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The center of the Traditional Anglican Communion; adhering to the Holy Bible (KJV) in all matters of Faith and Doctrine, a strict reliance on the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, The two Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, the Two Creeds, and the Homilies and formularies of the Reformation Church of England.

Verse of the Day

Friday, July 31, 2015

Devotion on Firsts of the Bible - First Book of the Bible named after a Woman - Part Ten – 31 July 2015, Anno Domini


… Ruth's Reward…

Part Ten – Ruth’s Reward
  
13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. 14 And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. 15 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. 16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. 17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. 18 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, 19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, 20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, 21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, 22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. (Ruth 4:13-22)

            A friend expressed regret to me yesterday we would be reaching the conclusion of the Book of Ruth with today’s devotion. It is a common emotion of the heart to linger as long as possible before an object of great beauty whether it be a wonderful scene of nature, a garden, a masterful work of art, or a biblical account such as Ruth happens to be. There is, of course, a perspective from which we leave the beauty of this Book in the Library of our Bible today in order to explore other great gems of beauty from that Library of God’s Word; but, in another perspective, those who are joined in love to the people of God (living or dead) such as Ruth is to us, will not be leaving the beauty of the Woman, Ruth, or the Gospel message it incorporates. God has painted a beautiful Word-Picture for us of the Church (Ruth) and her Redeemer (Christ) in the real characters of Ruth and Boaz. Boaz was ever a perfect gentleman and compassionate master of Bethlehem-Judah. Ruth, however, was as unlikely a beneficiary of the blessings of Israel as you and I are today. She came, as we all have come, from a outcast and ungodly land (sin). She had already been married and widowed. The people of the Church, too, had fallen widow to their first spouse, Satan, whose defeat made possible our common betrothal to our new Spouse of stainless character and immense wealth – the Lord Jesus Christ.

            As we shouldered our pilgrim’s burdens and passed through the eastern gate of Bethelehem-Judah, we tarry for a long look back at the beauty of the little hamlet, the purity of the pasturelands on the hills overlooking that blessed little city, and reflect on all that we have gleaned from this Book as Ruth had gleaned from the fields of Boaz. If you are like me, you will find it difficult and saddening to leave a place that has proven so much of a blessing to your heart. But leave we must. In a few short years, more will happen in Bethlehem that will turn the world upside down. How can it be that from such a tiny corner of the earth, such immense and earth-shattering events could occur. Soon, the grandson of Ruth, King David, will be born in this blessed city, and, little more than one thousand years later, the Lord Jesus Christ, too, will be born here in perfect conformity to ancient prophecy. According to Jewish chroniclers, Ruth lived to see David on the throne of Israel. You may be sure as well that Ruth lived to see her greatest recorded descendent, Jesus Christ, born here. God is the God of the living and not the dead – let him who has wisdom understand!

            We see some particular points of salience in the progressive account of this Book:

Ruth's love, loyalty, and resolve  (1:1-22)
The setting  (1:1-5)
The decision to return with Naomi to Judah  (1:6-18)
The disgraceful return to Bethlehem  (1:19-22)
Ruth's generosity and unselfishness  (2:1-23)
The request to glean in Boaz's field  (2:1-7)
The provision of Boaz  (2:8-17)
The report to Naomi  (2:18-22)
The continued labor of Ruth  (2:23)
Ruth's appeal  (3:1-18)
The plan of Naomi for Ruth's security  (3:1-5)
The request of Ruth for Boaz to act as a kinsman-redeemer  (3:6-15)
The request of Ruth  (3:6-13)
The gift for Ruth  (3:14-15)
The report to Naomi  (3:16-18)
Ruth's great reward  (4:1-22)
The redemption of Ruth by Boaz  (4:1-12)
The option of the nearest kinsman  (4:1-5)
The refusal of the nearest kinsman  (4:6-8)
The redemption by Boaz  (4:9-12)
The marriage and prodigy of Ruth and Boaz  (4:13-17)
The genealogy of David  (4:18-22)
(above outline taken from Hannah's Bible Outlines)

In Chapter Three, we saw Ruth at the feet of Boaz on the threshing floor. Ruth has come to Bethlehem with Naomi seeking Grace and Rest. She has found both, and added to those two in service to her chosen husband.

The Church seeks, first of all, the Grace of Christ. In gaining that GRACE, she finds her REST in Christ – for the Lord Jesus Christ is our Eternal Sabbath and Passover. In finding REST, Ruth has also found the joy of service in the household of Boaz. That service is not laborious because Boaz has seen to it that Handfuls on Purpose are broadcast before Ruth as she gleans. The labors of Ruth are those of Boaz, and so the labors of the Church are those of Christ.

            The story of Boaz and Ruth is the story of Christ and His Church in microcosm.  It is a Garden of Grace in the midst of Judgment (Judges) and the rule of the kings (1 Samuel). Ruth had no claim on Boaz except by way of Naomi. She would not have come to Bethlehem except for Naomi. She is a gentile woman whose race was not well-received by the Israelites. Yet, Ruth comes to be redeemed by Boaz just as was Naomi – the Hebrew wife of Elimelech.

It is easy to draw herein a parallel between the Jew and the Gentile who were both redeemed by Christ (the Jewess being Naomi, and the Gentile being Ruth – the Church). But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:  For there is no respect of persons with God. (Romans 2:10-11))

After being confronted with his love for Ruth, Boaz wastes no time in finding the nearest kinsman to settle the matter over who will redeem Ruth and Naomi. He has a plan that works perfectly to his favor.

Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. (Ruth 4:1)

It was the custom to settle all disputes at the gate of the city. So Boaz goes to the gate and awaits the accustomed passage of the nearest kinsman-redeemer. The kinsman redeemer was the closest male relative who could purchase all of the properties from loss of those he should redeem of his family’s widowed wives.

Boaz was a very able business man who knew how to negotiate and close the deal. He would open with the advantage of redemption rather than its adverse element, but close with the unpleasant aspects thereof.  . . . he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. (Ruth 4:1-2)

Boaz made the nearest kinsman redeemer feel that he (Boaz) had no special interest in redeeming Ruth. What a deal I have for you it would seem! Boaz had brought ten men of the city as witnesses to insure the deal stuck! And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's Ruth(Ruth 4:3)

*Note Boaz does not mention the beautiful Ruth to the man! This kinsman redeemer probably has not seen Ruth.

And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. 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 beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. (Ruth 4:4)

Boaz begins by appealing to the man’s greed for land – the same greed that will finally cause him to refuse the redemption. (The law of redemption was in place to prevent the land which God had given to Israel from falling into the hands of strangers.) Boaz has enticed the man with the best of the story, but will next reveal a most unbecoming feature of the redemption.

Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. (Ruth 4:5)

This last responsibility is a bridge too far for the kinsman-redeemer. Probably unaware of the value of Ruth, he thinks of his own inheritance and his own children who would be losing out if he redeemed Ruth.

And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. (Ruth 4:6) Boaz is inwardly elated as his plan is successful. He will now seal the deal according to tradition!

Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. (Ruth 4:7-8))

And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. 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.  And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:  And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman. (Ruth 4:9-12)

            The blessings uttered by the witnesses were more profound than they understood for Ruth truly would preserve the line of Jacob as through Leah and Rachel – the whole of Israel – but by means of the womb of a gentile. So perfectly preserved was the accounted line that Jesus Christ would be accounted of the line of Boaz and Ruth – one Jewish, the other Gentile. Do you see God’s perfect plan of redemption coming into focus here?

So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. (Ruth 4:13-14)

It is important to point out, like Christ for His bride, Boaz was not ashamed of his bride, Ruth – the Moabitess gentile of a cursed race. We are all of the race of Adam and we are cursed by his blood; in fact, the last Word of the Book of the Old Testament is CURSE for the Law is a curse to us; but the last Word of the New Testament is The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Rev 22:21)

            Please observe the blessing which the women of Bethlehem convey upon Naomi, Ruth, and her seed:

Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. 15 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. (Ruth 4:14-15)

There is no name like unto that of Jesus – either in Israel or beyond. He is the most known ever born of woman. Jesus is a restorer to life of Naomi and all who sleep in the dust of the earth and know Him.  And Jesus is a nourisher of our old age. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10)

            It should be remembered that Ruth became the grandmother of Jesse, the father of David, through which the recorded line of Jesus descended.  Jesus is that Root of Jesse and that Ensign behind which the Church rallies.    It is seemingly by the magic of Grace by which Ruth, a member of the accursed Moabite Gentiles, became presumed ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.  And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,  And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab,  And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon,  And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,  And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. (Ruth 4:16-22)

Remarkable is the fact Ruth (a Gentile) gave birth to the child, and Naomi (a Jewess) nursed it. (You can’t make this stuff up! God is amazing!) This completes our cursory study of the Book of Ruth. It is the desire of the writer that this presentation will spur a greater interest in the Book of Ruth and be a means by which far greater study is made by the reader.


The Book of Ruth is a veritable Gold Mine of Scriptural and prophetic treasure for the Christian believer. God bless you!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

General Devotions, The Gate Beautiful, 29 July 2015 Anno Domini


            There are a diversity of gates in life - many are pleasant and needful to enter; others are dangerous and detrimental to our well being. There are gates of stone, of wood, of marble, of bronze, of gold, and even silver. There are even gates in the sky which pilots, on an instrument approach, refer to as the "Approach Gate" for the destination airfield. The gate we enter determines what path we take in life, in death, in business, and in every other walk of life.

            I'd like to relate a story that many of our more mature readers may remember from one of my youthful TV favorite programs - Twilight Zone! (Disclaimer - I offer no defense for any misguided theology that the story may contain.)

Dogs In Heaven?

          An old man and his dog were walking down this dirt road with fences on both sides, they came to a gate in the fence and looked in, it was nice grassy, woody areas, just what a 'huntin' dog and man would like, but, it had a sign saying 'no trespassing' so they walked on. They came to a beautiful gate with a person in white robes standing there. "Welcome to Heaven" he said. The old man was happy and started in with his dog following him. The gatekeeper stopped him. "Dogs aren't allowed, I'm sorry but he can't come with you."

          "What kind of Heaven won't allow dogs? If he can't come in, then I will stay out with him. He's been my faithful companion all his life, I can't desert him now."

          "Suit yourself, but I have to warn you, the Devil's on this road and he'll try to sweet talk you into his area, he'll promise you anything, but the dog can't go there either. If you won't leave the dog, you'll spend Eternity on this road."

          So the old man and dog went on. They came to a rundown fence with a gap in it, no gate, just a hole. Another old man was inside. "S'cuse me Sir, my dog and I are getting mighty tired, mind if we come in and sit in the shade for awhile?"

          "Of course, there's some cold water under that tree over there. Make yourselves comfortable"

          "You're sure my dog can come in? The man down the road said dogs weren't allowed anywhere."

          "Would you come in if you had to leave the dog?"

          "No sir, that's why I didn't go to Heaven, he said the dog couldn't come in.

We'll be spending Eternity on this road, and a glass of cold water and some shade would be mighty fine right about now. But, I won't come in if my buddy here can't come too, and that's final."

          The man smiled a big smile and said "Welcome to Heaven."

          "You mean this is Heaven? Dogs ARE allowed? How come that fellow down the road said they weren't?"

          "That was the Devil and he gets all the people who are willing to give up a life long companion for a comfortable place to stay. They soon find out their mistake, but then it's too late. The dogs come here, the fickle people stay there. GOD wouldn't allow dogs to be banned from Heaven. After all, HE created them to be man's companions in life, why would he separate them in death?"
- Based on the "Twilight Zone" episode "The Hunt" written by Earl Hamner Jr.

            When we look at the most commonly traveled Road of Life, we see that it is a very broad avenue filled with celebrities, famous sportsmen and women, rulers of great governments of men, abortionists, abusers of themselves with mankind, sorcerers (drug dealers), men-stealers, liars, thieves, and, here and there, quite a few preachers who represented themselves as ministers of God. Looking down that Road (for it is declining in its grade), we see far at the bottom of the path a rather wide gate into which those who follow the Road disappear and never again emerge. The name of the gate only appears on the inside rather than openly displayed at the entrance. The name is embossed on the craggy inner wall in large and flaming letters - "HELL - Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!" (Dante's Inferno). (It was very thoughtful of the Devil to place this warning on the inner wall and not the outside.)

            Fortunately for the discerning pilgrim, there is a Road Less Traveled whose attractions are not so glamorous with the world's fads and fashions. The grass on that path has not been worn down by many travelers. Moreover, its incline is upward and the path is narrow. It needs no great width since there are few who travel that upward path. It is not as full of visible and winding intrigues as the former road, but is straight and lined only with curtains of honeysuckle, grape, and wild flowers. It leads ever upward toward a Beautiful Gate that stands very Tall but not so Wide! The gates are flung open for all to see inside as they draw nearer their destination.  It very much symbolizes the Christian pilgrim who embarks on his journey on that upward, narrow path leading to the Gate Beautiful. As he draws near the shores of Jordan Waters, he can see across to the fertile land of Promise that awaits just on the other side. He can also see the name of the gate posted over its entrance: GATE BEAUTIFUL! The great poet, Robert Frost, describes two different paths in a poem:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;



Then took the other, as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,



And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.



I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

            There are many gates in Jerusalem - the Sheep Gate, the Fish Gate, the Fountain Gate, the East Gate, etc; but only one such gate has eternal implications for the pilgrim - it is the Beautiful Gate of Corinthian Bronze that stands tall and sublime at the entrance to the Temple Worship area. It is a gate of healing and salvation. Lazarus lay at the Rich Man's gate and was shunned until the angel escort came to receive his soul. Our Lord healed the body of a man at Bethesda Gate (Sheep Gate) who suffered from paralysis. It was an important gate for Christ came as a Shepherd to heal and to cure. But after He has blessed us with such compassion and salvation, we must enter in at the Beautiful Gate to praise Him and worship Him forever. (see John 5:1-16) It was at this Beautiful Gate that another paralytic was healed. Peter and John saw a man who had been paralyzed from birth being laid at this gate. The man was there to beg for morsels of bread or some small bit of silver or gold coinage. But God offers more than the glitter of the world: "Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." (Acts 3:6)

            The man had not been able to go through that Gate on his own power previously, but now he could leap with joy. When our paralyzed spirits are awakened by God, we too can jump and run into that Gate Beautiful.


Have you done so, my friends? If not, be still and listen for that resounding Voice that called to life the dead body of Lazarus in the tomb of Bethany. He can call you to life as well!

Devotion on Firsts of the Bible - First Book of the Bible named after a Woman - Part Nine – 29 July 2015, Anno Domini


… he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her …

Part Nine – Sent Away Full
  
14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor. 15 Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city. 16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. 17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law. 18 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 3:14-18)

            Ruth, as a type of the Church centered between the time of the Judges (a lawless time) and the time of the Kings (a time of too much of man's law and not enough of God's) is a fascinating narrative of virtue, loyalty, love, and God's Sovereign Grace. The modern church has fallen woefully short of the example set by Ruth in all of these qualities. We have ventured from the basis of having God as our King to social and political concerns taking His place in our spiritual lives. Political Correctness and downtrodden family morals have emerged as a new poison in our feasts of insincere worship and man-centered theology. Ruth kept a single eye to the one that her mother-n-law counseled (a foreshadowing type of the Holy Ghost), and she never turned her head to another. Moreover, she followed implicitly the counsel of Boaz just as the Church should do toward Christ.

            It has always been a sinful trait of human nature to forget the essentials of faith in One who bled and died for them, and to reach out to new and wicked sins of the flesh and appetite. Now that five black-robed infidels have declared homosexual marriage worthy of legal respect and acknowledgment, see how quickly the churches fall into line without whimper or objection. In fact, they may even rush to embrace the new licentiousness - bowing the knee to their new master, Mammon.

            There are more than a few fascinating points in these last few verses of Ruth, Chapter 3 – in fact, the entire Book offers enough fascinating facts to keep us meditating thereupon for a long while.

            The advice of Boaz to Ruth, to lie down until the morning, fell on the soil of a good heart. But that (seed which fell) on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15) Certainly, patience is a Christian virtue, and Ruth was full of every virtue. Paul expresses that patience well: But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Romans 8:25) This is the kind of patience Ruth will now demonstrate, and further show in the day following. She only has the word of her Lord of the Harvest (Boaz), but that is enough to justify her patience for she has come to know him well as one who cares for her. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)  We have the Word of our Lord, as well, and that is more than enough to justify faith. Our Lord Promised to redeem us in the fullness of time which He has done. He has promised to prepare a place for His Bride – the Church (you and me) – and He shall fulfill the pledge.

            Does there remain a rest for the saints? Of course, and it is experienced in allowing our Lord of the Sabbath to do all creative works in our lives until the Trumpet of the Lord shall sound on that great SABBATH when all work is finished and sealed!

            Enduring the night on faith alone is sometimes very difficult, but not to one whose heart is full of faith and love. Even though she waits in darkness, her Lord is near for she is at his feet. She may not SEE him, but he is right beside. God is the High Tower of Ruth to see all of her circumstances. He will work all things to her good. Boaz has promised to marry Ruth if the nearest kinsman does not redeem. The Angel of the Lord will work on the heart of the nearest kinsman redeemer to disallow his redemption of Ruth clearing the way for Boaz. Ruth’s name shall be changed to that of Boaz in due time – it is certain. She will wait during the dark hours and arise early with her reward.  As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. (Psalms 17:15) Marriage means taking on the likeness of one’s spouse for they two shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24) And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.

            God’s great works are done in and by Him for us. Sometimes the surest way to allow God’s work to be done is for us to simply get out of the way and stop trying, by our own power, to accomplish what He is best able to do.  Their strength is to sit still. (Isa 30:7b) This will be the case with Ruth. Ruth did not commune with Boaz, the Lord of the Harvest, in vain. One never goes away empty who communes with the Lord of the Harvest. Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city. Those who come to the Lord of the Harvest will leave full just as the five thousand who were fed, from pitifully small portions, by Jesus; and the four thousand who were fed by seven loaves and two fishes.  

            Read an interesting comment by Adam Clarke on the numbers of measure to which the Book refers: If the omer be meant, which is about six pints, the load would not be so great, as this would amount to but about four gallons and a half; a very goodly present. The Targum says, that on receiving these six measures it was said in the spirit of prophecy, that from her should proceed the six righteous persons of the world, viz., David, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and the King Messiah; each of whom should be blessed with six benedictions. It is, however, remarkable, that the Targum makes the Messiah to spring from her through the line of David, and goes down to Daniel and his companions; which Daniel prophesied so clearly, not only of the advent of Messiah the prince, but also of the very time in which he was to come, and the sacrificial death he was to die.—Adam Clarke's Commentary. I consider it remarkable for the Jews did not recognize the Messiah when He sprang forth though they clearly taught of Him. (JLO)

            Note the searching greeting of Naomi: And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? There is beautiful truth couched in the inquiry of Naomi. She readily admits Ruth to always be her daughter, but Who else is she now? Is she the betrothed of Boaz yet? No, but she is as nearly betrothed to Boaz as he can make her to be under the present circumstances; however, he wastes no daylight hours in securing the matter as we shall soon see. We are our old carnal selves until we have taken upon us the Name of Christ – then we are new creatures in Him. We bear His Name and likeness forevermore!

            And she told her all that the man had done to her. This has no reference to some carnal or immoral act, but all the kindness and generosity with which Boaz has treated Ruth, and his strong promise. And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law. When a man loves a woman, he loves all of the trappings and kin that are attached to her.  The world saw Ruth as a stranger among the people of Bethlehem – a woman from Moab; but God sees, even at this moment, in Ruth the wife of Boaz, mother of Obed, of Jesse, of David, and eventually Jesus Christ! How marvelous are the works of God and beyond our finding out! Boaz sees clearly the same vision – Ruth will become his bride if he has his way…..and he will!

            Naomi is quite the judge of character, for she has analyzed that character of Boaz to the fullest: 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. It was quite true that Naomi recognized, from all that Ruth had told her, that Boaz was madly in love with Ruth. There are no barriers that will stay the waters of love from flowing and coursing through the dunes and deserts of impossible odds. Boaz will set about, without a minute’s waste of daylight, to settle the issue with the nearest kinsman. He will be wise and subtle in his deliberations with him – not confiding the beauty and character of Ruth to the nearest kinsman, only the undesirable consequences to the nearest kinsman of redeeming Naomi and Ruth. He appeals to the man’s baser character and greed to preserve his inheritance untarnished by the claims of a relative’s son.


            The next chapter is full of beauty and meaning which are a fitting climax to a wonderful story of love, redemption, and Gospel Shadows for the future Lord of the Harvest….and of the world.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hymns of the Church – It is Well with My Soul – 28 July 2015, Anno Domini

This post by Rev Hap Arnold is on the same hymn Bishop Jerry covered last year in THIS POSTING, you might like to read both.
It is Well with My Soul

Many of us have need of God’s guidance to let our souls accept the peace of our Lord Jesus that is freely given us, yet we have a hard time accepting.   Each of us has a tendency, some more some less, to believe our actions are primary to the outcome of our lives.  To some extent this is true, Jesus call us to action, not mere diction.  But we need to recognize where our duty to act ends and our duty to trust begins.  This hymn more than any other with which I am familiar makes that point.  The tune is Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel, by Phillip Bliss.

The writer Horatio Spafford experienced the action trust dilemma as much as anyone can do.  He was a prominent Chicago attorney and real estate investor in the late 1800s. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 ruined him financially, as most of his holdings were destroyed.  His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873, at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a another vessel, Loch Earn, with a loss or 226 people including all four of Spafford's daughters. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone …".

As Spafford sailed to England to join his wife following the accident, he wrote It Is Well With My Soul – crossing the ocean where he’d just lost his daughters and probably passing near the same area.

The Spaffords later had three more children; their son, Horatio Goertner Spafford, died at the age of four, of scarlet fever. Their daughters were Bertha Hedges Spafford and Grace Spafford. In 1881, the Spaffords, including baby Bertha and newborn Grace, set sail for Ottoman-Turkish Palestine. The Spaffords settled in Jerusalem and helped found a group called the American Colony. Colony members, later joined by Swedish Christians, engaged in philanthropic work among the people of Jerusalem regardless of their religious affiliation and without proselytizing motives—thereby gaining the trust of the local Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. During and immediately after World War I, the American Colony played a critical role in supporting these communities through the great suffering and deprivations by running soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable ventures. Horatio Spafford died from malaria days before his 60th birthday.

No matter what our current state, Horatio Spafford gently prods us to remember all that is really important is that it is well with my soul.  No matter the slings and arrows of this life, there is nothing, nothing that matters compared to the fact that with our Lord’s gift of grace and help, it is well with my soul.  When you read or hear the hymn, think of the picture painted in those words.  Put your trust in God as you hear…

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
Refrain

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
Refrain

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
Refrain

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
Refrain

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Walk through the hymn slowly. 

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

No matter, peace or turmoil, with God in our hearts, it will be well with our soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

No matter the trials and tribulations of this world, take full assurance that our Lord knows our hopelessness and helplessness and has shed His very own blood that it might be well with our soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

We are accounted as perfect, not in part, but in whole.   Not setting aside some of our sin, but every last bit.  It is nailed firmly to the Cross from where it cannot leave.   It is separated from us.  Thanks be to God!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

We live in Christ for ever more.  No matter if the River Jordan is over us or we over it, we live none the less, no fear of what others might believe to be death.  For us there is only life and peace in our soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

While we wait here on earth for the end of our time, ours or that of the earth matter not to us.  For our end is never ending in heaven, not the Pit or the grave.  We look to the trumpet blast of the angels, not the deathly quiet of the grave.

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

We look forward with great expectation for that day we see heaven and not just think about it.  We look forward to the clouded vision clearing to brightness and the sights and sounds of our Lord.

Until then:


It is well with my soul!