Archive for the ‘Acceptance’ Category


Under Gods Command (Ruth 4:13-22)

Ruth 4:13-22 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”     

16Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. 

The Genealogy of David   

  18This, then, is the family line of Perezl:    

 Perez was the father of Hezron,

 19Hezron the father of Ram,    

 Ram the father of Amminadab,  

 20Amminadab the father of Nahshon,  

   Nahshon the father of Salmon,  

 21Salmon the father of Boaz,   

  Boaz the father of Obed,  

 22Obed the father of Jesse,  

   and Jesse the father of David. 

To some, the book of Ruth may be just a nice story about a girl who was fortunate. But in reality, the events recorded in Ruth were part of God’s preparations for the births of David and of Jesus, the promised Messiah. Just as Ruth was unaware of this larger purpose in her life, we will not know the full purpose and importance of our lives until we are able to look back from the perspective of eternity.

Lets Bring it Home: We must make our choices with God’s eternal values in mind. Taking moral shortcuts and living for short-range pleasures are not good ways to move ahead. Because of Ruth’s faithful obedience, her life and legacy were significant even though she couldn’t see all the results. Live in faithfulness to God, knowing that the significance of your life will extend beyond your lifetime. The rewards will outweigh any sacrifice you may have made.



Under Gods Command

Proverbs 31:19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

A woman’s hands are important and valuable. They are for more than carrying a diamond ring. They are for more than regular manicures. They are for more than holding while walking in the park. They are for manual labor, and a virtuous woman is willing to use them diligently and skillfully. She is not afraid to dirty her hands to get a job done, and she is not afraid to acquire skills with her hands to serve her family and build the estate.

Solomon mentions hands many times, because they are the principal body part for work, especially manual labor. Diligent persons use their hands well (Pr 10:4; 12:24). Slothful persons hide their hands (Pr 6:10-11; 19:24; 21:25; 26:6; Eccl 4:5). No wonder job advertisements may ask for a “hands on” type, who will “roll up his sleeves” and get a job done. A virtuous woman has busy hands that earn rewards (Pr 31:13,16,19-20,31).

Hands are important. A woman’s “elbow grease,” by using her hands diligently, can build the family estate with “sweat equity.” Anything a woman finds to do with her hands, she should do it with her might (Eccl 9:10). A lazy woman destroys the family estate by not using her hands diligently (Pr 14:1; Eccl 10:18). Spiders are in kings’ palaces, because they have numerous hands and are not discouraged at all by repetitive tasks (Pr 30:28).

The virtuous woman despises “hand outs” and the lazy women that accept them, whether from government programs or private charity, for she knows God expects her to work hard or she and her family should not get to eat (Pr 20:4; II Thess 3:6-12). Neither will she or her family live “hand to mouth,” for God also taught her to set aside some revenue for future needs – so her savings account is always growing. Full of energy as God expects, she takes the time to put forth a “helping hand” to those in need (Pr 31:20).

However, diligent hands are not enough. A woman needs to be skillful at hand tasks. God prepared wise and skilled women to spin the various fabrics for the complex decorating of the tabernacle (Ex 35:25-26). The English language originally called such skillful women spinsters, though that name now has very different connotations. A woman must know how to do domestic and other hand tasks skillfully in order to be a virtuous wife.

The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 was a very competent woman at many levels. She bought and managed commercial real estate and manufacturing businesses to help build the family estate (Pr 31:16,24), and she could also spin thread from raw materials. She could take a spinning wheel and loom and teach maidens how to make cloth perfectly (Pr 31:15). She could do the work herself, show how it should be done, and teach others.

A virtuous woman in the 21st century does not spin cloth to make clothes. It would be a waste of her talents and time. She can buy the finished product with superior construction and appearance for comparatively nothing. She is better off learning other skills and using her earnings to buy clothing and other textile products. But when the situation calls for it, she can “do it from scratch,” whether in the closet or the kitchen. When she needs to, she can make cakes fit for the LORD and savory dishes that would make a chef jealous (Gen 18:6; 27:9). This is a woman worth marrying, young man!

What should a woman learn to do skillfully today? Plan and execute great meals for two or a crowd. Keep a computer working. Know first aid and be able to converse with doctors. Use the Internet for quick research on many subjects. Know where she is going for what when she leaves the home. Communicate effectively and quickly by phone or email. Know how to source the optimal food, furnishings, and clothing at the lowest cost. Operate a calculator and balance a checkbook in minutes. Use word processing, spreadsheet, or accounting software. Decorate a house for appeal, comfort, and investment. Find and use the best appliances and tools inside and outside the house.

This is the perfect woman, as described by a queen mother for her son (Pr 31:1-2,10). She fears the LORD with all her heart (Pr 31:30). Her husband can trust in her completely, because she will do him good and right every day of her life (Pr 31:11-12). After these two priorities, she is a diligent worker to provide for her family, her home, and build the family estate in any way she can. She is diligent and skillful in the use of her hands.


Under Gods Command (Ruth 4:1-15)

Ruth and Boaz are married   

Ruth 4:1-15   1Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.”

So he went over and sat down. 2Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. 3Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”    

 “I will redeem it,” he said.   

  5Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

  6At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”

 7(Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)     

8So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.  

   9Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite,r Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!” 

   11Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.” Naomi Gains a Son  

   13So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

 Boaz knew he could find his relative at the town gate. This was the center of activity. No one could enter or leave the town without traveling through the gate. Merchants set up their temporary shops near the gate, which also served as “city hall.” Here city officials gathered to transact business. Because there was so much activity, it was a good place to find witnesses (4:2) and an appropriate place for Boaz to make his transaction.

Boaz cleverly presented his case to the relative. First he brought in new information not yet mentioned in the story—Elimelek, Naomi’s former husband, still had some property in the area that was now for sale. As the nearest relative, this man had the first right to buy the land, which he agreed to do (Leviticus 25:25). But then Boaz said that according to the law, if the relative bought the property he also had to marry the widow (probably because Mahlon, Ruth’s former husband and Elimelek’s son, had inherited the property). At this stipulation, the relative backed down. He did not want to complicate his inheritance. He may have feared that if he had a son through Ruth, some of his estate would transfer away from his family to the family of Elimelek. Whatever his reason, the way was now clear for Boaz to marry Ruth.

Of all the ancestors (including Abraham) they could have named, why did these men mention Perez? The birth of Perez was an example of the “levirate” practice, whereby the brother or relative of the dead husband married his widow (Genesis 38). Boaz, as guardian-redeemer, was following this levirate practice since Ruth’s former husband had no living brothers. (See the note on 3:1-9.) The descendants of Perez made Judah a prominent tribe. Boaz, David, and all the Judean kings were descendants of Perez.

Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law was known and recognized throughout the town. From the beginning of the book of Ruth to the end, her kindness toward others remained unchanged.

God brought great blessings out of Naomi’s tragedy, even greater than “seven sons,” or an abundance of heirs. Throughout her tough times, Naomi continued to trust God. And God, in his time, blessed her greatly.

Lets Bring it Home: Even in our sorrow and calamity, God can bring great blessings. Be like Naomi, and don’t turn your back on God when tragedy strikes. Instead of asking, “How can God allow this to happen to me?” trust him. He will be with you in the hard times.


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 30:20 This is the way of an adulteress; She eats and wipes her mouth and says, I’ve done nothing wrong. 

An adulteress is incredible! She has the least amount of conscience and the most amount of pretension. She commits one of the most heinous betrayals possible, yet she can talk and live, as if she has done nothing. She will keep up wifely habits to keep her trusting husband and others from suspecting. Having just described four wonderful things beyond his easy perception, the prophet Agur compared an adulteress to them (Pr 30:1,18-19).

The way an eagle soars on thermal updrafts and dives after prey is marvelous. The way a snake moves without arms or legs on a smooth rock is marvelous. The way a bulky ship sails smoothly through seas without oars or trail is marvelous. And the ease and power with which a man wins a virgin is marvelous. These four things are hard to discern, and so is it hard to believe a married woman can have sex with another man (Pr 30:18-20).

The eating of this proverb does not involve food – it is the sexual acts of the adulteress. She opens her legs to a stranger and enjoys physical pleasures limited to her husband and his bed only. Eating is used here as a euphemism for sexual intercourse, as it was used earlier (Pr 5:15; 9:17; 20:17). While the Bible may use plainer speech in other places, it chooses a euphemism to enhance the proverb here (Ezek 16:17,25-26; 23:16-21).

The wiping of her mouth does not involve a napkin – it is the covering of her tracks to avoid detection. She does everything necessary to hide her liaisons from her husband and others. She waits for her husband to be away (Pr 7:19-20; Gen 39:7-12). She speedily takes care of household duties; she makes the lost time disappear; she hides any signs of her sin; she washes her body and prepares to meet her husband as if everything is fine.

She pretends by her words and actions to her husband that all is well. She dotes on her husband at home and in public. She enters his bed and is intimate with him as if all is well. She plays with her children, speaks with the neighbors, attends church on Sunday, dresses merrily, and continues to wear his wedding ring. There is no compunction, guilt, or remorse. She acts as if she has done nothing wrong at all, in spite of her heinous sin.

The present generation glamorizes adulteresses by movies and serials, performing artists and actresses, romance novels, psychotherapists, and profane marriage counselors. Think “Braveheart,”  “Doctor Zhivago,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Sex and the City,” Princess Diana, etc.! Hollywood never glamorizes marriage! Never! While adultery once brought capital punishment, public flogging, or branding, it is laughed at today and admired as an exciting event. Though a crime on the books of many states, it is not enforced in any state. The whole world eats, wipes its mouth, and says, “I have done no wickedness!”

But there is a God in heaven that hates adultery and adulteresses. It is not an affair: it is not having a lover; it is not a weak moment; it is adultery – the violation of a marriage covenant and wedding (Ex 20:14). Adulteresses received the death penalty in a nation where God wrote the laws (Lev 20:10; Ezek 16:38), and the Jews conspiratorial attempt to trap Jesus and His response do not change God’s civil opinion at all (John 8:1-11).

God designed the woman’s body to prove virginity when entering marriage, and He gave a test under Moses to expose infidelity after marriage (Deut 22:13-21; Num 5:11-31). How far did He go to enforce female chastity? He called for cutting off a wife’s hands for touching another man’s genitals, even if assisting her husband in a fight (Deut 25:11-12). He may have allowed polygamy for hard male hearts, but never polyandry (Ex 21:10-11).

For any adulteress convicted and condemned by this proverb, repentance makes all the difference in the world. The Lord Jesus Christ is as quick to forgive this sin as any other (Luke 7:36-50; John 4:4-42; 8:1-11; I Cor 6:9-11). Jesus received repenting harlots gladly, and they entered His kingdom before religious types (Matt 21:31-32). You can clear yourself altogether from this heinous sin by godly sorrow (II Cor 7:10-11). Glory!

God blessed Bathsheba to be in the lineage of Jesus Christ twice (II Sam 12:24; Matt 1:6; Luke 3:31; I Chron 3:5). Both Tamar and Rahab made the same lineage, though guilty of the sin of adultery also (Matt 1:3,5). While the sins of Mary Magdalene, once possessed by seven devils, are not known, Jesus appeared to her first after His resurrection (Mark 16:9). Rejoice, repentant reader! Your sins are forgiven! Go in peace, and sin no more!

The proverb describes adulterous women, for Proverbs is primarily a book of wisdom and warnings for young men (Pr 1:1-7). But there is an adulterer for every adulteress. Let every man remember God’s justice required the death of the adulteress and adulterer (Lev 20:10). Godly men make covenants with their eyes when they marry – they will not think about sexual intimacy with another woman (Job 31:1). Solomon condemned looking at other women, and he taught men to be content with a wife (Pr 6:24-26; 5:18-20).

There is more than one way to be an adulteress. The very thought of foolishness is sin, so any fantasies of the heart are equal in the sight of God to the actual deed (Pr 24:9; Ex 20:17; Job 31:1; Matt 5:28). A godly woman is chaste in thought and deed (Tit 2:5; I Pet 3:2). There is no more liberty for a woman to read romance novels, watch soap operas, or enjoy Hollywood romance movies than for a man to fantasize with pornography.

There is more than one way to be an adulteress. The holy God of heaven considers friendship with the world by Christians or churches to be spiritual adultery (Ezek 16:1-59; Hos 1:1-3; 9:1; II Cor 11:1-4; Jas 4:4). He is a jealous God, and He will not share His glory, affection, or worship with any others (Deut 4:23-26; Josh 24:19; Heb 12:28-29).

He rejects those who think they can love Him and the things of the world at the same time (Matt 6:24; Phil 3:18-19; I John 2:15-17). He rejects compromised worship like a man would reject his wife remembering or doting on other lovers (Ezek 23:38-39; II Cor 6:14-17). If you love the world, you are flirting or committing adultery with His enemy!

Jesus Christ showed John a vision of a great whore with harlot daughters, who was full of abominations and filthy fornication (Rev 17:1-6). This whore also eats, wipes her mouth, and professes to be innocent and pure, for she is a specific church renowned for spiritual fornication against the God of heaven. Her severe judgment is described in detail (Rev 17:15-17; 18:1-24). What church is she? The city that ruled the world in the days of John (Rev 17:18)! Who are her daughters? The churches that came out of her later!


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 27:26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

Can you do economic analysis? God and Solomon expect you to. If you cannot, or will not, you are heading for financial poverty. You will not be alone, for many in this lazy generation think no more about the future than counting the days to their next paycheck. But your Creator inspired a divine library to help you prosper financially over them.

King Solomon, God’s preacher to you for practical wisdom and success, wrote an extended lesson to warn you about the ever-changing economic landscape (Pr 27:23-27). He knew men must prudently consider their means of income, for financial or business success never stays the same and even the most secure positions are soon lost.

In an agrarian society, maximizing the yield of fields to support an estate required careful examination of all species of livestock and plants used to generate food, clothing, and revenue. In this short section, he listed flocks, herds, hay, grass, herbs, lambs, and goats – a diversified business enterprise for sure. Diversification is prudent, but it is not enough.

For each animal and plant segment of operations, a wise man analyzed its vitality and yield, market prices for its product, and compared these to maximize total revenue with the least risk. This is no small task. Farmers may be lightly esteemed by many, but they are often sharp businessmen, even using futures markets to hedge their business plan.

This proverb identified lambs and goats, two segments of the business. Lambs are only the offspring of sheep, and goats with their peculiarities may not be an exciting venture, but they are both necessary. The lambs produce wool for clothing and grow into sheep, and goats can grow and produce milk on almost nothing, giving value to inferior land.

What is the lesson for you? You must analyze each part of your economic endeavors and alter your plans to maximize profit and minimize risk in a changing world. Is your industry growing or decaying? Is your company competitive within your industry? Is your position valuable in your company? Are your skills in demand and marketable? Could you or someone else add another business? What is the prudent expected return?

Do you know the market value of your house? Are you over-exposed to real estate fluctuations? Is it insured? Have you done everything to minimize taxes? Are your investments wise in light of worldwide economic changes and your government’s fiscal policies? Are you diversified? Are you financially liquid to take advantage of exceptional opportunities that might become available? These are some financial duties from God.

If these questions intimidate or confuse you, then you should consult with some wise counselors, either professionals or your successful friends, and let them help you analyze your economic situation. Solomon taught that there is safety in a multitude of wise counselors (Pr 15:22). With their assistance, you can keep the wisdom of this proverb.

What a blessing – the Christian scriptures! From the origin of the universe to its soon renovation, from the attributes of God to the details of salvation, the Bible deals with your whole life, including economic safety and success. Those ignorant of the Bible think it an outdated and impractical doctrinal textbook, but this proverb should open your eyes.

Thank God for inspiring Solomon to write you about the necessary parts of your life – making a living and building a family estate. Read the related commentaries of the verses surrounding this one (Pr 27:23-27). Exalt God’s word by hearing it preached or explained regularly, and by all means obey the wisdom God has conveyed to you for your profit.


Under Gods Command (More on Ruth)

Ruth:3:1-9 1One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. 2Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”  5“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. 7When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!  9“Who are you?” he asked.   “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”

The threshing floor was the place where the grain was separated from the harvested wheat. The wheat stalks were crushed, either by hand or by oxen, and the valuable grain (inner kernels) separated from the worthless chaff (the outside shell). The floor was made from rock or soil and located outside the village, usually on an elevated site where the winds would blow away the lighter chaff when the crushed wheat was thrown into the air (or winnowed). Boaz spent the night beside the threshing floor for two reasons: (1) to prevent theft and (2) to wait for his turn to thresh grain. (Threshing was often done at night because daylight hours were spent harvesting.)

Naomi’s advice seems strange, but she was not suggesting a seductive act. In reality, Naomi was telling Ruth to act in accordance with Israelite custom and law. It was common for a servant to lie at the feet of his master and even share a part of his covering. By observing this custom, Ruth would inform Boaz that he could be her guardian-redeemer—that he could find someone to marry her or marry her himself. It was family business, nothing romantic. But the story later became beautifully romantic as Ruth and Boaz developed an unselfish love and deep respect for each other.

As a foreigner, Ruth may have thought that Naomi’s advice was odd. But Ruth followed the advice because she knew Naomi was kind, trustworthy, and filled with moral integrity.

Lets Bring it Home: Each of us knows a parent, older friend, or relative who is always looking out for our best interests. Be willing to listen to the advice of those who are older and wiser than you are. The experience and knowledge of such a person can be invaluable. Imagine what Ruth’s life would have been like had she ignored her mother-in-law.


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 26:23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. 

Are you guilty of one or both of these terrible sins – burning lips that say negative things about others or a wicked heart that thinks such things? If you are guilty of both, you are like a broken piece of pottery covered with the scum from silver refining. What an ugly and worthless person! If you cannot say kind things about others, then say nothing at all.

Here is a simple simile – a stated comparison, by the word “like,” of a man to a clay vessel. An evil man, with a malicious heart and cruel speech, is like a broken fragment of pottery painted over with scum. A good man, with a noble heart and kind words, is like a beautiful work of pottery covered with fine silver, a delightful and valuable object.

What are burning lips? This man has a fire in his mouth, and he regularly burns others with critical and hateful speech. He cannot stay silent for long – he must say something derogatory about others. His lips are set on fire of hell (Pr 4:24; 10:18; 16:27; Jas 3:5-9).

What is a wicked heart? This phrase describes the person whose heart is filled with arrogant contempt and malicious hatred of others, as the context shows (Pr 26:18-28). He does not know God, and he has no affection for others, except to use them for his own selfish ends. He is a murderer at heart, though he may not have committed the crime yet.

Do you have either burning lips or a wicked heart, or do you have both? It is easy to find out. How easily do you argue, backbite, flatter, lie, slander, tattle, or whisper? If you sin in these ways easily, you surely have burning lips. And if you do not grieve after such sins of your lips, then you also have a wicked heart. Reader, examine yourself and repent.

While your lips and heart are not perfectly connected, they are very closely connected. A man may sin once in a while with his lips and have a pure heart, but he will be grieved for it. If a man sins often by attacking others with his words, he shows a violent and wicked heart. Jesus taught that the mouth clearly reveals the heart (Matt 12:34-37).

Many beautiful works of art and household vessels were once made from pottery. A well-formed clay object covered with fine silver could be exquisite in appearance and use. But a potsherd is a broken piece of pottery, and silver dross is the refuse scum from refining.

Wise men examine their hearts and guard their lips – they fear a critical heart and cruel lips that harm others (Pr 6:12-15; 17:20). They will instead choose a pure heart and gracious lips that can win even a king for a friend (Pr 22:11). Reader, examine yourself!