FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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She Didn’t Know

I love the story of Ruth from the Scriptures of the Bible.  A good love story is always a joy to read, and certainly Ruth and Boaz’s story is counted among the great love stories of history.  But that Ruth, a widowed woman left with her also widowed mother-in-law, is literally rescued by the wealthy kinsman redeemer, Boaz, is not even the best part of the story.

The best part of this story is actually what even Ruth didn’t know!

Scripture says that Ruth and Boaz married and had a baby boy named Obed.  Obed grew up and fathered his own son, Jesse.  Jesse grew up and fathered several sons, one named David.  Yes, the same David who slew Goliath, who became King and who was counted as a man after God’s heart.  Exciting?  Yes!  Fascinating?  Yes!  The best part of the story?  Nope!

The best part of Ruth’s story is actually tucked in the Scriptures of the book of Matthew!

Matthew 1:2-16 (NASB) reads:

“Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram.  Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.  Jesse was the father of David the king.

David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa.  Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah.  Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.  Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah.  Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel.  Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor.  Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud.  Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob.  Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.”

Did you see it?  Do you get it?

Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior came through Ruth’s generational line!

Ruth never knew.

There was a lot of “begetting” and “fathering” between Ruth’s baby, Obed, and Jesus but nevertheless, Ruth and Obed were essential generational links.

Ruth’s story offers many invaluable lessons for us; here are a few to ponder:

  • God is faithful.  The Scriptures foretold the coming of the Messiah.  The genealogy in Matthew makes clear that many generations passed before the actual birth of Christ, but just as promised, the Messiah came.
  • God rewards obedience.  Ruth experienced a long, hard season of loss.  Her husband died leaving her with her mother-in-law.  They were poor.  They were alone.  Ruth had to glean the fields (translation:  harvest the leftovers) for food.  She had no inheritance and was rejected by the closest relative expected to be her redeemer.  But Ruth made a commitment to her mother-in-law and to God.  God, in turn, rewarded her faithfulness, obedience, perseverance and commitment.
  • Ruth never knew, and we may never know.  We can only imagine Ruth’s simultaneous delight and relief when in Ruth 4:10 (NASB) Boaz said, “I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place…”  Many of us can relate to her joy at conceiving and birthing a son (Ruth 4:13) NASB.  But Ruth never knew that Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior and Redeemer, the Messiah, came through her generational line.  And we may never know the generational line or influence that flows from us.

Three passages best summarize the lesson for us:

Galatians 6:9    

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

Colossians 3:23-24

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

Luke 6:22-23a

Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.  Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.

Be faithful.  Obedient.  Persevere.  You just never know!


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Defining God

My head hurts.

I think it has something to do with my homework that is due Tuesday. Here’s the assignment.

“Develop a personal Definition of God and the Person of Jesus Christ (deity and humanity).  Your formal Definition brings together the various elements of Trinitarian theism into coherent concepts of God and Christ. Specifically, the Doctrinal Statement should define the names and attributes of God, and especially the Trinity—the Father, Son (including the incarnation and two natures), Holy Spirit, and the Trinitarian relations. The one-page statement is to be your definition or credo (I believe…), not an exposition, argument, or apologetic.” (There’s more.  I’m sharing a shortened version so your head won’t hurt, too.)

Aside from the fact that I struggle with the Turabian Style Guide (I was raised on APA) and the fact that I just had two huge quizzes and face another this week as well as having to write another paper for another class, this is a LOT to think about. A personal Definition of God.

Hmmm…

God implores us to “be still, and know” that he is God (Psalm 46:10).  I’ve spent a lot of time this weekend being still. I’ve read Scripture. I’ve listened to archived sermons from my pastor. I’ve read countless articles. I’ve sat just pondering all that I read and heard.

And while I must complete this assignment, or accept that a zero will be calculated as 20% of my final grade, I’ve come to the conclusion that God is not so much to be defined on paper by penning lists of His qualities and attributes – omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent… or even by listing His names – Elohim, El Shaddai, El Olam, El Elyon…

“Be still, and know.”

Know is the word that strikes me. There are different ways of knowing.  When I was a school principal, I always told teachers that they need to know their students as students but also as people. There is intellectual or factual knowing or, as the German say, “wissen” and the Latin and Italian “sapere.” This is knowing that is general, abstract and rather easily put into words like a student’s reading test score or knowing the answer to a math problem. But there is also individual, particular and often hard to articulate knowing that comes through relationships and experience. The German call this “kennen” and the Latin distinguish it as “cognoscere.”

I believe God desires us to have “head knowledge” – “wissen” and “sapere” about Him. He would have us study the Scriptures, know His names and know the works that He has done. But when His word tells us to “be still, and know,” I believe He means for us to know Him in true relationship and personal experience – “kennen” and “cognoscere.” And when you really stop and think about it, isn’t that awesome? That He desires us to know Him this way, at this level?

The King of Kings’ the Lord of Lords; the one true, living God wants to know you and wants you to know Him. Just think about trying to walk up to Queen Elizabeth, Xi Jinping (President of China), Vladimir Putin (President of Russia) or Barack Obama (President of the United States), introduce yourself and get to know them at a personal level? Probably ain’t going to happen. You’d have to try to navigate all kinds of red tape, background checks and Secret Service. And the key word is “try” because you’d probably never get through it all.

But God who is greater than these, wants you to know Him, to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him, to spend time with Him. Acts 17:27 (NASB) says God desires that we might “grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” He wants us to be in relationship with Him such that He has not hidden Himself away behind walls, bars, armed guards, bureaucracy or Secret Service.

God desires to build a unique intimate and personal relationship with each of His followers so that He may reveal more of Himself to each – truth by truth – as that knowledge is needed.

Who is God?

Be still, and get to know Him for yourself. Some possible resources for you follow. I’ve got to get back to that paper! (But I’d love to hear who YOU think He is.  Share your comments!)

RESOURCES

How to Know God

http://www.insight.org/resources/topics/how-to-know-god/

How to Know God Personally

http://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html

How Can I Get to Know God Better?

http://www.intouch.org/you/all-things-are-new/content/topic/how_can_i_get_to_know_god_better_all_things

How Can I Deepen My Relationship with God?

http://www.intouch.org/you/all-things-are-new/content/topic/how_can_i_deepen_my_relationship_with_god_all_things