A shining example of faithfulness

The short book of Ruth introduces us to a family from Bethlehem who moved to Moab due to a famine in Israel.

“During the time of the judges, there was a famine in the land. A man left Bethlehem in Judah with his wife and two sons to stay in the territory of Moab for a while. The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife’s name was Naomi. The names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They entered the fields of Moab and settled there. Naomi’s husband Elimelech died, and she was left with her two sons. Her sons took Moabite women as their wives: one was named Orpah and the second was named Ruth. After they lived in Moab about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two children and without her husband” (Ruth 1:1-5 CSB). Continue reading “A shining example of faithfulness”

Names from the past

“Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth” (1 Chronicles 1:1–4 NIV).

Names. Genealogies. People who lived long ago.

These usually don’t mean much to us. In fact, we probably think these are the most boring parts of scripture and perhaps we even skip over them when we read them. The Reader’s Digest Condensed Bible left them out as being irrelevant. Continue reading “Names from the past”

They did what was right in their own eyes

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6 ESV).

This statement introduces an episode concerning a Levite from Bethlehem who was looking for a different place to live. He ended up in the hill country of Ephraim, just north of Bethlehem. There a man named Micah hired him to be his own personal priest. This man had made an idol and his own shrine for worship. Originally one of his sons served as his priest but when he had the opportunity to have a Levite as his own personal priest he jumped at the chance (see Judges 17). Continue reading “They did what was right in their own eyes”

Don’t forsake God

“The people worshipped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and during the lifetimes of the elders who outlived Joshua. They had seen all the Lord’s great works he had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110. They buried him in the territory of his inheritance, in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. That whole generation was also gathered to their ancestors. After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works he had done for Israel. The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshipped the Baals and abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed other gods from the surrounding peoples and bowed down to them. They angered the Lord, for they abandoned him and worshiped Baal and the Ashtoreths” (Judges 2:7-13 CSV). Continue reading “Don’t forsake God”

Fear God and give him glory

“Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, and he had an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He declared in a loud voice: ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has arrived, and worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water!’” (Revelation 14:6-7 NET).

John’s Revelation is not the most straightforward scripture. There are many explanations and interpretations, some of which have merit and some are more in the realms of fantasy. But whatever interpretation we want to place on it, there are some eternal truths that we can see in the word-pictures that John used to paint a picture for us. Continue reading “Fear God and give him glory”

Hold true to God’s word

There is such a contrast between the two letters of Peter. The first letter was written to Christians beginning to go through persecution. It was a letter of encouragement, of hope. Despite what they were going through they needed to remember Jesus who endured suffering as well.

The second letter, written a couple of years later, was encouragement of a different type. This time, the encouragement was to remain true to God’s word and not to be led astray by false teachers. Continue reading “Hold true to God’s word”

Like the top of a rock

An arrangement of three large boulders is huddled among my Rudbeckias and Helianthus, their tops shining white in the morning sun. At summer’s end, gathering seeds from the flowers for next year, I found the middle stone to be a nice place to spread them out to dry.

It’s a cozy place to do some garden tasks, or just sit and reflect. I can’t imagine the east garden without them.

What if your home or city was spoken against, and you were warned that it would become a bare rock? A place where fishermen spread their nets to dry? Continue reading “Like the top of a rock”

Show, don’t tell

“Show, don’t tell.” This basic principle rules the writing world. It makes life easier, also. To teach a man to fish, he must see you fishing. Personal-development guru Anthony Robbins wrote in his 1991 book, Awaken the Giant Within,

If you’re not sure how to get yourself out of pain and to feel pleasure as a replacement to your smoking, drinking, worrying, or other undesirable emotion or behavior, you can simply find the answers by modeling people who have turned things around for themselves. Find people who have made the lasting changes; I guarantee you’ll find that they had an alternative to replace the old behavior (p. 135).

The Bible both tells and shows. It communicates the message of truth and gives us visual lessons, both positive and negative, on how to be holy. Examples abound from beginning to end. All the great virtues shine in flesh-and-blood people throughout the pages of Scripture. Continue reading “Show, don’t tell”

The land of rest

“And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the LORD and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. And Aaron was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor” (Numbers 33:38-39 ESV).

The Israelites had been without a home for years. Forty years earlier, on the fifteenth day of the first month (Numbers 33:3), they had left Egypt after the ten plagues had culminated with the Passover. They had been “on the road” since that time, in essence “living out of suitcases.” They had no home of their own and were living in tents. They were now into the fortieth year since leaving Egypt. Continue reading “The land of rest”