Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The DNA of King David

....“Now at last Naomi has a son again!” And they named him Obed. He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David (Ruth 4:17 NLT).
Ruth and Boaz

The story of Ruth and her husband Boaz is an excellent lesson in self-sacrifice.  They were both consistent in their unselfishness.  Though they chose to prefer others through their selflessness, God sovereignly turned their loss into gain.  The union of Ruth and Boaz formed the spiritual lineage of King David, of whom God said, “a man after my own heart.” (Acts 13:22 NLT)

“Your God will be my God.”
Ruth, Chapter 1 tells the story of the love and commitment of a daughter-in-law, Ruth, for her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Naomi had lost her husband and both her sons in Moab.  One of her sons was married to Ruth, a Moabite woman.   Naomi planned to return to her native land in seeking to survive.  She described the cost of following her back to her homeland to both of her daughters-in-law.  Naomi was too old to marry again, and even if she did, her daughters-in-law would have to wait for her sons to grow up to marry them? (Ruth 1:11-13 NLT)  Obviously, this was an impossible scenario.  Ruth responds with one of the most beautiful responses in all the Bible, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”  Impossible circumstances often test love and commitment.

In Chapter 2 there is a little-recognized event that reveals much about the character of Ruth.  One day Boaz provided lunch for Ruth while she worked in his barley field.  Ruth did not eat all she was provided but set aside part of it to take back to Naomi (Ruth 2:18 NKJV). Ruth was not just looking out for herself but also for provision for her mother-in-law.  It wasn’t all about Ruth.  Have you had ever been among a group of Christians at a dinner? When helping themselves to food from common serving plates, how they prefer each other by the portions that they take, speaks volumes about the hearts of those dining at that event.  We often reveal our character through our stomachs.

The Kinsman Redeemer
The other person in this love story is Boaz, a wealthy landowner.  I am sure that Boaz was physically attracted to Ruth, but there was something far more enticing to him that just her outward beauty.  It was the content of her character.  Boaz said, “Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence (Ruth 3: 11NASB).  What catches a man’s eye is a commentary on the righteousness of that man.

Naomi realizes that Boaz is a close relative and can buy the land that had been owned by Naomi’s husband and would have been passed down to his sons.  He could marry Ruth and provide heirs for her dead son to carry on their family line.  She initiates an ingenious plan to ensure security of her daughter-in-law (Ruth 3: 1-3 NLT). But there is one problem.  There was another relative who has first right to purchase this land.  Boaz engages that relative and tells him of his right to redeem the inheritance. (Ruth 4: 1-4 NLT).  At first, the relative agrees to redeem it until he learns he must also marry Ruth and carry on her husband’s inheritance.  He declines because it would endanger his estate (Ruth 4: 6 NLT).  The close relative chose opportunistically.  As long as it only benefited him, he would do it, but when he learned it would cost him something, he was out.  In our major decisions in life, if we chose only what serves us, we will never understand or embrace commitment.  Without it, we will never fulfill our destiny.

A Marriage Made in Heaven
Boaz chose unselfishly (Ruth 4:10 NASB). He bought the land and married Ruth and provided a son to carry on the family line (Ruth 4: 13NLT).  This is a true love story if you define love as willing the highest possible good for all concerned.  Ruth thought about the good of her mother-in-law above all.  Naomi sought security for Ruth.  Boaz chose the best for all concerned, not just him.  This was the spiritual DNA of King David, the man after God’s own heart.  Ruth and Boaz were committed to doing the right thing, no matter what it cost them.  In dong so, they changed the destiny of a family, which was instrumental in fulfilling the destiny of a nation.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com
                http://gleaningspodcast.blogspot.com


  

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Death of Unbelief

"Give me the hill country"

 So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.” (Joshua 14:12 NLT)

Caleb was eighty-five years old and still has not received his promised inheritance.  He asked for the land of the descendants of Anak, the giants, who had put fear and unbelief in the hearts of all Israel, save Joshua and himself.   The fulfillment of the promise of God would not be complete if he did not conquer this part of the land and unbelief would remain in Israel.

The hill country more than any other area was the place that caused the ten spies to give their bad report.  All the spies except Joshua and Caleb said, “We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next, to them, we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” (Numbers 13:33 NLT) Unbelief had made them small in their own eyes. This negative mental state was disastrous for all Israel who died in the wilderness except for two.  Remember they were spies; they probably did not know what the giants were thinking.  You may not be what you think you are, but what you think, you are. What you believe others think about you is dependent on how you feel about yourself.  But the strange thing is that neither one of them may be true. Only what God says about you is true.  Caleb believed he would drive out the giants, “just as the Lord said.” (v.12)

Joshua had already captured the city of Hebron (Joshua 10-36-37 NLT) except the mountainous area within it.  It was considered unconquerable, too fortified for any man to take, but not so for God. Caleb could have taken the lowland and lived securely off of the fruits of someone else’s conquests, but he said, “give me the hill country” (v. 12).  If Caleb could not take what God wanted to give him, he would take nothing at all. Why? It was all about the integrity of the promises of God. Caleb knew that what God had promised, he would do.  If God had said it was his, then that settled it, whether he was forty or eighty-five years old.

Has God promised you your hill country?  Are you getting older or is there an immovable object in your way.  Over and over God told his people that he was giving them the land, now go in and fight for it. We like to think about receiving the land, but not so much about having to fight for it.  In taking your inheritance, the battle is between faith and unbelief and the battleground is mainly in your mind.  If God has spoken to you, take the inheritance that God is giving you, and put to death unbelief.  If the Lord is with you, you cannot fail.



Image used with permission by Microsoft.


Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com
                http://gleaningspodcast.blogspot.com













Saturday, April 15, 2017

Loving Much

 “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
 (Luke 7: 47 NASB)

A sinful woman can teach us a lot about the Kingdom of God.  The recognition of our need is the first step toward our entrance into Heaven.  If we perceive we need to be forgiven little, we will love little.

 A Pharisee invited Jesus to his house for dinner.  A woman of ill repute started to weep and wipe his feet with her tears.  She anointed him with expensive perfume.  The Pharisee was upset that Jesus would let such a sinful woman touch him.  In response to this Pharisee, Jesus told him this story.

A man lent money to two men, five hundred pieces of silver to one and fifty to another.  When they both were not able to repay him, the man kindly forgave them both.  Then Jesus asked the Pharisee, (v.42b) “So which of them will love him more?”  The Pharisee answered, (v.43) “I suppose the one who he forgave more.”  Jesus replied, “You have judged correctly.”  The woman saw her need and was broken by her sin.  The Pharisee only saw the woman’s sin and not his own.  If we never grasp the depth of our sinful nature, we will never understand the enormity of God’s grace in forgiving us.  Whoever sees no need for the cross of Christ, will never embrace it. Recognition of our need for forgiveness is the evidence of a repentant heart. By his attitude, it is apparent that the Pharisee is trying to maintain his right standing with God through his self-righteousness.  Pride blinded him to his sin.  The woman’s actions indicated she realized that only Jesus could save her.  Her reasonable response to this revelation was to love him.  And love him, she did.

The woman in our story was closer to the Kingdom of Heaven than the Pharisee in all his religious regalia.  In this tale, Jesus was homing in on authentic faith, rather than the external trappings of religion.  He paints a word picture of the contrast between a legalistic religious pursuit and a love relationship with our Savior.  One of the players in this parable was motivated by love of self and other by the love of God. Fulfilling the law of love through faith saved the woman.  The Pharisee met the letter of the law but was far from righteousness. The next time we are tempted to judge someone without first looking at our sin, we should remember, but for the grace of God there go I.  Whoever has been forgiven much, loves much. 

Images used with permission by Microsoft.


 Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com
                http://gleaningspodcast.blogspot.com