ruth belonged to a race often despised by Israel, she was blessed because of her faithfulness. No one should feel disqualified to serve God because of race, sex, or national background. And God can use every circumstance to build His kingdom. (See Acts 10:35.)
Will we committed to God enough to say those same words to Him? How deep is our love for our Savior? Which path will we take at our crossroad-return to the world or keep walking with Jesus?


                                 ... of the past and go forward.
                                 ... of anything that hinders my relationship with God.                     
                                 ... of my ways and go God's ways.
                                 ... of whatever separates me from my God.
                                 ... and let God...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Whatever Down the Road

O. T. #558  "The Whatever Down the Road"
July 15 & 16, 2015
Ruth 1-Part 3
And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.  Ruth 1:8


*Sorry ya'll, I thought I had posted yesterday's, but actually did not finish it.

I wonder just how many decisions each of us make in a day's time. It starts with getting out of bed, which can be a conscious decision and not an automatic one. Where is our road of faith leading today, Lord? Come talk with me along the way. I need your counseling, listening ear, an understanding nod, and loving arms around me today before I hit the road. (And a push out the door.)Then I'll be ready to face the whatever down the road. Naomi and her two in laws did not know what was down the road, either. Shall we join them along the way, listening to their conversation?

Naomi was into her In-laws-Turn Back Campaign when one out of the two daughter in laws, Orpah, turned back to Moab and went home. Was Naomi trying to cover up the fact that her sons had married Moabites (disobedience to God's commands for Israel). If the gals returned home, maybe no one would find out.

However, the other one, Ruth, did not follow suit. Even after Naomi's spill about if she married tonight and birthed sons, the gals would have to wait for them to grow  up. Poor Naomi, she not only had her husband died while they lived in Moab, but her two sons died also.

Do you feel her pain as a wife and mother? Who doesn't want to reach out and give Naomi a big sister hug? Console her, encourage her, tell her to hang in there, get going because hope and joy are waiting for her at the end of this rough road. We know what happens in time after the two motherless widows settle in at Bethlehem, but they don't.
Neither do we know what's around the next corner or bend on the road of our life's journey. Are we trusting God and striving to follow Him? Is He walking beside us?


Did you notice what Naomi said in the last part of verse 13-the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.

David Guzik says:
  • Naomi wasn't accusing God of doing something wrong against her. She acknowledged His total control over all circumstances. It was actually an expression of trust in Him.
  • If Naomi was bitter or angry against God, she probably would have gone another way-further from the God of Israel, rather than back to Him. Instead, she showed that she trusted the sovereignty of God, and knew that despite her personal calamities, He is a good God who blesses.
  • What Naomi could not see is that the hand of the Lord would go out for her shortly. There is never reason for us to despair if we believe the hand of the Lord has gone out against me. If we will return to Him, His hand will go out for us again! Naomi had no idea-not the slightest-of how greatly God was going to bless her in a short time.
  • Naomi believed she had caused each calamity by her disobedience. Yet she still honored and loved the LORD.
Do we realize that God allows us to make our own decisions, even if it is without consulting Him or in disobedience? Are we willing to suffer the consequences of doing such? He can work things out for our good and His glory.

No matter how difficult the situation may be, if we surrender to the Lord and obey Him, He will see us through.
No person is so far outside the reach of God's grace that he or she cannot be saved. Ruth had everything against her, but the Lord saved her! (Wiersbe)

Will we surrender today and obey, or will we go our way?


Step out on that road of life with Jesus.

Walk and talk with Him along the way today.

Seek His will in my decisions.

Bring others along this road that leads to heaven.

Thank You Jesus that Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rough and Tough Times

O. T. #557 "Rough and Tough Times"
July 14, 2015
Ruth 1-Part 2
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's home..."  Ruth 1:8 NIV


I dare say, if you have been married over thirty years, you have experienced some rough and tough times. Am I right? We certainly have. To be honest, we used to have some fights in our younger years. We had many differences to over come and challenges to meet. Yet, we did. It will soon be 43 years we have stayed married. There were some good times, too. (I don't want you to get the wrong impression.) What we do with those challenges is what matters, I always say. do we give up, leave when the rough and tough times come? Or do we stick it out, stand tall, bear and grin, go on? Is our faith challenges during those times? For sure. So it was with Naomi and her family of 4, which became 6, then 3.

This Jewish family of four left their Promised Land to enter the forbidden land of Moab? A famine caused them to leave Bethelem-Judah. Yes, and they stayed there about 10 years, at least the wife named Naomi did. Moving was their first mistake.

What  tragic incidences occurred while in Moab?
  •  The husband, Elimelech died, leaving Naomi a widow and two sons.
  •  Then the two sons marry Moabite women, Orpah (means stiff-necked) and Ruth (means friendship). That was their second mistake.Now, the Jews were told not to mingle with the Moabites, but this family did.
  • The two sons died, Mahlon and Chilion, leaving Naomi alone with her two daughters in law.
Things have to get better, right? Well, it didn't with this family of Naomi. How could a widow had her two in laws support themselves in that society?
If they had been trusting in God in the first place, the four would not have left Bethelem. You know, hind sight is always 20/20, especially for us.

Haven't we been there? Moved away when situations got hard to handle or too bad to bear? To top it off, things get worse after moving, just when we expected them to get better.
Then, good news-Naomi heard that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them.


After ten years, she had had enough. Naomi packed her makeup case, change of clothes, and who knows how many shoes and left on the first plane home. Well, not so fast. (A little exaggeration there) Anyway, the three women prepared to return home from there. (only one woman's home, actually)
Let's get going. Naomi and the two gals left the place where she had  been living, set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. I don't know how far they got when Naomi realized the gals were leaving their homeland to travel to her homeland with her.

What did Naomi say and do then?
  • Each of you go back to your mother's home.
  • May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead husbands and me.
  • May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest (a better situation) in the home of another husband.
  • Then their mother in law kissed them and they wept aloud.
  • The gals told Naomi that they would go back with her to her people.
  • Why would you come with me Am I going to have any more sons that could become your husbands?
  • Naomi said she was too old for such a thing. Besides that, even if it occurred that night, would they wait for them to grow up? 
  • They wept again; Orpah kissed Naomi good by and left to return back to her home.
  • Ruth clave (clung) to Naomi.
Can you feel the love flowing here? The three women had shared in the grief of loosing a husband, and sons or brother in law. They hated to separate, for they'd not see one another again.
What did Ruth do? What was her decision, go with Naomi or return back home, also?

Apparently, the love of God had not made an impression upon Orpah, for her returning home probably meant she returned to her idolatry. Sounds like she high tailed it and ran, so to speak. Of course, we aren't told how devout and strong Jews this family was, either.

Ladies, what would you do if your father in law died, as well as your husband and brother in law? Would you move in with his mom or go back home? How strong is your family ties? the love of your family? How committed are we to our family when times get tough? Do we want to run or tough it out trusting God to provide?
Who knows, it may be the thing that draws others to the Lord when they see you trusting in God, turning toward Him in tough times.


Deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus, one step at a time.

Trust and obey, even when times are hard, rough and tough.

Stay in God's Word, especially during those times.

Count my blessings.

Monday, July 13, 2015

To Go or Stay?

O. T. #556  "To Go or Stay?"
July 13, 2015
Introduction to Ruth
Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem-Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.  Ruth 1:1


There are only two books in the Old Testament with women's names who are the main characters-Ruth and Esther. The only other time Ruth is mentioned is once in the New Testament found in Matthew 1:5. That put Ruth as an ancestress in the line of Jesus Christ.

Historical Background:
The author is not for sure to be Samuel, though Jewish tradition credits him, since he died after David was chosen king of Israel. (Ruth was the great-grandmother of King David.) This would have put Samuel quite young.

The time in which this story took place is assumed to have been during the time of the book of Judges. Some place the events closer to the time of Gideon. Falwell tells us Ruth serves as a bridge between the books of Judges and Samuel.
During the time of Judges, we learned that the Hebrews often turned from worshiping God to idols, turned back to Him in times of punishment, but forgot Him during seasons of prosperity.

There are four definite scenes found in Ruth:
  1. in Moab,
  2. in the fields of Bethlehem,
  3. at the threshing floor of Boaz,
  4. in the city gate.
Bethlehem-Judah was a small town in the territory of Judah. Bethlehem means House of Bread. It later became the birthplace of both kings David and Jesus.
The city of Bethlehem, where Elimilech's family lived, was a hill country in the land of Judah and part of the promised land of Canaan.

Moab was a predominantly rural country; a mostly desolate region; a high tableland bounded on the west by the Dead Sea and on the east by arid desert wasteland, with the boundaries on the north and south being two deep river gorges; was virtually dry most of the year, yet fertile so it was good for grazing flocks and herds; largely destitute of trees.
The Moabites were descendants of Lot's eldest daughter through her incestuous relationship with her own father. Moab was a second cousin of Jacob. Their ancestors generally despised one another.(Twelve Extraordinary Men, Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur)


Before we pick up the story, this word nerd found that the names within the family of man named Elimelech (means my God is King), included his wife Naomi (means pleasant), and their two sons, Mahlon (means puny) and Chilion (means pining).(Liberty Bible Commentary)

It was during the time when the judges ruled and there was a famine in the land of Judah. (verse 1)
This covered a span of 450 years, so apparently this story occurred sometime then.
Now, this question comes to mind: If God gave the Israelites this permanent place to live, and He promised to provide for them, why the famine?
My speculation is that in order for Naomi to bring Ruth into the Jewish family so she could marry Boaz and be an ancestress of David and Jesus. He had to get them into Moab some way, right? So why not use a famine?

This family had a decision to make-stay in the arid land of God's choosing or to flee to the bountiful one God had forbidden. We know which they chose. They decide to sojourn, which means to turn aside from the road (for a lodging or any other purpose).

Which will you choose? If you are in difficult circumstances and you have a type of land of Moab alluring us away, what will you do?

Been there, done that. Many a time my husband had to decide whether to go or to stay at a church. Sometime we left when we should have stayed and sometimes we left when we were supposed to go.

Escaping to easier terrain is all too tempting when we're weary in hardship.  (Kelly Minter's Ruth)

*A possible solution would have been working for cousin Boaz, but then Ruth would not have come to Bethlehem, would she?


Don't go unless God is leading me, no matter how difficult my circumstances are.

Don't move unless it is time to move, according to God's timing.

Depend on my Father God to provide for my needs as He desires.

Pray for my family daily.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Pressing On

O. T. #555  "Pressing On"
July 10, 2015
Summary of Judges
In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.  Judges 17:6


It took 6 months to go through this book. Whew! We kept pressing on as Israel kept spinning in the sin cycle. They would:
  • repeatedly compromise with her enemies, tolerate and coexist with them. This was followed by incomplete settlement of the conquered territories.
  • Without clearly defined leadership, everyone did that which was right in his own eyes (17:6). Israel forsook the Law and committed spiritual apostasy. (The people had sinned against their covenant with God by disobeying the command to totally drive out the Canaanites (Ex. 23, Deut. 33).  
  • Israel intermarried with the people of the land (Deut 7:1-5) and adopted pagan worship of Baal and Ashtaroth (2:13).
  • Committed numerous violations of the Mosaic Law, including improper priests and private worship sanctuaries.
  • Their moral code was so low that lying, stealing, adultery, and murder were often condoned.
  • So God would send oppression, resulting in repentance and deliverance. (6 periods and 12 deliverers)
  • With the downward spiral into sin, God's mercy delivered His people over and over again.
[Resource: Liberty Bible Commentary]

Left untreated, sin grows and soon poisons the whole body. God had helped the Israelites conquer Canaan, which had been inhabited by a host of wicked nations. But they were in danger of losing this Promised Land because they compromised their convictions and disobeyed God. (Life Application Study Bible)

Ultimately, the failure of God's people to honor His commands resulted in their removal from the land for 70 years (Lev. 26:32-35). (D.Jeremiah)


There were over 410 years of judgeships.
Life Application Study Bible tells us:
  • God used leaders, who, at times, did His will and, at times, followed their own sinful impulses (Gideon, Eli, Jephthah, Samson);
  • Jephthah's vow and offering of his daughter (11:30-40);
  • Israel's first civil war is recorded here.
  • Decline, decay, and defeat caused the people to cry out to God for help.
  • We can expect decay when we value anything more highly than God.
  • Rebellion against God leads to disaster. God may use defeat to bring wandering hearts back to Him.
  • We must identify modern idols in our hearts, renounce them, and turn to God for His love and mercy.
  • God's Holy Spirit is available to all people. Anyone who is dedicated to God can be used for His service. Real heroes recognize the futility of human effort without God's guidance and power.
No matter how determined those Canaanites were-God's people had the power to drive them out; they simply gave up too soon. Sometimes we do the same. We face bold and hostile advances into our churches, neighborhoods, schools, or even our own families, and then we allow ourselves to be intimidated into passivity-or surrender. If only the Israelites had remembered: When God's people rely on God's power in obedience to His commands, they find an uncommon perseverance in the face of determined opposition. Giving in is no longer an option; pressing on becomes the battle cry. Victory is theirs. (The Jeremiah Study Bible)

So, be an overcomer, and follow Jesus.

If godless judges respond to constant pressure, how much more will a great and loving God respond to us? If we know He loves us, we can believer He will hear our cries for help. An example of this is found in Luke 18:1-6 where the widow keeps pestering the judge for her justice.


Stay faithful, for God is faithful.

Stop the cycle of sin in my own life.

Serve God.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Angry Words Can Knock You Down

O. T. #554  "Angry Words Can Knock You Down"
July 9, 2015
Judges 21
And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore;  Judges 21:2


In anger, those words come barreling out of your mouth hitting another like bullets straight in the heart. They can knock you down, bleed your hopes out, steal your joy, zap the life out of you, until you are crawling around in the dirt. Then you have to pull yourself up by the boot strap, stand tall on faith, let Jesus put His spiritual armor on you again, and prepare to get into the spiritual battle once again.

Israel had fought one of their tribal brothers, leaving 600 men to survive. Almost in danger of becoming extinct, the tribe of Benjamin remained with no wives and no children. Apparently, the rest of Israel had vowed never to give their daughters in marriage to them. This serious situation caused the people to go before the Lord loudly weeping. When the angry battle was over, Israel realized what they had done. They were supposed to be the people of God, yet they digressed spiritually and were in danger of annihilating one another.
On the other hand, the tribe of Benjamin had spiritually degenerated down so far that they would not admit their sexual sins and refused to turn over those men responsible for the death of the Levite's concubine.

All of this mess resulted in Israel returning to the Lord. Verse 4 says they rose up early and built an altar to the Lord, then offered burnt and peace offerings thereon.
Sounds like repentance.
Are we sorry for the words spoken in anger and/or the actions which may result from such?
Be careful when we make vows while angry.


What happened next?
  •  It was discovered that the city of Jabesh Gilead did not join them, so they were to be put to death.
  • Instead of receiving their punishment, their 400 young women of the Benjaminites who had never slept with a man were taken to Shiloh, then given as wives to the 600 Benjaminite men. Yet they lacked in number. Not all men received a wife.
  • So this tribe and Israel would have heirs, other women would need to be given to this tribe of Ben. The rest of the tribes could not supply the need due to their oath to the Lord.
  • The plan devised was this: When the gals were dancing during the annual festival in Shiloah, the 200 men were to pick out a wife and take one of these gals back home.
  • The Benjaminite men did so, then built the towns and settled in them.
  • Keep in mind, when there was no judge or king, everyone did what was right in their own eyes.
Israel put tribal loyalties above God's commands, and they justified wrong actions to correct past mistakes. It is the ultimate heroic act to submit all our plans, desires, and motive to God. To be heroic, we must go into battle each day in our home, job, church, and society to make God's kingdom a reality. Our weapons are the standards, morals, truths, and convictions we receive from God's Word. We will lose the battle if we gather the spoils of earthly treasures rather than seeking the treasures of heaven. (Life Application Study Bible)

Due to Israel's disobedience, they did not enjoy the abundant blessings of God until the time of King David.

Do we wiggly around the ways of God set before us? (Isn't a white lie still a lie?)


Be ready to go to battle when the Lord sends us.

Stand up for His Word and ways.

Keep compassionate toward others.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Testing Storms Come

O. T. #553  "Testing Storms Come"
July 7, 2015
Judges 20-Part 2
And the LORD said, Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver them into thine hand.  Judges 20:28


We should take heed that sin will be paid for, eventually and one way or another. Jesus has paid the price for our sins, a blood sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God. By our trusting in Him as our Savior, we do not have to pay for our sins because He did it, once and for all.
Our sins will find us out, too. So be careful what we do. Such was the case in the tribe of Benjamin.

You will recall that 400,000 Israeli soldiers rallied together after the Levite cut up his concubine into 12 pieces, sending each tribe of Israel a piece of her, informing them of the horrific occurrence of her death due to rape in the city of Gibeah, in Benjamin territory. Then only 40,000 of those went to get the those men who had violated this woman and the Law of God, which said the guilty ones were to be killed. Refusing to do so, the Benjaminites went to war with their brethren.

What happened?
  • The rest of the men of Israel went to the house of God and asked counsel of God, who should go first in this battle. God's answer was Judah. (verse 18)
  • On day 1 of the battle,  22,000 Israeli soldiers died.
  • Weeping, the men enquired of the Lord if they were to go to battle another time. The Lord answered yes. (verse 23)
  • On day 2 of the battle, 18,000 Israeli soldiers died.
  • Verse 26 describes the reaction of the Israeli men-went to the house of God, wept before Him, fasted all day, and offered burnt and peace offerings.
  • The Lord told the priest He would deliver the Benjaminites into their hands the next day. (verse 28)
  • On day 3, only 30 Israeli men died on the highway to the house of God, but 25,000 men of the tribe of Benjamin died. (verse 31)
  • Then Israel use the same tactics which Joshua used at Ai-pretending to retreat, drawing the enemy away from the city, while others attacked the city and destroyed it while unprotected. 
  • This strategy worked-18,000 were killed in the ambush, 5,000 in the retreat, and 2,000 more at Gidom, totaling 25,000 killed which left only 600 men of the tribe of Benjamin and in danger of extinction. (grand total of 43,000 killed Bens and 40,030 Israelis killed)
What a sad thing to happen, a civil war in Israel. Needlessly men died, if only they had not defended those murderers, homosexuals, and rapists. (Such actions continue today.)
Do we do what is right, no matter the cost?


The 600 men of Benjamin ran to the rock Rimmon in the wilderness, staying 4 months. (verse 47)
The men of Israel went back to the towns of Benjamin and killed everything, including animals, setting all on fire.

Despite how far Israel had fallen away from their faith, Yahweh still orchestrated their battle and brought justice against Benjamin. (D. Jeremiah)

Life Application Study Bible says:
Going back, the Levite conveniently left out the fact that he had handed over his concubine to satisfy the mob's demands. He wanted justice for the threats made against himself rather than placing any value on the life of the woman or holding himself partly responsible for her death. How easy it is to give only partial facts or twist events to remove our own culpability when we are seeking to shift blame to someone else. This incident reveals the depths of perversion and violence that develop when a culture abandons God's ways.
Makes you wonder if the maybe the Benjaminite leaders had been given distorted facts or if they were too proud to admit some of their people had stooped so low to commit such a serious crime.
Anyway, they would not listen to the rest of Israel and hand over those accused criminals. Although they were loyal to their own tribe, they were not to God's Law. We see bizarre things happen when people do what is right in their own eyes.

Did Israel think they had done away with such hideous crimes? Maybe for the time being they did.

They do recover such a loss, eventually. Saul, Israel's first king, Queen Esther, and the apostle Paul were all from the tribe of Benjamin. They remained the smallest tribe of the 12.

Well, we don't know what kind of fruit our efforts will produce in years to come. We work hard to keep those weeds out of the flower bed or not. Do we work hard to keep sin out of our life and our family? Yet, the world is harsh, strong, like the wind and rain in a summer storm pushes hard on the only package of flowers I planted-sunflowers. Will they survive and bear fruit? Kids and flowers need nurturing, love, and direction. I wish I had staked those tall stems. Please, Lord, don't let them snap in the middle of the storm. My children, too, Lord. (I spent 100 more time working on vbs for children than the flowers.) Grow them both up strong looking toward the sun/Son with deep roots in your love and Word. Oh, thanks for the rain, Lord. We depend on You for all things. (By the way, thanks for wild flowers I can pick to bring to my table.) Kingdom work is so important, friends, so keep planting those seeds of love and God's ways.


Repent, turning from sinful ways and go in the other direction.

Point others in the right direction.

Stay in God's Word so I know His ways.

Continue to trust Jesus as my Savior.

Plant seeds of God's love in the hearts of children.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

It's Time to Stand Up!

O. T. #552 "It's Time to Stand Up!"
July 6, 2015
Judges 20
Now, all you Israelites, speak up and give your verdict.  Judges 20:7 NIV


Thinking of our freedoms, which cost so many their life, I wonder if we are  going down without a fight, Christians? Will we stand up and speak up against these immoral laws? Are we proud to be an American? I will stand up next to you, defending God's ways and laws and our freedoms and rights. I do not think we are in the minority here, yet. It's time to stand up. Israel united against the evil ones in a similar situation.

The Levite's call to rally against the hideous evil done in the city of Gibeah, located in the tribe of Benjamin's territory resulted in a great response of 400,000 Israelites. (He was assaulted by homosexual men, who raped his concubine wife, which resulted in her death.) Every man capable of holding a sword arrived in angry retaliation.

As a result of this tragedy, a national assembly was convened with people coming from the north and the south with a humble attitude and desire to seek help from God for the nation. (MacArthur)

Do we seek God's help for our nation's morality? Will we speak up and give our verdict on the immorality in this nation and unsupport of Israel this day? Oh, that we Christians would do the same at the voting poles. Are we asking God to give us a Christian president? Will we do as Israel or Benjaminites?


Rather than sending out the entire Israeli army they cast a lot, with 1/10 of the tribes going up against the city of Gibeah. (verse 9)
So 40,000 Israelis would go to fight against this folly (in Hebrew means emptiness), giving them what they deserve in Benjamin territory, the city of Gibeah. The rest of the Israeli men would not return home.

So all the men of Israel got together and united as one man against the city. (verse 11, NIV)

Were they serious about handling this situation? Were they determined to stop these sinful acts, making those men responsible pay for what they had done?

Have we forgotten what happened in 911? Has time passed and we have become nonchalant? Are we focused only on our own little world rather than what is happening elsewhere in our world? Will we rally against the evil ones as Israel did in chapter 20? Will our country unite or be divided in moral issues?


Stand against sin after I have confessed my sin.

Unite with others to support Christians taking a stand.

Speak up for my God given convictions.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Before Jumping In With Both Feet

O. T. #551  "Before Jumping In With Both Feet"
July 3, 2015
Judges 19-Part 3
...consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.  Judges 19:30b


Consider a matter before jumping in with both feet to take a particular stand. Seek the Lord's will. Back off from the situation before asking others their opinion. Get the facts. Chew on it for a while. Get a clear head. Listen to both sides. Do all this before speaking my mind. If only I could take my own advice all the time.

We left the Levite who returned home with his dead concubine, who had been violently abused by the men of the city of Gibeah, located in the territory of the Benjamin. I'm sure you recall the drastic measures he went to in order to call his brethren for revenge. (Cut her up into 12 pieces, sending each tribe a part.) The Levite must have loved this woman. Why else would he have gone to her father's house to bring her back home?

Then the last part of verse 30, all that saw such a thing, as part of their answer, they said, Consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible states:
We have here the three great rules by which they that sit in council ought to go in every arduous affair.
  1. Let every man retire into himself, and weigh the matter impartially and fully in his own thoughts, and seriously and calmly consider it, without prejudice on either side, before he speaks of it.
  2. Let them freely talk it over, and every man take advice of his friend, know his opinion, with his reasons, and weigh them.
  3. Then let every man speak his mind, and give his vote according to his conscience. In the multitude of such counselors there is safety.
When a matter comes up, I think we should think about it, ask the Lord about it, listen to His direction, search His Word, instead of getting the opinion of others, then we will have the right direction to go, whether it is a decision, a view on a matter, or a solution for a problem.
Commonly, don't we run to others for their advice instead of the Lord? He knows best for us, so why don't we seek His wisdom?


Consider, take, speak.

The verbs which close the chapter are perfects of consequence, expressing the results which the Levite expected from this action.  (Falwell)

Looking into the next chapter, we see 400,000 footmen respond to this challenge. During this time, the tribes still rallied for each other's defense. Mizpeh was the central assembly point of the tribes, located only 8 miles north of Jerusalem.

The severe nature of such an atrocity, in a nation that considered itself to be a theocracy, would have brought the greatest possible response at this point. Every man who was capable of holding a sword arrived in angry retaliation for the hideous nature of the deed that had been done. (Falwell)

Do we lovingly want to help others when in need? Or just jump on the band wagon?


Let the past be passed, having my presence in the present.

Consider a matter according to God's Word and Spirit.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Rescue Turns Tragic

O. T. #550  "A Rescue Turns Tragic"
July 2, 2015
Judges 19-Part 2
Now as they were making their hearts merry... Judges 19:22


A young woman is rescued, but a tragic conclusion lies ahead for her. Does it matter where we spend the night, and with whom? We see how one sin leads to another; bizarre actions result from deep sins. Yet, we read of such things happening in our world by the ruthless ones. It was a bleak period in the history of the nation of Israel. They were without a judge and king to direct them in holy living. Shall we finish this story?

The young Levite was married to a concubine, who went back to her father's home to get her after 4 months. Keep in mind that having concubines was an accepted part of Israelite society, although this is not what God intended (Genesis 2:24). On their way home, it was turning dark, so they stopped in the city of Gibeah in Benjamin territory for lodging. An older man offered his home, so they took him up on it. He took in strangers, fed, gave drink, washed their feet, tending to their needs.

Aren't we so thankful that Jesus loves us, takes us in as strangers, makes us a part of His family, feeds our soul with His Word, and gives us to drink from the fountain of living water (Holy Spirit)? He meets to our needs, even before we ask. Friend, just ask Jesus to be your Savior, forgive you of your sins. Then, you too, will be a part of His family.


While there, wicked men of the city came to the hospitable man's door, requesting the Levite for their sexual pleasures.
Sexual perversion and lawlessness were by-products of Israel's disobedience to God. The Israelites weren't willing to speak up until events had gone too far. (Life Application Study Bible)

Do we stand against homosexuality, supporting marriage between a man and a woman?

Let's continue this gruesome story:
  • The owner of the house refused to allow such a disgraceful thing for his guest.
  • The wicked men would not listen, so the man offered his daughter and the man's concubine, allowing them to do whatever they wish. (How low down is this father?)
  • In verse 25, we read of the abuse the city men did to the concubine, raping her throughout the night. (Hey, I thought he cared for her, since he journeyed 10 miles to bring her back home.)
  • The woman made her way back to the house, only to make it to the door, placing her hands on the threshold, laying there until daylight, where she died.
  • Her master came out the door the next morning, told her, "Get up; let's go." Without her answering, the outraged Levite put her on his donkey and made the journey home.
  • When he reached home, the master took his knife, divided, cup up his concubine in 12 pieces, sending each to a tribe in Israel. How gruesome! 
This method for rallying a nation was normally done by dismembering animals (1 Sam. 11). The verb to divide refers to a ritual dissection. (Ex. 29:17, Lev. 1:6) The Levite sent the 12 pieces of her body to the 12 tribes of Israel in an effort to rally the nation out of it lethargy and to a willingness to acknowledge its responsibility.  (Falwell)

What good could come out of such a horrible act?
Everyone who saw it said in verse 30 NIV, Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do! 

It was designed to get action, and it worked. (Davis)

We assume the tribe of Benjamin was included in the summons, but refused, thus identifying themselves with the men of Gibeah. The shock of seeing the girl's dismembered body and undoubtedly hearing the story of this undeniable outrage against the law of God caused Israel to consider this the greatest atrocity of the nation's early history. (Falwell)

Obviously, the Levite expected action from his brothers.
What can we learn from this story, which I believe actually happened, since the Bible is God's Word to us of accounts of His peoples' lives?
  • We see the need to call our nation back to God in repentance, then work toward establishing God's moral and spiritual reign in the hearts of every person.
  • Let people know that adultery and prostitution is sinful and unacceptable to God. (The life of a harlot is unacceptable and not permissible in the Old Testament, calling for killing of them.) I am not advocating such an extreme, but they need to be offered God's Grace for repentance and a way to change their lifestyle and line of business.
  • Men of God are not to be involved with a concubine. (Priests were forbidden to marry one.)
  • Do not open our door to immorality. Teach our children why such practices are not pleasing to God.
  • Witness to idolaters. Do not accept their lifestyle. God forbids idolatry. He alone is God, the only one to be worshiped. 

Follow the previous points, living for God's glory and according to His Word, admitting I am a sinner in need of forgiveness daily.