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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Time to Grow

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If you, like me, live in the north, then you too, are looking forward to warmer weather. I know my calendar says spring, but I haven’t yet seen enough sunshine, to blast away those winter blues.

Where, oh where, is the green?

Hey, did you ever say or write a word that instantly sparks a memory? For me, just typing the word “green” brought one to mind. It reminded me of the Wordless Book. Now, this is not the message I had planned to write, but do any of you know what I mean?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Book of Ruth Series - Disturbing News - Lesson 20

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Ruth 3:12-18:  Silvery moonlight illumined the threshing floor as Boaz gazed at Ruth. Barely able to make out her facial features, still he knew her eyes were full of hope. In his heart, he felt they were to wed, but there was another, a nearer kinsman who might stand in their way. Boaz was well acquainted with this man, and although he hated even the thought of his grubby hands on Ruth, Boaz knew the law favored the closer relative.

Trying not to alarm Ruth, Boaz spoke softly, gently whispering his dilemma in fulfilling her request. “Yes, I am a close relative; however, there is a kinsman closer than I. We will speak in the morning and if he chooses to redeem you, then the matter is out of my hands. But, if he cannot, then I will. Stay here until dawn. It is not safe for you to travel back to your home at this hour of the night.”

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Book of Ruth Series - A Beautiful Exchange - Lesson 19

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Emerging from her hiding place, Ruth carried out Naomi’s instructions to the last detail.

While Boaz slept, “…she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet.” (Ruth 3:7-8)

When we study the book of Ruth, we must remember the symbolism our great God has built into this amazing true story. Ruth, as we have seen in past lessons, represents the church, the bride of Christ, and Boaz, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, where we find Ruth in relation to Boaz is important.

She is at his feet. This is a place of submission, a position of humility, and an attitude of surrender and expectation. Ruth, helpless and vulnerable, looked to Boaz for hope and a future.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Book of Ruth Series - Midnight Proposal - Lesson 18

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Ruth 3:6-11:

Under the cover of night and a distance away from the festivities, Ruth stepped onto the threshing floor. As she searched for a place to hide, a light breeze blew through causing her anointing oil fragrance to waft into the air. Catching the scent, she worried it would give her away. But she couldn't think about that now, she just needed to hide. 
Don Marco Crayon Art 

Finding the perfect hiding place, Ruth sat in the shadows and dreamed of her future. What might it be like to be the wife of Boaz? How many children would they have? Ruth determined she would be a good, loving mother, but not lax. She would train and discipline her children so they would be well behaved and respectful.

As time ticked by, her thoughts so engrossed her, she almost forgot where she was and why. Nevertheless, commotion from the festivities snapped her back into the present. Men were coming to find a place to bunk for the night. Keeping very still and breathing lightly, Ruth prayed they would not discover her before she carried out all Naomi’s instructions.

Then came Boaz.

Even in dim lantern light, Ruth could tell it was Boaz. She knew every detail of his frame, his walk, his voice, and the way his hands moved when he spoke. Her heart fluttered, but when he closely passed her hiding place, she thought it might stop. For a bed, Boaz chose a pile of grain in Ruth's direct line of sight. Thankfully, her wait was nearly over.

Sleep quickly engulfed Boaz and the others. Then ever so slowly, darkness increased, as one by one the lanterns flickered and died.

When the final lantern extinguished and the cadence of breathing conveyed deep sleep, Ruth knew it was time. Quietly, she emerged from concealment and tiptoed over to Boaz. She uncovered his feet as Naomi instructed, and lay down. The coolness of the night air would soon arouse him.

While she waited, Ruth pondered this obscure custom, never expecting it to apply to her. But before long, her body relaxed and she too drifted off to sleep.
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The cool night air did its job in disturbing Boaz. When he turned to adjust his covers, he was startled to find a woman lying at his feet. “Who are you?” he sternly whispered.

Ruth, also startled, softly blurted, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”

Shocked, amazed, and thrilled by this proposal, Boaz quickly responded. "Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich…”

Boaz knew their age difference could have caused Ruth to seek younger men for marriage, especially since she was a Moabite and not bound by Israelite law. Even so, while she has been in Bethlehem, her reputation had been nothing less than virtuous and everyone knew it.

So he said, “My daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request…”


Next week we will take a closer look. Therefore, in preparation for our lesson, you may want to read the following scriptures:  Luke 10:38-42; Luke 7:36-50; John 11:1-2; Rev. 1:17; Ezekiel 16:8-10

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Book of Ruth Series - Preparations - Lesson 17

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“Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor…” (Ruth 3:3)

Naomi desired security for Ruth and following these detailed instructions may just help her find it. However the Hebrew word translated security, manowach (pronounced maw-no’-akh), can also mean a settled spot or (place of) rest. Having the security of a home, a husband and children would give Ruth rest, but not rest from work altogether. It would be rest from laboring to provide food and shelter and living life on her own.

Now, since Ruth represents the church, can you see the spiritual side of this rest.

Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor…and I will give you rest.” Our rest is salvation and ultimately, heaven. Because Hebrews 4:9-11 exhorts us to be “…diligent to enter that rest…” and some versions declare, “…labor therefore…” it almost seems like an oxymoron. However, Scripture never says believers will cease working. In fact, God prepared work for us to do before our salvation. Our labor is to deny self, take up our cross, follow Christ, preach the gospel and make disciples. Our life, work and rest in Christ are akin to how the Jews inhabited the Promised Land.  They worked hard and fought many battles before obtaining their rest.

Therefore, we all must follow Naomi’s instructions.

Ruth was to wash. For us, this would be repentance. 
David Schwartz - www.clker.com

When we confess our sins, Scripture assures God is faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. By shedding His blood and dying on the cross, Jesus demonstrated His love. In so doing, He gave us the option of choosing repentance and life in Him. When we do, He sanctifies and cleanses us with the washing of water by the word. Though our sins are like scarlet, He makes them white as snow.

Next, Naomi told Ruth to anoint herself possibly with fragrant oil. In Scripture, oil represents God’s Holy Spirit. Therefore, Ruth’s anointing pictures the indwelling Holy Spirit.

When the prophet Samuel anointed David as king of Israel, he used a horn filled with oil. When the oil oozed from David’s head striping his face, Scripture says,”…the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward…” II Corinthians 1:21-22 assures, Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

Bible illustrations by Sweet Media
Naomi’s last instruction was for Ruth to dress in her best garment. For us this would be our garment of salvation, our robe of righteousness.

These are the preparations for the Bride of Christ who “…has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

However, our righteous acts are contingent upon Jesus, for He is
           THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.


Ruth was prepared to do all that Naomi instructed. Are you?

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