Spiritual Rants: May 6 “Signs And Wonders” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Ruth 2:1-4:22 John 4:43-54 Psalm 105:16-36 Proverbs 14:26-27

Old Testament: Ruth 2:1-4:22

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Ruth 2:1-23  Gleaner’s Food Bank

Ruth had lost her husband.  She had married a Jewish man but was a Moabitess, a pagan.  She was loyal to her mother-in-law though her mother-in-law may not have been loyal to her.  Naomi had exhorted Ruth and her other sister-in-law to go back to their families.  Was it because she was going back to her hometown in Bethlehem and leaving Moab where she had hoped to escape famine?  Moab was the son born to Lot after an incestuous relationship with his daughter (uh!).

The duo arrived in Bethlehem but are destitute.  The Hebrew law calls for farmers to leave some of their crops for the poor to glean.  That way they were still working for food but they were able to feed themselves (cf. Lev. 19:9; 23:22).   Ruth just “happened” to glean from a near relative of her deceased husband though there were no property markers, just boundary markers.  The owner, Boaz, saw a young woman gleaning out his fields and asked who she was.  Being a small town where gossip traveled pretty rapidly, everyone knew Naomi had come home.  Boaz was told that the young woman had come back with Naomi from Moab.

Boaz went out and told Ruth that not only could she continue to glean from his fields but that she should glean from his fields.  She was to also make sure she drank plenty of water (v. 9).  Boaz said the Lord had “spread his wings” over her (cf. Matt. 23:37.).  Ruth asked Boaz what she had done to deserve such special treatment.  Boaz told her he had heard of her faithfulness to Naomi and how she had left her people to dwell in Israel.  Boaz fed Ruth and told his servants to even let her glean some of the best grain and to pull out some of it for her.  Ruth worked until evening and then took home what she had harvested.  She brought home produce every day.

Ruth 3:1-18  Ruth “Lucks Out”

Naomi gave Ruth some good advice.  She told Ruth to clean herself up and then go and sleep at Boaz’ feet after he falls asleep after he eats dinner.  Ruth did what she was told.  She slept at his feet.  But he woke up startled in the middle of the night when he saw her there.  He asked who she was and she told him she was Ruth and was actually a close relative to him.  Boaz said he liked her, too, and would try to “redeem” her according to the Jewish law in the morning.   There was a Jewish law of redemption whereby if a brother died, his oldest brother was responsible to take care of his wife and perpetuate his family line (Deut. 25:5-10).  Boaz told Ruth there was actually a closer relative than he and Boaz would have to give the other man “first dibs” on her.

The next morning Boaz kept his word.

Ruth 4:1-21  Ruth Becomes One of Jesus’ Relatives

Boaz went to the city gate where business was done and he “happened” to see the close relative who had dibs on Ruth passing by.  So he said, “Hey, come here!”  And the man came over so Boaz dialed up ten elders of the city and they had a big pow-wow.  Boaz explained the situation that the close relative could redeem Ruth’s land if he wanted to.  The man said that would be cool.  Then Boaz dropped the other shoe and said the man would have to take Ruth along in the deal.  And the man said, “Uh.  That’s OK, you can have it.”

So Boaz got the elders’ stamp of approval and the people in court that day all witnessed what happened.  They all pronounced a blessing on him.  One of the blessings they pronounced was that he be blessed with a son.  And he was.  The son turned out to the be the grandfather of David!  And as we all know, David was the forefather of the Messiah, Jesus.  So Ruth, though a Gentile, became part of the lineage of Jesus Christ.

New Testament: John 4:4-42

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John 4:43-54  Good Timing

Jesus went next to Galilee.  It was his home area and He didn’t get a very good reception so he coined the phrase, “a prophet gets no respect in his hometown” (v. 44).  When He got to Galilee a lot of people turned up to see if He could pull off some good miracles like the one He had done at the feast in chapter 2.

When He pulled into Cana, where He had turned water into wine, there was an official there whose son was sick at home in Capernaum.  He asked Jesus to his home and heal his son.  Jesus rebuked the people for wanting to see signs before they believe.  Then he told the official to go him because his son was fine.  When the man was approaching his home, his slaves met him to tell him his son was better.  He asked the slaves when that had happened and turned out it was same time Jesus had told him his son was better.  The official believed in Jesus and so did his whole family.  This was the second sign Jesus worked after changing the water into wine at Cana.

Psalm 105:16-36    A Hymn About Israel’s History By Anonymous Or Maybe Even David

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Psalm 105:16-36    History 101, Part 2

This is the second of three parts on Psalm 105 which was most likely written by David in celebration of the ark being brought back to Jerusalem (cf. 1 Chron. 16:8-22).  It is a hymn about Israel’s history from Abraham to Moses.  Verses 1-15 were essentially a duplication of 1 Chronicles 16:8-22.

The end of verse 16 means that God took away the food supply of the Israelites aka a “famine” (cf. v. 16a).  But God sustained the Jews by sending Joseph on ahead to Egypt (v. 17).  He was chained and put in prison, being prepared to help the Jews, receiving free transportation (vv. 18-19).  Then the king of Egypt, aka the Pharaoh, freed him and set him above everyone else in his kingdom as well as all their subjects (vv. 20-22).

Then Jacob sent his other sons to Egypt to beg for bread (v. 23a).  Egypt was inhabited by the descendants of Noah through his son, Ham (v. 23b).  Yahweh caused the Jews to be stronger and more prosperous than their Egyptian neighbors (v. 24).

In Yahweh’s sly plan to get his people back into Israel, He turned the Egyptians against the Jews by making the ‘Gyptians jealous (v. 25).  He raised up Moses and his brother, Aaron, to lead his people (v. 26).  Yahweh did miraculous works amongst them all (v. 27).  He brought darkness (v. 28) and turned water into blood (v. 29).  He caused frogs to hop all over the place including the king’s bedroom (v. 30).  He sent plagues of gnats and flies (v. 31).  He sent flaming hail that ruined their crops (vv. 32-33).  Locusts ate up all the fruit and veggies (v. 34-35).

Finally, since the Pharaoh wouldn’t listen, He got his attention by striking down all the firstborn in the land.  Yahweh was compensating Pharaoh for the destruction of all of the Israelites’ first born when he earlier had tried to destroy all the Jewish infants (v. 36, cf. Exod. 1:16).

Proverbs 14:26-27   Unafraid Of Fear

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When you are wholeheartedly trusting the Lord, you have nothing to fear (v. 26a, cf. Ps. 27:1; 1 John 4:18).  Your kids will learn that they don’t have anything to fear either (v. 26b).

Your body will work better when it is not stressed and you are trusting God.  Thus, you will have a more full and better life (v. 27a).  Death will be delayed because you will be healthier and you also won’t be in as many dangerous situations in which you could get killed (v. 27b).

 

Choose Life: Scripture:  John 4:48    NASB    “Signs And Wonders”

“So Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.’”  John 4:48

Jesus rebuked the people of His day, telling them they needed to see miracles or they wouldn’t believe.  Today, it seems, people may not need to see miracles so much but they certainly want a show.  How many services are like Broadway shows these days?  Not that there is anything wrong with excellence in music and preaching but are we forgetting that we are not to be the center of a worship service?  God is supposed to be the center of a worship service.

When you worship this week, ask yourself if you are centered on God or are you centered on yourself.  Of course, we should center on God.

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

Here is a good formula to use to pray to ensure that you are centered on God and not just on yourself.   Pray in this order:

1)  Adoration (Eph. 1:3)

2)  Confession of Sin  (1 John 1:9)

3) Thanksgiving  (Phil. 4:6)

4)  Supplication (John 14:13-14, prayers for others and yourself).  If you pray in this way, you will cover all your bases.  You will start your prayer the right way, with praise.  You will also end the right way, with yourself.  Someone has said that true joy in life is put

1) Jesus first

2) Others second and

3)  Yourself last.

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   Ruth Lucks Out

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