Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 28 Apr 18:
1. Ruth 1:16, 17 — “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” True love is a commitment to fidelity for life. Ruth demonstrated this sort of commitment not only in her marriage but also in her extended relationships. To whom do you show this sort of commitment? These words are often recited in weddings, but many don’t really mean what they are saying. Some have said these words truly believing they meant it, but they really didn’t have the heart for them. Peter said similar words to Jesus during the time of the Last Supper — “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” I believe Peter really meant what he said, but Jesus knew his true heart. Jesus knew Peter had not yet been perfected in love, but Jesus had a plan for Peter, to grow Peter in love. We have all failed in love and continue to fail in love. Jesus has a plan to make us leaders in love. In God’s grace, strive for greater love. Where you are still a Saul, Jesus has a plan to make you a Paul. Can you also see a Paul in the Sauls around you?
2. Ruth 2:5-7 — Ruth’s story was known by others who watched her actions and thereby formed an opinion about the kind of person she was. She was known as uncommonly faithful and hardworking. What do people who don’t really know you say about you because of your reputation and deeds?
3. Ruth 2:12 — “The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Boaz saw himself as an instrument through which God might repay Ruth for her fidelity. He treated Ruth with kindness on behalf of God. Do you serve others in the name of God?
4. Ruth 2:20 — “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” God arranges circumstances for His purposes and brings the right people together at the right place at the right time to bless His people.
5. Ruth 2:22 — “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” The Book of Ruth reminds us of what we read in Judges that, during that time, sexual sin and violence was common.
6. Proverbs 28:2 — “When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.” A nation full of people with selfish, disobedient hearts is divided and unstable. Wisdom, which can only come from a right relationship with God, brings order and stability.
7. Proverbs 28:4 — “Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive against them.” The wicked will unite in their wickedness with disobedience as their banner. Those who desire to live by the law and justice must be willing to strive against them.
8. Proverbs 28:8 — “Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.” Some people make money off the backs of others, and some people are true producers who provide tangible resources to others. Many super-wealthy people have actually produced nothing but rather have manipulated currency to their benefit. Be a producer.
9. Proverbs 28:9 — “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Don’t presume that God will give you what you want while you are refusing to obey Him in what He has clearly told you to do. Settle the matter first.
10. Proverbs 28:12 — “When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.” The wicked can rise. When they do, the Christians, who have been given the power and authority of God to make disciples in the world, have only themselves to blame. If you don’t like the current state of affairs, look at the condition of the church — the darkness is because the light is not very bright.
11. Proverbs 28:19, 20 — “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” Stable wealth is obtained slowly over time through faithful production. You don’t get something for nothing.
12. Proverbs 28:25 — “A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.” All fights are the product of selfishness — someone wants something that God did not give them, and they blame someone else. James said it this way: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:1-4) No one can withhold from you what God intends for you. Don’t waste you time or harden your heart fighting with others. Live in peace, obey God, and wait patiently on Him to provide your every need.
13. Proverbs 28:26 — “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” You will either walk in your own understanding or by the God’s word and the counsel of the Holy Spirit. How foolish is it for us to think that our very small minds, informed by some decades of limited experience, could serve as a substitute for the mind of God? God warns, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Proverbs says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3:5-8).” If you want to live the life God intended for you, if you want to stay on the straight path, if you want to experience the fullness of joy and the peace that transcends all understanding, you will have to obey God’s word and follow His lead even when it doesn’t seem profitable or beneficial to you.
14. Psalm 49:5 — “Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me.” If you are serving God faithfully, you having nothing to worry about even if everyone is against you.
15. Psalm 49:7 — “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life” Only Jesus in His perfection is worthy to pay the price of our sin and give us salvation.
16. Psalm 49:10 — “For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others.” Knowledge and wealth can’t bring you salvation.
17. Psalm 49:13 — “This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts.” Popular opinion favors humanism over submission to God.
16. Psalm 49:15 — “But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.” Only Jesus can save you.
18. Psalm 49:15-20 — “….Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him. For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself— his soul will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never again see light. Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.” The psalmist points out the foolishness and blindness of pursuing blessings and praise on earth rather than the blessings and praise of God. Jesus said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul (Mark 8:36)?” It is quite easy to get caught up in the worries of the world and lose the eternal perspective. However, when our daily pursuit is nothing but Jesus Christ, when our eyes remain affixed to Him, we will not be distracted or deceived.
– James 4:14 — What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
– Job 14:1, 2 — Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.
– Psalms 90:12 — So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
– Psalm 89:47 — Remember what my span of life is; For what vanity You have created all the sons of men!
– 1 Peter 1:24 — All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls.
19. Psalm 49:20 — “Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.” Without spiritual rebirth through salvation in Jesus, a person is not much different than an animal.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 28 April: Today, recommit to trusting God with all of your circumstances, challenges, and concerns. Resolve not to worry. Just pray, trust, and obey. (Psalm 49:5)