All posts by Kimberly

Ruth: Loyal Daughter-in-Law

Today’s devotion will focus on Ruth.

Listen to this segment: “Ruth: Loyal Daughter-in-Law (2nd of 10 in the Women of the Bible series)” on Anchor.

What’s the Book of Ruth about?

Ruth means ‘lovely friend’.

People often think the Book of Ruth is just a pretty love story. It’s not. It’s an outcry account against some of the severe laws passed in Israel at the time – the ‘purity laws’ of Ezra and Nehemiah.ruth image

These laws banned Jewish men from marrying non-Jewish women and commanded Jewish men to divorce their non-Jewish wives.

Many people disagreed. They said a woman’s worth was in her actions, not her blood-line. Boaz agreed. He knew Ruth was from Moab, not Israel, but he loved her and married her anyhow.

It’s awesome he did: she was loyal, hard-working, and generous – and gave him a great-grandson who was Israel’s hero, King David.

Ruth’s story

Even though there was protesting against the laws; the text of the Book of Ruth is, still, one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible.

  • It’s about loyalty: to God, to family, to each other.
  • Ruth wasn’t the sort of heroine you’d expect: Ruth is a foreigner, not even an Israelite – which meant a lot at that time.

Notwithstanding of this, Ruth survived and thrived. It’s just as well she did because it was vital for the future of Israel. Ruth’s great-grandson will be David, king of Israel, founder of a royal dynasty.

The story of Ruth has four parts

  1. Naomi and Ruth go to Bethlehem – the grief of losing someone you love.
    Naomi and Ruth suffered terrible misfortune: the men in their family, including both their husbands, died. Deserted in Moab, the older woman Naomi decided to return to her home in Bethlehem. Ruth, though a Moabite herself, chose to go with her. She vowed her loyalty to Naomi and they set out on the long journey, arriving in time for the barley harvest.
  2. Ruth meets Boaz – a love story.
    Soon after, Ruth met Boaz, a rich land-owner, and relative of Naomi. It seems to have been love at first sight for him, and he commanded that Ruth be well attended to when she worked in his fields. The older woman Naomi saw immediately what had happened, and encouraged Ruth to continue working in Boaz’s fields.
  3. Ruth proposes marriage to Boaz.
    Cleverly, Naomi notified the young woman how to catch her man. Ruth addressed Boaz during the night, on the threshing floor, and the text crookedly hints that there may have been some intimate mischief. The next morning, Ruth recommended that they marry, reminding Boaz of his responsibility to her as her nearest male family. Boaz promised to do all he could.
  4. Ruth and Boaz marry – a happy ending.
    Naomi’s plan worked. Boaz demonstrated good on his word, and he and Ruth were married. She had a son called Obed, and Naomi cared for the child, who would grow up to be the grandfather of King David.

What are the chief points of Ruth’s story?

  • Friendship: Ruth was poor and a foreigner, but she listened to the counsel of an older, wiser woman. In turn, Naomi was honored by Ruth’s steadfast loyalty. The message? Courage and ability triumph over hardship.
  • Family: The story of Ruth honors the family and the way it continues through many generations. Ruth, a childless widow at the beginning of the story, became the great-grandmother of Israel’s great king, David.
  • God’s plan: The story of Naomi’s family and the way it remained is a common theme. Even Ruth, a foreigner from the detested Moabites, could move God’s plan towards accomplishment.

Ruth has special importance for Christians: Matthew’s gospel lists four women who were ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1:2-17). Ruth is one of them.

Life Lessons from Ruth

  • Ruth’s promise to Naomi is one of the most beautiful declarations of commitment in Scripture (Ruth 1:16-17).
  • Her obedience to Yahweh God brought rich rewards (4:10-17).

Do you have rich rewards from your obedience to Yahweh God? If not, why? If so, praise His Holy Name. Share with us.

Why be obedient to Yahweh? What’s the importance of it?

Comment and let’s interact. Or, if you prefer, send me feedback in the contact form below:

Mary: A Virgin Mother

Listen to segment 1 of “Trinity Tidbits: 1st (Mary) of 10 amazing women of the Bible!” on Anchor: Episode 1: Mary: Mother of Jesus.

Today’s devotion will focus on Mary of Nazareth.

Mary of Nazareth image
Mary of Nazareth

What do we know about Mary? The audio episode linked above tells a little bit about her. When you listen to the audio you’ll know a little information.

Mary spoke Aramaic. She lived with extended family. The nuclear family of today honestly didn’t exist. It wouldn’t have worked. There were too many chores that needed several people working together.

When she was about 11 or 12 years old, Mary began to menstruate. This meant she was of marriageable age, in Aramaic a betulah. The corresponding word in Hebrew, the ancient language of religious texts, is almah.

The first menstruation was a big milestone in any girl’s life, and in Mary’s case, it would have been celebrated with a party – to let everyone know she was now ready for marriage.

Now that Mary’s menstrual periods had started, serious consideration was given to the choice of a husband.

Mary’s whole family joined in the selection of an appropriate husband. After all, it was something that would affect them all, because of the nuclear family lifestyle they lived.

Joseph, Mary’s prospective husband; he was a young man, not much older than she was, and well-regarded by the people of Nazareth. We know this because Matthew’s gospel calls him ‘just’ or ‘righteous’.

The betrothal was a formal agreement to marry, settled with the transfer of property from the young man to the girl. The betrothal of a young couple had to be public, witnessed by many people. At this stage, there was no sexual contact.

During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. Luke 1:26-27

Mary was pregnant. What’s following? The next thing we know, Mary was pregnant. Her normal menstrual periods stopped. This can be hidden for quite a while in the modern world. But in Mary’s time, when a whole family lived and slept in one or two rooms, the fact that a young girl’s periods had ceased was noticed immediately.

In the conservative Jewish family Mary belonged to, her pregnancy meant severe embarrassment if not outright disgrace to herself and all her family.

This is human thinking:

These are the facts we know:

  • Mary was pregnant.
  • There had to be a human father.
  • She was frightened, her family embarrassed, and the man, whoever he is, could not be named.

So who was he? There are several theories. Only theories.

Shocking as the idea may be, he may have been a member of her own family. Statistics in the modern world show that pregnancies with an unnamed father usually come from the girl being interfered with by an older male relative. Probably not much has changed in two thousand years. This is one possibility, however distasteful, that has to be faced.

Was Mary the rape victim of a Roman soldier?

Another theory, quite well argued, is that the father of her baby was a Roman soldier posted at a nearby army station. On the face of it, this sounds unlikely, something you’d read in an offensive tabloid. But there are some facts that make the theory at least probable:

  1. Nazareth, where Mary lived, is only a few miles from Sepphoris, the capital of Galilee (see top left of the map at right). It was much more advanced than little Nazareth, and there were Roman soldiers stationed there. Mary and the other residents of Nazareth certainly came into contact with these soldiers at various times.
  2. Sepphoris is in the north of Galilee
    Sepphoris is in the north of Galilee.

    At around about the time that Jesus was conceived, a great many of Galilee was in an open uprising against Roman rule. This uprising followed immediately after the death of Herod the Great in 4BCE.  Sepphoris, only four miles from Nazareth, was the center of the uprising in Galilee. The royal palace there was attacked and robbed (Josephus, Ant.17, 10.5/271-72). The whole area was a breeding ground of raging discontent against the Roman occupation.

  3. In the cleaning up processes after the rebellion, the Roman general Gaius burned Sepphoris and sold its residents into slavery. Remember that Sepphoris was less than four miles from Nazareth. Some of this violence and disorder must have been felt in Nazareth, only an hour’s walk away.
  4. Is it too much of a stretch of the imagination to think that in this situation a young girl may have been raped by a soldier from nearby Sepphoris? Any Roman soldier stationed in the backblocks [the outback] of Galilee would have been the riffraff, socially speaking, of an army already noted for its savageness – a ‘kill first then let’s talk’ policy was what had built the Roman Empire.
  5. Early Jewish writings (the Baraitha and Tosefta, written about 150-200AD) openly talk about Yeshu the Nazarene, who was the son of a Roman soldier called Pantera. ‘Yeshu’ is the original Semitic word for ‘Jesus’. Though it may, of course, be pure coincidence, a monument was also found of a ‘Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera of Sidon, aged 62, a soldier of 40 years’ service, of the 1st cohort of archers’. Jesus, during his short career as a philosopher/teacher, makes an otherwise unexplained trip to Sidon, detouring quite out of his way to go there. (Mark 7.31) It seems a strange thing to do unless he has some connection to the place.

So a Roman soldier as the father of Mary’s unborn baby is a possibility. No more than a possibility, but at least that.

Mary visits Elizabeth

It’s at this stage of her pregnancy that Mary went away to stay with a reputable cousin, Elizabeth. It’s not known which relative she was. It was possibly done for her own safety.

Mary returned to Nazareth and Joseph takes responsibility and asks Mary to marry him.

I’ll end this post with that. However, let’s go back to the audio episode linked at the top. What can we take away from Mary and her actions?

  • Mary modeled an attitude of obedience and trust.

When we take on the attitude of obedience and trust what happens? Where does it lead us?

Comment or send me a message using the contact form:

Trinity Tidbits

 

This is a new element I’m adding to the ministry.

I will call it: Trinity Tidbits. I will post once a week!

For the next 10 weeks, I’ll talk about 10 amazing women of the Bible.

Today’s episode: Mary of Nazareth: Mother of Jesus.

Check out the radio station on Anchor and help it climb to the top charts!

Trinity Digital Ministry: Trinity Tidbits

A Practical Prophet

Micah 6_8 image

Micah tells of Yahweh’s expectations of we humans.

Known as the “practical prophet,” Micah states plainly what God expects of man: to do rightly of others, to love kindness, and to live humbly with & obey Yahweh. His plain and effective communication gained esteem and honor.

We all have expectations, of ourselves and each others. Think about it. How do your expectations line up with Yahweh’s?

We’re very busy making ourselves what we want. What about what Yahweh wants? How are we busy with making ourselves line up with Yahweh? Or, are we at all?

Living rightly, being kind, and living humbly obeying Yahweh will bring more blessings into our lives than we can imagine. We need to get vertically aligned with Yahweh. How do we do that?

Here’s what scripture says:

Galatians 5:16-18 So I tell you: Live by following the Spirit. Then you will not do what your sinful selves want. Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so you cannot do just what you please. But if the Spirit is leading you, you are not under the law.

The key to living in spiritual alignment is to remove anything satan uses to control you. I know, it sounds complicated. However, it’s not.

Some tools to help:

  • Get into The Word
  • Prayer works wonders (sincerely spending time with Yahweh and asking Him to lead you and use you, not the other way around.)
  • Praise & Worship
  • Fellowship with like-minded believers

Where do you find yourself today? Apply these tools and let go of your human nature wants that aren’t in line with Yahweh. How’s that working for you?

Would you like to connect with me? Need prayer? Contact me below in the form:

Disciple Making

Matthew 28:27-29 image

Surely, this is a Great Commission! The principal verb of command in the original language isn’t “go” but “make disciples.” Accomplishing the Great Commission commands us to be making disciples, not just deciders. It means baptizing believers and to teach them to obey all Christ commanded. Obedience is the purpose of Christ’s Great Commission. Only doers of His word are true disciples (Matt. 7:21; John 8:31).

There’s a different way that this is a Great Commission. Originally, Jesus told His disciples to go just to “the lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 10:6). Except now He charges them to go to all the nations (ethnic groups). With faithful disciples in barely half of the twenty-four thousand “nations,” an enormous amount continues to be done in achieving this Great Commission.

Do you agree this sounds like a “mission impossible”? It would be if it weren’t for Christ’s promise to be with those who go and make disciples in all nations. With the command is the promise. His attendance makes it achievable.

Who’s ready to accept the “mission impossible” challenge? If not, why? What’s holding you back? What’s stopping you?

Comment and let’s chat.

You can send me a message or prayer request here:

His Gift: Good Works Through Salvation by His Grace

Ephesians 2:8-10 image
We were made to do His Good Work. His Gift of salvation makes us who we are.

We are unable in and of ourselves to save ourselves. There’s not one iota we can do to save ourselves.

Because of our salvation, we do good works. We do it because we want to; not because we have to. We hunger for it!

How does that look in your life? Comment, let’s chat about it.

Send me a message; a prayer request using the form below:

Yahweh’s Mercy

Jonah 4:2 image
Jonah is the best known of the Minor Prophets, probably because of the whale tale. Except that the intent of the book is not about the whale but about the unsympathetic prophet. Jonah was a prophet sent to inform a Gentile nation. However, he ran away! Why?

Jonah ran away from Yahweh’s call because he knew what the God of Israel was really like! It’s true, whether or not you agree. Why, if he went and informed those idolatrous Gentiles, Yahweh might save them! To Jonah, they were the enemy. No doubt, Yahweh would not save them!

Because of a second chance, Jonah went, resentfully. And just like Yahweh said would happen, Nineveh repented. Yahweh advised. And Jonah was mad. In v. 11 Yahweh asked, “Shouldn’t I feel sorry for this important city, Nineveh?” Yahweh loves pagan city-dwelling Ninevites.

Do we? Like Jonah, we may know Yahweh is “gracious, merciful, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness.” How are we reflecting His heart toward the hated and violent “Ninevites” in our towns? How are we fulfilling His appeal to go to them and teach His word of repentance and forgiveness?

But wait! How can we fulfill His appeal to us to go to the pagans and teach His word of repentance and forgiveness while we’re like Jonah running away? We need to stop running away and stand up for Yahweh and His Good News of the Gospel.

Who’s with me? Comment and let me know how this looks in your life.

Need prayer? Send a request using the form below:

Intercessory Prayer

Daniel 9_20-21 image

It’s phenomenal nonetheless awe-inspiring: Yahweh petitions us to collaborate with Him, to battle for what He purposes. Therefore prophetic achievement can be trained on human response. Daniel is an example. Knowing from Jeremiah’s prophecy that seventy years was to be the extent of the imprisonment of Yahweh’s people (Jer. 25:12; 29:10), Daniel humbled himself to be a co-worker in intercessory prayer with this prophecy.

So Daniel writes that “while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God,” the angel Gabriel was sent to liberate Yahweh’s restorative hope for His people (Dan. 9:20–23). So, Israel’s move back to the Promised Land took place as promised by the prophet Jeremiah.

What if Daniel hadn’t prayed? What if Yahweh hadn’t found anyone to “stand in the gap” (Ezek. 20:30, 31 )? Will you be one who co-labors with Yahweh’s promises to see the accomplishment of His saving plans for this age? If not, why not? If so, why so? Comment and let’s chat about what that looks like.

While the cost of serving Yahweh is vast, the blessings considerably exceed any difficulties. Who’s ready to receive blessings? Comment and let’s chat about it.

Need prayer? Send it to me via this form below.