In today’s reading we can read about those who did not hold certain teachings in Thyatira. In the reading of Isaiah 45 we also hear about false teachings, the folly of the “idols” humans make and
“carry about … and keep praying to a god that cannot save” (verse 20).
So many in these days, have “idols”, be it their sports gods or film or music entertainment gods, they carry about and which constantly occupy their attention – but they can only communicate with fellow mortals – not with the immortal God and his redeeming Son!
In yesterday’s daily bible reading we could see Naomi who said unto her two daughters in law to return each to her mother’s house. Ruth, a widow and childless whose emotions paralleled Naomi’s, clave unto her.
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.(Ruth 1:15)
In this example we can see the way that the love these women had for each other was causing the grief that hampered the decisions. How well we can relate to situations like this. When they happen, which way do we choose? Ps.125:5, Matt.13:20-21, Josh.24:15-20.
Ruth, Naomi and Obed. Pen and brown ink over pencil on paper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ruth loved Naomi so much that she gave up everything she ever had or could have for her love of Naomi. She said,
“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God … may the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
Ruth was someone Naomi could rely on. Ruth stayed with Naomi through all her troubles. Together they were able to support each other and with Ruth’s promise of commitment, Naomi would be confident that she would not get up and leave her destitute at a whim.
Ruth was not afraid to go onto the fields to pick up leftover grain (Matt 15:26-28) in hopes of finding marriage working in the field of “Boaz” (according to The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible means “in him is strength”), Naomi’s late husband’s “kinsman” Heb. “yada” (3045) meaning “kinsman, familiar friend”; v4,8,9,22 Boaz is a Godly man, based on his greeting, and is protective of Ruth; v10-12 Boaz notes her character and it is likely he was the Gentile Rahab’s son; v14-16 they share bread and wine and he helps and encourages her like Christ does for us and we are to do for each other; v18 Ruth is kind and shares with Naomi; v20 “kinsmen” Heb. “ga’al” (1350) meaning “to redeem, redeemer, ransom, to be next of kin, deliver, purchase”, etc. and this coupled with Boaz showing “kindness” Heb. “chesed” (2617) means “kindness, mercy”, etc. to the living and the dead both Jew and Gentile perhaps suggests Boaz is a type of Christ. Some of the above was gleaned from Judges and Ruth by H.A.Whittaker p205-235.
While the decision to leave her family and homeland was a big decision, it was encompassed by many small, selfless decisions and tireless devotion that gave Ruth the reputation she received.
Ruth’s devotion to Naomi is a very practical example of the devotion we should have for our Lord. As she pledged herself to Naomi, Ruth said,
“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will
go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death
separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
Hannah who longed for a child, considered somewhat in the same vein as a leper – outcast and cursed, was also a woman not fearing her adversaries who could have mocked at her weeping and praying.
God heard Hannah’s prayer and gave her the son she had prayed for. We can learn from Hannah’s prayer. We can make our prayers heartfelt. We can forget what others might think about our prayers and pray between us and God alone. Let us pour out our soul to the Lord and our prayers will be effective too.
Hannah developed faith, and her desperate circumstances, are all in the purpose of God in order to bring about a man devoted entirely to His service. This man, Samuel, was going to prepare the way for David and ultimately become his tutor in the ways of Jehovah God. The Most High was providing the bedrock for David so that he in turn could provide for Jesus, and He was doing it through Hannah’s suffering!
Illuminated manuscript depicting Elkanah and his two wives, c.1430
When we look at Elkanah and his family how they began their morning, we can see that they arose and worshipped before the Most High Host of hosts and then went back to their home at Ramah. (1Sam 1:19) For Elkanah and his family, worship was a priority. It was something to do first thing in the morning. Worship was not something to be left until later in the day – if they got around to it. It was an essential part of living and it was important to them that God received the first and best part of the day.
We have seen in the ancient writings that each member of the house of Jacob found himself in – being cared for by the Divine Creator from the cradle to the grave, being carried and delivered.
Though we also can see there where many who preferred to call on elements of nature and who wanted to have gods they could see. Those man made gods that couldn’t see, hear, walk or even speak at all where favoured above the Most High God. We also can see that instead of giving them extra strength, those gods were more a burden on the people with having to carry them everywhere. Instead of giving them extra power their god used up the power of a horse and chariot as they transported it into battle. And instead of giving them security they had to guard their god to make sure no one stole it.
Today’s gods are no different.
We also can see that those gods could not care much for those who where praying and offering to them. Ruth, Hannah, David and many others had a God Who could do so much more. They could count on their God Who should also be our God.
God asserts His uniqueness as a God,
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, (Isaiah 46:9King James Version)
In ancient times as well now we can see many who did not want to trust that Divine Creator and have no hope in Him.
In our days we have to make sure we are dressed with the right spiritual garments, not fearing those people who mock with us because we want to worship that God of Israel. We should not be afraid to show others that we belong to the few that prefer to walk with God in neatness or purity, even if those around us fail to do so. This is very important aspect of working out our own salvation. If we have people around us that are dragging us down to a lower spiritual lifestyle, then we should notice that and readjust our lives back to where we know they should be. Matt.10:11, Luke 20:35, 21:26, 2Thess.1:5.
We must make sure that we do not fall asleep in these times of trials, where many do try to get believers in God to stumble.
In the last two verses at the end of Jude’s short epistle we can read
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
With faith in these words firmly fixed in our hearts and minds, we will “Fear not, nor be afraid”.
Jesus told Peter, James and John that the best way to stay awake was to watch and pray. (Mark 14 v 38). So let’s wake up from our sleep (Rev 3:3 + v.2,5), exercise our sleepy spiritual muscles, watch ourselves so that we don’t fall asleep again, watch for the signs of the return of Jesus, and pray that we will not fall into temptation.
Preceding: Ruth having reason to grief