Tag Archives: Ruth

Father of Fathers

Today’s message summary of June 18, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

As a 31-year old, I can’t tell you very much about my biological father.  I have only met him three different times.  I don’t know much about him or his family.  On my mother’s side, I can only speak about her and my grandmother, and that is how much I know about my family history.

With that said, the genealogy in the bible has a purpose to identify lineages.

In Genesis, there are genealogies listed that start with Adam and his lineage, and those that follow lead to the promise made to David about the coming Messiah.

Matthew 1:1-17

The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.

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

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

This passage is a good one to examine for Father’s Day as it shows how fathers were preparing other fathers over time.

The point of this message is that your heavenly Father loves you more than your earthly father.  He will never fail you—in spite of your own disobedience to Him.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as an example to all of us.

There is not information within these passages to explain the behaviors of some of these fathers. We don’t know if they were living in righteousness or holiness.

The Scriptures do identify that each of these persons does lead to Jesus Christ.  Some of these individuals we do know of, such as Abraham, Boaz and David.

2 Chronicles 20:7

Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

Abraham, in the Christian faith, is recognized as the Father of Faith…but was he a good father?

If you look at his life closely, you would see that he lied often and even committed adultery (with Hagar).  He was far from perfect.  Abraham, at the behest of Sarah, abandoned Hagar and Ishmael.

Genesis 21:8-13

And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac. And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.

If it was not for God’s instruction to send his son off, he would have kept him there.  Out of faith and obedience to God, he listened.

Hebrews 11:8-10

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

We are reminded that faith and obedience were most important in the relationship between God and Abraham in spite of Abraham’s sinful behavior.

Of the women who were involved within these genealogies, many of them were outsiders.  In Matthew 11:3, Tamar is referenced.  She disguised herself as a prostitute in order to seduce her father-in-law.  Judah, the father-in-law, was hardly an innocent victim.  It was contrary to the law of God.  We also see Rahab’s name in the genealogy.  She was a prostitute, yet she was praised as a woman of faith who turned out to be David’s grandmother.  Another person, Ruth, is listed.  She was a person of honor, but she was also a Gentile, a Moabite, an outsider.  Moabites are descendants of Lot.

Genesis 19:30-38

Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. And the firstborn said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

You see how God moved past the sins of his people and brings different people into the lineage of Christ.

Matthew also wanted us to remember about David and Bathsheba through their adulterous union that led to Solomon.  Uriah, who was a godly man and a friend of David, was one of his most trusted men.  There is great irony in how David, because of his adultery, would have Uriah murdered and try to cover up the relationship.  Remember, God said that David was “a man after His own heart.”  Bathsheba is not mentioned within the genealogy in Matthew, and it was more a point of shame with David.  Nathan’s words of prophecy held true with the turmoil that followed David throughout the rest of his life.  While David failed miserably as a father, he still loved his children.  He still loved his son Absalom, even though Absalom was trying to kill him.

2 Samuel 18:31-33

And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you. The king said to the Cushite, Is it well with the young man Absalom? And the Cushite answered, May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man. And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!

Despite David’s sin, he loved his children.  He was willing to trade his life for them.

Solomon, featured in the genealogy, had many, many, many, many wives.  God had declared, of course, that man should have only one wife.

Here is a prophetic verse in Deuteronomy that actually refers to Solomon and his choices:

Deuteronomy 17:14-17

When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me, you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, You shall never return that way again. And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

Solomon’s heart turned from God because of the women he allowed in his life.

Solomon’s wisdom was evident and apparent to everyone, but he was flawed in his fleshliness.

Of the genealogy leading to Jesus Christ, the greatest thing that emerges is God’s grace.  Grace upon grace upon grace.  The fathers listed here were both good and evil; however, God’s grace was present throughout the lives of each of these people.

It was all part of God’s sovereign plan.

Note that Mary, listed in this genealogy, was a descendant of David.  Jesus was still the heir to the throne of David, and Joseph was His earthly father, who was willing to be obedient to God and take on the responsibility to raise Him.

Single mothers:  Are you helping the child in filling the void in his life by ministering to him and help him recognize Christ as the Lord of his life?

Fathers:  You will fail your children and even disappoint them, but it is an opportunity to display the gospel before them.  For all have sinned and fall short of His glory.  Your humble approach will show them that you are a father that unconditionally loves the children and lives according to the commands of God.

Proverbs 6:20-23

My son, keep your father’s commandment,

    and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Bind them on your heart always;

    tie them around your neck.

When you walk, they will lead you;


The Power of Mothers

A message summary of May 8, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Mothers sacrifice their own life, their own happiness, and sometimes their own well being for their children. Children sometimes don’t understand or appreciate the sacrifice, but over time, the child when they grow up, begins to appreciate everything that was done to help them through the years, and even how their mother protected them from the enemy. Mother in laws do this, as well. A woman, such as a foster parent, a grandmother, an aunt, or any person who steps into the care of a child’s life, is acting as a mother.

Being a mother is not an easy task. It is a 24-hour job, for sure. It may even involve a stepmother, for example, who steps in to assume the responsibility of caring and nurturing children.

Mothers don’t get a manual to learn how to raise their children. A lot of it is trial-and-error, and there are times when a mother gets advice even from her own mother on how to handle a difficult situation.

Mothers are the people who plant the impossible dreams in our lives. They give the children the ability to imagine, hope, anticipate, expect, and to dream big. One of the things that a mother wants to remove from their child’s life is a prevailing mindset of the words, “I can’t do it.” Mothers are to build in the reassurance that God is the One who will be the strength and provision that fulfills those dreams.

Moms create the climate in which faith and hope can take root and grow. Hope shapes the direction of out lives. A child with a vision becomes a bold reason for living. It becomes a badge of purpose that the bearer wears proudly and courageously.

Two examples of a mother–one is biological and the other is not:

Eunice and Naomi: two different women in two different situations.

Timothy’s father was Greek. Being a Gentile in a Jewish world was not all that pleasant. Timothy may not have been highly thought of. His mother was Jewish. Even with this, Timothy’s name means, “honoring God.” He was also well respected. Why?

Acts 16:1-5

Then he went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. Paul wanted Timothy to go with him, so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for them to observe. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in number daily.

Timothy was the child of a Greek man, but his mother is the one who taught her son the Scriptures. She wanted her child to know wisdom and salvation. She also entrusted her child to those who were looking after him, and was agreeable to have Timothy circumcised in order that he could be a positive testimony before others in his ministry.

2 Timothy 3:14-15

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Raising Timothy was a team effort.

2 Timothy 1:3-5

I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also.

  • Have a team help you to raise your children.
  • Find a good teacher for your child.
  • Find a person who wants to help develop your child.
  • Find a person who knows that while your child is not their own, the person still accepts your child as their own.

1 Corinthians 4:17

This is why I have sent Timothy to you. He is my dearly loved and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you about my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach everywhere in every church.

2 Timothy 1:1-2

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, for the promise of life in Christ Jesus: To Timothy, my dearly loved son. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Naomi

Why would anyone want to stay with Naomi? She had nothing. Her husband and sons had all died.

Ruth 1:19-20

“Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara, she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has pronounced judgment on me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

The name Naomi means “pleasant.” Mara means “bitter.”

Why did Ruth decide to stay with Naomi?

Ruth 1:6-7

She and her daughters-in-law prepared to leave the land of Moab, because she had heard in Moab that the Lord had paid attention to His people’s need by providing them food. She left the place where she had been living, accompanied by her two daughters-in-law, and traveled along the road leading back to the land of Judah.

Ruth 1:16

But Ruth replied: Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May Yahweh punish me, and do so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.

The name Ruth means “friend.” She was willing to forsake everything to be with Naomi.

Ruth determined that she wanted to be with Naomi through thick and thin. Naomi was indeed bitter, but it never was carried out on the remaining daughters-in-law. She was able to still provide wisdom and godly counsel.

Ruth 2:19-22

Then her mother-in-law said to her, Where did you gather barley today, and where did you work? May the Lord bless the man who noticed you.

Ruth told her mother-in-law about the men she had worked with and said, The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz. Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, May he be blessed by the Lord, who has not forsaken his[a] kindness to the living or the dead. Naomi continued, The man is a close relative. He is one of our family redeemers. Ruth the Moabitess said, He also told me, Stay with my young men until they have finished all of my harvest.’” So Naomi said to her daughter-in-law Ruth, My daughter, it is good for you to work[b] with his female servants, so that nothing will happen to you in another field.

Ruth 3:1-4

Ruths mother-in-law Naomi said to her, My daughter, shouldnt I find security for you, so that you will be taken care of? Now isnt Boaz our relative? Havent you been working with his female servants? This evening he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on perfumed oil, and wear your best clothes. Go down to the threshing floor, but dont let the man know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, notice the place where hes lying, go in and uncover his feet, and lie down. Then he will explain to you what you should do.

Naomi provided good advice to Ruth with ongoing communication in the way that a mother would give her own child, and Ruth willingly accepted it. That trusting relationship was built throughout their lifetime together.

It takes love, knowledge and wisdom from God to raise a child. The child will know and understand that he or she is the heart of a mother’s life.


Naomi: Triumph Over Tragedy

Today’s message text of May 24, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

The book of Ruth is a beautifully written short story of a family’s love, devotion and perseverance that overcomes hardship and despair by remaining faithful to God. It consists of three central characters—Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. All three of them, in the passages, demonstrate a high moral character and are devoted to God.

We will focus on one of these characters—Naomi, and also look at why Ruth followed Naomi as closely as she did. There was something about Naomi that was indeed special.

Naomi is the first central character introduced in the book of Ruth as the story begins. She is married to Elimelech and travels from their home in Bethlehem along with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, to Moab in order to escape a famine in the land.

In this story, where Solomon is deemed as the narrator of this book, it is important to look at the names of the people involved, as it will reveal to us a glimpse of either the character or makeup of the individual. Elimelech means “My God is King.” Naomi’s name means “pleasant.” Of the two sons, Mahlon means “sickly,” while Chilion means “weak or failing.” Knowing these meanings sets the tone for the beginning of the story, and how the tragedy plays out.

From the story, after arriving in Moab, Elimelech dies. Their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, married Moabite women—Orpah and Ruth. Both Nahlon and Chilion also died while they were in Moab. Naomi is a widow and she has also lost her two sons. Only Orpah and Ruth remained with her in the family. Sadly, Elimelech’s effort to avoid the famine in Israel ends in tragedy for the family. Naomi, empty and broken, decides to return to Bethlehem. All of the moments of happiness in her adult life—marriage to a godly man and seeing her children get married—are now overshadowed with sadness and despair.

It is from the tragedy of losing her husband and sons that we learn of Naomi’s embittered state of mind. As she is traveling back to her original home in Judah, she reveals to Orpah and Ruth that “the Lord’s hand has turned against me” and she tells them to go back to their original homes and not accompany her to Judah because “my life is much too bitter for you to share.” (Judges 1:13) Naomi now prefers to be called “Mara” (meaning bitter) once she returns to Bethlehem.

“I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has pronounced judgment on me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:21)

 

Naomi’s pain runs deep. It is real and it is profound. It is a vivid expression of her emotional state. She believed that God had rejected her as she was still lamenting the loss of her husband and her sons.

There are two directions that you can go when you are in this state of mind. Only two. A person who is in despair can continue down the road of anger and self-pity, or take a path that lends to healing.

Consider this when you are speaking to a person who has undergone unspeakable tragedy. At times, the unspeakable tragedy requires nothing more than an unspoken word and your comforting presence—with hugs, embraces, and prayers of comfort. The moment we become a facsimile of Dr. Phil or some other caricature of a TV psychologist, that is the time when we may be at our worst in providing support for the other person.

Proverbs 12:18 ESV

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

 

James 1:26 ESV

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

 

Be careful, believers! Having the title of Christian does not give you a license to say something silly like, “Well, I guess it was God’s will,” or “maybe something is not right in your life.” Heed the warning in Matthew, Chapter 7:

Matthew 7:1-5 HCSB

“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

 

We are to certainly identify sin when it is called for in the proper moment, but it is always to be done with prayerful consideration and at the appropriate time. The only appropriate time is God’s time. His timing is perfect when we are earnestly listening to the Spirit before we even open our mouths.

From everything that we can see in this story, Naomi, in her state of despair, did not project her personal feelings onto Ruth. She showed Ruth a kind, gentle and nurturing spirit, and readily shared her wisdom and good advice to help Ruth, a Moabite, adapt as a foreigner in the land.

Naomi was hurt, and she knows that God allowed the hurt, but to her credit, she did not reject God or His wisdom.

We are to credit Naomi as a person who relied upon godly wisdom and who spoke words of kindness to Ruth.

Proverbs 25:11 ESV

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

 

Proverbs 7:4 HCSB

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your relative.  

 

By sharing her godly wisdom and knowledge, Naomi showed herself to be unselfish, loving and caring—all of these are godly attributes. She demonstrated a steadfastness and strength that can best be attributed to God being ever-present in her life.

Was Naomi special in her ability to put aside bitterness? No. She was human just as we are. She was certainly feeling loss and despair for days, weeks and months at a time. Her key to recovery was choosing the correct path in response to her state of discouragement. She knew the direction to take because of her relationship with her husband, and she relied upon God to strengthen her, heal her and deliver her through the pain. She did not allow her personal feelings to completely overshadow her relationship with God. She chose to follow Him, trust in Him and remain in fellowship with Him; otherwise, we would have seen a different response in her relationship with Ruth.

The name of Ruth happens to mean “companion or friend.” Ruth was a relative of Naomi, but she certainly must have been a great friend. Ruth had been through a lot on her own, but she respected and admired Naomi and recognized her godly devotion. She implored Naomi to remain with her in returning to Bethlehem:

Ruth 1:16-17 HCSB

But Ruth replied:

Do not persuade me to leave you

or go back and not follow you.

For wherever you go, I will go,

and wherever you live, I will live;

your people will be my people,

and your God will be my God.

Where you die, I will die,

and there I will be buried.

May Yahweh punish me,

and do so severely,

if anything but death separates you and me.

 

Naomi was able to share her godly wisdom with Ruth and treat her as if she was her own child. She had the desire for Ruth to find a new husband once she returned to Bethlehem, and was prayerful that she would do so (Ruth 2:19-20). In order for her to have concern for Ruth, she could not dwell on her own pain. In the end, her reverence for God and her ability to nurture Ruth, Orpah and others superseded her own feelings of hurt and despair.

Each of us can learn from Naomi. Naomi was far from perfect, but she was steadfast in her faith. She triumphed over her tragedy. She was victorious. She conquered bitterness by allowing God to move her to a better state of mind.

Bitterness is the end result of anger and prolonged despair. There are two paths that you can take in response to life’s moments of difficulty. Which one will you choose? Will you continue down the road to nowhere to experience more self-pity, or will you take the better road—the high road—the right road, and seek the comfort of Jesus Christ? Ministry does not stop for you when you experience pain and hardship. In fact, ministry in your life is just beginning. Your life is a story waiting to be told to a person who needs your wisdom and knowledge. You need to lead people to see the face and character of Jesus Christ when you speak from your experience. You need to call on the Lord, Jesus Christ for strength, wisdom and discernment in order to move through your own pain and discomfort, and continue to develop a heart for God that others will see in you.

All of this involves a humble heart. Humility is the road to stability. A humble heart allows you to make the right choices.

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

James 5:13 ESV

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.    

 

Jesus Christ will strengthen you.

Jesus Christ will heal you.

Jesus Christ will lift you.

You will exalt Jesus for everything He does for you.

A humble heart allows God’s presence to shine forth in your relationship with Him and with other people. The book of Ruth shows how God orchestrates His will and His power in the lives of His people in preserving the genealogy of Jesus Christ. He readily works through those who remain faithful to Him as He is faithful.

Naomi was faithful. She is our example of triumph over tragedy.

 

For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. (Psalm 33:4 ESV)

 

Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands. (Deuteronomy 7:9 HCSB)

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines