Ruth 3

What is going on in Ruth 3? Is there a moral lesson for us? How about this;

  1. Do what is asked of you.
  2. Be submissive, yielded, willing, and take direction.
  3. Put yourself into action and submit, do as Ruth did, and Naomi did, and as Boaz did.

Again though, that is putting you and me at the centre of this, making us the main character in this story, and essentially we’re then saying that the Bible is really about us. But, we know it’s not, don’t we?

So, where is Jesus in this?

Well, Ruth called out to be saved in v.9,

So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

Ruth 3.6-9

Ruth here then is living out the truth that redemption is found under the protection of the wings, being in the care of, submitting to, the redeemer. This brings safety, security, and salvation.

This has been a consistent message from Genesis to Revelation, maybe it is easier to see in some places than others, but that’s ok, more light is shone on this as we move along the bigger picture of the Bible. But, at the core, the truth has always been the same – call on the name of the Lord to be saved; call out, ask, seek, knock, trust.

One place that it is really clear and that helps us understand what Ruth has done here, and what you can do, is in the book of Joel, one of the Minor Prophets.

In Joel, we are reading a prophesy, a future prediction about the Day of the Lord. Joel writes on a couple of variations of it, ready?; 

  • The day is past, being experienced in a plague of locusts and in a natural drought and famine in 1.2-12
  • The day is current or imminent, the day was to be carried out by an enemy military force in 2.1-11
  • The day is future: immediately in the salvation of Jerusalem from current problems, long term, in the giving of the Spirit of God on all people and the deliverance of all who call on the name of the Lord, and ultimate in the eternal holiness of Jerusalem, protected from its enemies in 2.28-32 and 3.

In the future day of great judgement (end of the world type stuff) God says to His people Israel look, 

return to me with all your heart,

with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

and rend your hearts and not your garments.”

Return to the LORD your God,

for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;

and he relents over disaster.

Later in ch.2 we read that at this time of universal judgement, those Spirit-empowered, faith-filled, Redeemer-trusting people will be saved, will be redeemed. Now, Joel 2 is not a blanket truth; we don’t need to pretend we are the people of Joel 2, because we are not the people of Israel, are we, but, the principle within that pledge is so applicable and true; 

call on the name of the Lord to be saved, ask, seek, knock, 

as Ruth said, “Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 

See, no matter how much evil there is in the world, no matter how far from God we think we may be, no matter how desperate the situation may be in which we find ourselves, no matter if we are childless widows from a different country, no matter the current state of the world or your life, God has already provided the solution, God has already provided a way out.

This solution came, He lived, He died, He rose again, and He ascended, at which time He sent another solution, another solution of the same kind. The Holy Spirit comes alongside us, to abide in us, to walk with us.

Ruth called out and said

Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer. 

Joel says to God’s people of the OT

The sunlight will be turned to darkness

and the moon to the colour of blood,

before the day of the LORD comes–

that great and terrible day! 

It will so happen that

everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered.

Paul says to the believers in Rome

…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

… because…

“everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

I’m saying to you today, now, that the same God who redeemed Ruth from a desperate and dire situation through the person and work of Boaz, is the same God who Joel says promises to redeem His people who call out to Him on the future Day of the Lord, is the same God who Paul is saying will answer the prayer of salvation from the believers in Rome, and is the same God that stands ready to redeem you if you call on His Name and take refuge in Him through faith in the person and work of Jesus. 


For more on the Minor Prophets, check out this daily devotional walkthrough!

https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-minor-prophets-day-by-day/id1519395811

Simeon and Salvation

Lets set the scene – so here is young Jesus, baby Jesus, and He is taken to temple (Luke2.22-23). This is before the wise men arrived, and His earthly parents offer the required sacrifice as part of the dedication ceremony for families that could not afford a lamb (v.24)., and in Luke 2.25-35 we read 

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;

 for my eyes have seen your salvation

 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.””

So here is Simeon, waiting for the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Consolation of Israel, and he takes up Jesus in his arms. He blesses God, he loves this baby despite only just having met him, so to speak, because he knows who He is, and what He is bringing…salvation.

Simeon knew that this was salvation for all, notice with me what he said…

…my eyes have seen your salvation

that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

All people, not just Israel, not just Jews, but Gentiles too, salvation is here for everyone through this person.

Though Mary and Joseph had been told that their Son was the Messiah (Matthew 1.21), perhaps they had not properly understood the global scale of what this child would accomplish.

Jesus was then, and is now, and always will be, God’s salvation.

Simeon saw, and Simeon knew. Simon knew that he saw the Lord’s salvationa light for revelation, and the glory of God. I wonder if you have ever seen Jesus like that, as your own personal salvation, as a revelation of who God is, as the glory of God walking and talking in human flesh.

If you have, then this Christmas do everything you can in your own words and ways to manifest that to others, to show others what you believe.

If you haven’t, all it takes is faith; believe Him, believe in Him, put your trust in Him, and the gift you will receive this Christmas will be the best gift ever, the gift you need the most, forgiveness and life eternal. 

Eggs; the inner egg and the outer shell

In Romans 8.2 we read that the law of the Spirit of life has set us free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. We are no longer bound by meticulous religious rules covering everything from our dietary intake to our haircut (good news for some…).

This freedom is liberating, we are now bound only to live the life of the Spirit, in the Spirit, for Christ. If we want to mix milk and meat in a meal, that’s fine. If we want to cut our hair short on the sides and round off the corners of our beards, that’s fine. If you want a tattoo, or to pierce your ears, fine too. If the ladies don’t want to wear a head covering in church, that’s fine too. We are no longer under the law as a heavy yoke, which invariably we would break, which leads to sin, which leads to death. Bad. Now we are living under the Spirit of life. Good.

This means, in a strange sort of way, we are like an egg.

We are free to associate with whoever we want, go wherever we want, eat and drink whatever we want, watch anything we want on the tellybox, be friends with anyone we want. Jesus was not concerned with His outer shell or its appearance, was He? He hung out with some pretty down and dirty people during His incarnational ministry (His time on earth living as fully God and fully man, incarnation literally means ‘in the flesh’).

Like a toddler at meal times, Jesus’ outer egg shell was covered with all sorts of things that people thought it should not be; don’t talk to her, don’t touch them, don’t stay at his house…

Jesus trashed His outer shell, ultimately breaking it for us, but never compromised His inner self.

Therein lies the lesson for us; we are free from the law as a heavy yoke and now have a wonderful liberty as Christians. But, as Jesus ultimately broke His body for our benefit, we need to use our liberty for love, for the benefit of others, not to simply have a good time. 

So yes, we are free to eat, drink, watch whatever we want, but the bigger Christian principles still apply; who is being glorified through what you are doing? Things too, like Philippians 4.8,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

So, yes, we can dirty up our outer shell, but we must never compromise our inner egg. And, if we are dirtying up our outer shell, let us make sure that it is for the benefit of others, using our liberty for love, not lusts.

Spiritual Depression – Mind, Heart, and Will – Romans 6.17-18/Romans 12.1-2

17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

So far in our mini-series on spiritual depression we have looked at the causes of this all-too-common condition. If you haven’t read any of the previous pieces you can do here.

Today we see that there is a whole life response needed to the truths of Jesus to avoid spiritual depression. We know that the whole counsel of God’s Word is needed to communicate the truths of Jesus, and it stands to reason then that our whole lives must be influenced and affected by it.

Romans 6.17-18 points to the whole person, as does Romans 12.1-2, and we read of obedience, the heart, the standard of teaching, and being slaves of righteousness.

We need balance in our Christian life in order to avoid spiritual depression, and to experience all that God has for us.

If we focus on the mind only, we become brainy and insightful with no desire to serve.

If we focus on the emotion only, we become overly emotional in our faith but lack understanding.

If we focus on the will only, we become fired up to serve, but don’t really connect with those we are serving.

The whole truth of Jesus needs a whole life response – mind, emotion, and will, or head, heart, and hands.

Lloyd-Jones speaks into the balance needed to live the fruitful Christian life, and offers this in response to those to focus on only one element of their person,

These are the people who decide to take up Christianity instead of being taken up by Christianity.

He goes on to call them spiritual monstrosities, and says that if truth is not first understood and internalised then the heart and hands will never work properly, so to speak.

The order suggested is this – head, then heart, then hands.

First we must understand what it is we are responding to. Understand why Jesus shedding His blood for you was such a big deal. Understand the huge change that has taken place within you, and the power that now lives in you.

When this is understood, the heart is softened, and the hands are readied.

Lloyd-Jones writes

Truth is received through God’s greatest gift to man, the mind, the understanding.

Simply then, one big step on the road to avoiding spiritual depression is to order the way God’s truth flows into our lives, first head, then heart, then hands.

Let us commit today to understanding and knowing more about our great God, and having hearts softened and hands readied by this wonderful truth.

Spiritual Depression – The True Foundation – Romans 3.28

…For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law…

Romans 3.28

The main take-home point last time was that we must turn to the Word of God when we feel down, when we doubt, or when we feel abandoned. If we rely on our own feelings, these change like the weather and will leave us open to every wind of change that blows past us.

Today, the true foundation, what are we built on? 

Lloyd-Jones writes about Christians who are very interested in Christian things, but don’t seem to be like the believers of the Bible; vibrant, excited, joyful, positive, and hopeful. He calls this group ‘miserable Christians‘.

Understanding what Christianity is all about and (for the majority) agreeing with it, the miserable Christian simply assumes that this is enough; to know, to understand, to outwardly agree with the major tenets of the faith. If there are some things you think you have a better handle on than the Bible, then, well, you can just keep quiet about that because you’re doing your own thing anyway…

What is missing for the miserable Christian is an insight into self in light of a relationship with Jesus. 

When we see who He truly is, how He truly is, where He truly is, we cannot help but see ourselves in the cold light of day…and it’s not pretty is it. The miserable Christian doesn’t really see the need for having a Saviour because they think they are not that bad, but, Christianity makes sense to them so they go along with it. 

The believer who has seen himself or herself for who they truly are, a sinner who has fallen short of the glory of God, sees the need for a Saviour.

The believer who knows the truth about themselves is aware of their sinfulness and is convicted of their sinfulness. 

The miserable Christian has heard Christ preached and appreciated what was on offer.

The believer has heard Christ preached and has been brought to a point of knowing that this is an absolute necessity for them in their life. 

The believer then sees verses like Romans 3.28 wherein we are reminded that we are seen as right and just and holy by God purely through faith in Jesus and by nothing we have done, are doing, or can ever do. The believer who knows their own sinfulness then responds to this with vibrancy in their life, with excitement, with joy, with positivity, and with a sure and steadfast hope for the future.

Lloyd-Jones writes,

Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression? The first thing you have to do is say farewell now once and for ever to your past. Realise that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ. Never look back at your sins again.

Say “It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ”.

It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you.

Take that first step and you will find that immediately you will begin to experience joy and a release that you have never known in your life before.

The true foundation for the life that we all so deeply desire is faith in something sure, steadfast, supreme, and sufficient. 

The true foundation is faith in Jesus.