Category Archives: From the Pulpit

Develop your relationships. Colossians 3:17 – 4:1

RIGHT LIVING (V 17)

Paul’s instruction to the Colossians was to teach them that whatever they did was to be done in the name of Jesus and in doing so they would live to honour God. This meant that they were to take to heart the words he spoke to them in verse 11 that Christ was to be all and in all in their lives meaning that He was to be the centre of attraction in their lives. Are you living in such a way that you will not leave Jesus out of what you do and is it your motivation to bring glory to God?

 

AT HOME (3:18-21)

Paul pointed out to his readers that this way of living was to be practised in their homes. Wives were required to submit to their husbands because this was what God commanded them to do. This meant that they were to live under their husband’s authority just as they would as Christians live under the Lordship of Jesus. Husbands were required to love their wives and not mistreat them in any way. The love that the husband was to have for his wife was to be like the love that Jesus has for His children whom He came to save from sin. In the home children were required to obey their parents because in doing so they would please God which was to demonstrate to them that they mattered to Him therefore they were responsible to do as He commanded. Parents in turn were not to make their children’s lives a difficult experience but rather they were to train them up in the knowledge and will of God so that they would grow up to be godly. Are you as a wife, husband and child conducting yourself as God requires you to do in your relationships?

 

AT WORK (3:22-24 & 4:1)

Paul directed the attention of his readers to their relationships between each other as masters and slaves in order to point out to them that they also needed to abide by the principle of pleasing God in the way that they behaved towards each other. Although they were masters and slaves they were fellow believers in the Church therefore they were not to view each other as inferior or superior because in the house of God there was to be no discrimination. The slaves were to work as if they were serving Jesus as their boss and in doing so they would please their masters not just when they were being watched but especially when they were not present. The masters were required to be fair and just in the way that they treated their slaves because they were accountable to God for their actions towards them. Are you conducting yourself properly in the workplace as an employee and an employer?

 

WRONG LIVING (3:25)

Paul warned his readers that to fail to conduct themselves in the home and the workplace as God directed them would have serious consequences. A possible scenario that may occur is that wives may try to usurp their husband’s authority and husbands would become like tyrants making excessive demands on their wives. Their messed up relationship would result in their children being abused and as a result they will rebel against them. In the workplace the employee will go on strike, work slow, be lazy and waste time if the employer mistreats him or her. It is therefore necessary to avoid wrong living for God’s glory.

Deal with your earthly nature. Colossians 3: 5-11

A PREVIOUS WAY OF LIFE (V 7)

Before the Colossians were raised with Christ from spiritual death to life their earthly nature ruled their lives so that their hearts and minds were set upon earthly things. The implication of the writer reminding them of how they once lived their lives was in order to point out to them that they were not to continue in this lifestyle. If you are a Christian then you cannot live they way you did before you were rescued from your sins and made a child of God.

 

PUT TO DEATH CORRUPT DESIRES (V 5-6)

As a result of them being controlled by their earthly nature they pursued after indulging in the sensual pleasures of sex. Now that they had come to know Christ they were to put to death their old nature which meant that they had to deal radically with their sexual desires by killing them off so that they were not controlled by them. It was necessary for them to put a stop to living in sexual sin in order to avoid God’s wrath falling upon them because He was not pleased with them making it into an idol that they had worshipped.  The words ‘the wrath of God is coming’ were a warning to them that if they persisted in allowing their old nature to have its own way they would be judged by Him. God alone must be worshipped by you therefore you must destroy anything that takes His place in your life because it is an idol.

 

GET RID OF CORRUPT EMOTIONS (V 8-9)

As a result of them being controlled by their earthly nature they expressed themselves in uncontrolled emotional outbursts and used bad language in their speaking. When they became Christians the Colossians were instructed by Paul to get rid of these practices and habits which meant that they were to cease from showing anger, rage, malice and slander and refrain from allowing filthy language to come from their lips. They were therefore responsible to take off their earthly nature with all of its wrong practices so that their inner feelings did not get the better of them and explode nor were they to engage their tongues in speaking harmful words. As a child of God you must make every effort to avoid not having control over your emotions and speaking because it is not the way you ought to conduct yourself.

 

A NEW WAY OF LIFE (V 10-11)

In putting to death the old nature and clothing themselves with Jesus the Colossians were instructed by Paul to make Him the centre of their lives. The words ‘Christ is all and is in all’ meant that He was to be in complete control of their lives and live His life in and through them. Is Jesus the very centre of your life so that you are focussed upon loving, obeying, following and serving Him only? In making Jesus the head of their lives the Colossians would also have a changed relationship with others who were also Christians so that they would not look down upon or see any difference between those who were ‘Greek, Jew, circumcised, uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free’.

Develop your spiritual life. Colossians 3:12-17

GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE (V 12A)

Paul reminded the Colossians that they were to put to death and get rid of the sins that plagued their earthly nature because they were His chosen people. It was out of His love for them that they were selected to be members of His family therefore as a result His design for their lives were to make them holy. If you have been raised with Christ then it is because of God’s love that has called you to Himself therefore you need to live a life that is holy which means that you must put off sin and put on the nature of Jesus.

 

CLOTHE YOURSELF (V 12B-14)

Paul told his readers that as God’s chosen, dearly loved and holy people they were to put aside their earthly emotions of anger, rage, malice and slander and put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience which was the new nature that they had been given. The evidence of them living in this way was that they were to bear with the faults of one another and be willing to forgive each other just as Jesus forgave them of their sins against Him. Instead of them holding a grievance against each other they were to show love for one another because it would act like cement that would bind them close to each other so that they would be willing and ready to overlook their wrongs that had been done. As a Christian the nature of Jesus must dominate your life so that you will demonstrate His love in you by forgiving those who sin against you.

 

ENRICH YOURSELF (V 15-16)

In order for the Colossians to live in this way it was essential that the Word of God lived in their lives which meant that their hearts and minds were overflowing with the truth so that they would gain wisdom to know and understand its message. The consequences of the Word of God dwelling within them was that they would experience the peach of Christ which meant that they would know the reality of the presence of Jesus who is the Prince of Peace controlling and guiding their lives. The evidence of the Word of God being stored up in their lives and the peace of Christ filling them was that they would use the truth to teach each other and correct one another in love with spirit of forgiveness forgiveness. They would also engage themselves in giving praise to God with Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Does the Word of God live in you and are you using it to edify others and worship God?

 

GOD’S THANKFUL PEOPLE (V 17)

The Colossians were commanded by Paul that they were to do everything in the name of Jesus so that their lifestyle would please God. Your responsibility as a child of God is to put Jesus first and live to honour Him.

The Danger of not Growing Spiritually- Hebrews 5:11-6:12

THE DANGER OF NOT GROWING SPIRITUALLY

HEBREWS 5:11-6:12

SPIRITUAL INFANCY (5:11-14)

The readers who had probably been Christians for a period of time needed to be taught the elementary truths of God’s Word instead of themselves being teachers of the Word. Due to them being slow to learn they were not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness which meant that they did not know how to distinguish between good and evil. The condition that they were in was due to them not maturing in their knowledge and understanding of the truth therefore the writer drew their attention back to these elementary truths in order to motivate them to grow up in their faith so that they would be able to handle the Word of God effectively.

 

FOUNDATION OF SPIRITUAL LIFE (6:1-3)

Since the readers had been taught the elementary truths of the Word of God the writer pointed out to them that they needed to leave them in order to go onto maturity. He then reminded them of these elementary truths in order to inform them that they were essential to their spiritual wellbeing because without having ‘repented of their sins’, put their ‘faith in God’, being ‘baptised’ into His family and had ‘hands laid’ upon them which symbolised being set aside to be disciples they would not experience the ‘resurrection of the dead’ but would receive God’s ‘eternal judgement’. In saying to his readers that they needed to leave these foundational teachings he did not imply that they were no longer unimportant but rather that because they were familiar with them and had experienced them they needed to press on to become mature in Christ by building upon them so that they would grow up in their faith which would have enabled them to know the difference between good and evil and also be teachers of the Word. The readers needed to move on towards maturity because if they did not apply themselves to grow they would be in serious danger of falling away.

 

FALLING AWAY SPIRITUALLY (6:4-9) 

In order to warn his readers of the danger that confronted them because they were slow to learn the writer pointed out to them that if they had been ‘enlightened’ which meant to have their understanding opened to know the truth about salvation, ‘tasted the heavenly gift’ which meant experiencing God’s favour in their lives, ‘shared in the Holy Spirit’ which meant that they had been challenged by Him to repent and believe the gospel, ‘tasted the goodness of the Word of God’ which meant that they discovered the treasures of God’s truth and ‘tasted the powers of the coming age’ which meant that they had gained strength to resist sin and seek to live as a disciple and they then fell away they would not be brought back to repentance. The words ‘it is impossible to be brought back to repentance’ meant that as a result of them misappropriating and neglecting their spiritual wellbeing they would be guilty of crucifying Jesus they would be fully and finally rejected by God. The word, ‘if’ in verse 6 indicated that the writer used a hypothetical case study in order to confront his readers with the danger they were in due to their immaturity because since they were believers, albeit weak in the faith they could never be lost as he indicated to them in the words of verse 9. The way in which they would protect themselves was for them to mature.

 

SPIRITUAL MATURITY (6:10-12)

In order for the readers to grow up into maturity the writer urged them to get rid of their laziness and apply themselves to diligently exercise their faith by trusting in God and believe in His Word and to show their patience which referred to them persevering by pressing on going forward so that as they engaged themselves in doing this they would assure themselves of inheriting the promise that they had received. This exercise of working at developing their spiritual lives was to be continued until the very end of their lives which would make their hope sure that they would never be turned away by God.

BEING REAL IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD – COVENANT LOYALTY MALACHI 2:10-16

QUESTIONING GOD (V 13-14A)
Why is my life in a spiritual wilderness? Often when this question is asked God is seen as the cause of you not enjoying His blessings, receiving answers to your prayers and making your worship a dull and dreary affair. In asking this question the Children of Israel did not first examine their own hearts but rather questioned whether God really cared about them in their lowly estate of spiritual decline. Malachi’s response to then was that they had broken faith with one another and with their wives. Their treacherous dealings with these relationships were the cause of their spiritual bankruptcy. What is your relationship like with the members of the Body of Christ and with your spouse? A broken relationship is the cause of you being in a state of spiritual barrenness.

BREAKDOWN IN FELLOWSHIP (V 10-12)
The breaking of faith, which the Children of Israel were guilty of doing, was as a result of them not accepting God as their Father and Creator. These two descriptions of God’s character indicated to them that they were required to live in a covenantal relationship with Him by submitting themselves to Him serving, obeying and following Him. Malachi’s confronting them about profaning the covenant was to point out to them that as a result of them not acknowledging Him as being their Father and Creator they had harmed their relationships with their fellow Israelites. Relationships amongst believers in the Church are necessary and important therefore it is essential for every child of God to maintain the unity of the Spirit by honouring each other. The Children of Israel were not only guilty of damaging their personal relationships with each other but there were some who had committed a detestable act in God’s eyes by marrying the daughters of a foreign God. In marrying these women whom God had forbidden them to do they exposed themselves to idolatry and in doing so they did not consider Him as being their only Father and Creator. God called them to be His people so that they would be a holy nation separate from the evil around them. The opposition that God had towards the Israelites indicates that Christians are not permitted to marry anyone who is not a disciple of Jesus Christ. The danger in doing this is that it will harm their fellowship with God’s people because they will be torn in their commitment to serving Him, working in service with His people and caring for their spouse. In response to their marriage to pagan women God cut the Israelites off from the ‘tent of Jacob’, which means that He caused them to go through their spiritual dryness, which kept them out of touch with Him. If a Christian deliberately marries a non-Christian his or her life will be a great spiritual battle, which will be detrimental to their relationships with fellow believers in the Church.

BREAKDOWN IN MARRIAGE (V 14B-17A)
God had withdrawn His blessings from many of the male Israelites because they had broken faith with their wives. The phrase, ‘marriage covenant’ indicated that they had entered into a binding relationship with their wives, which they now decided to break off. This phrase is a reminder that when you commit yourself to marry your spouse you are under obligation to give of yourselves fully to each other. The vows that you say to each other on your wedding day is to promise to be faithful to each other until the day that you are parted by death. God’s intention from the beginning was that a man and a woman would be joined together to become as one and live in this state together in a covenant relationship. The words, ‘in flesh and spirit they are His’ indicated that when the Israelites established their marriage covenant with each other they displayed that they had entered into a relationship with God and therefore they were His treasured possession. The marriage covenant that you have with each other is to be patterned upon your relationship with your Saviour Jesus Christ and the implication is as Paul instructed the Ephesians that the husband must love his wife as Christ loves His Church and the wife must submit to her husband as the Church submits to Christ. As married Christians you are required to reflect in your relationship that you belong to God. God’s purpose for this relationship was that they would produce godly children. In the same way God’s purpose for your marriage is for you to have children whom you are then required to train by word and example so that they will come to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord and live to serve and follow Him. Although this was God’s intention these Israelites ended their relationship with their wives by divorcing them. God’s response to their action is that He told them that He hated divorce. Because of the hardness of the hearts of the Israelites God permitted divorce to happen so as to prevent harmful conflict but it is not His original intention. The words, ‘covering himself with violence as with his garment’ are God’s way of describing divorce as a violent action. Divorce is not the unpardonable sin therefore God is willing to forgive all who repent of this wrong action. Marital divorce can be compared with spiritual adultery. To be a Christian means that your devotion is to Christ and to no one else.

GUARDING YOUR FAITH (V 16B)
God was not responsible for the spiritual emptiness that pervaded the lives of the Children of Israel but rather it was their own fault because of breaking faith in their relationships. In order to help them overcome and put their relationships in the right order Malachi told them to guard their spirit which means that he instructed them to change the state of their hearts so that their thinking would be altered. The general cause of being in a spiritual wilderness is because your thoughts are not good towards those with who you are in a relationship with. To guard your spirit is another way of saying that you must develop your faith through your ongoing growth in your knowledge of God that happens as a result of you studying His Word.

Being Real In Your Relationship with God Malachi 2:1-9

GOD’S CHALLENGE IS TO BE NOTED (V 1)

God calls the Priests to task because they were on a slippery slid heading towards spiritual decline. Their failure to love God and acknowledge Him as their Father and Master, which had caused the Israelites to do the same, resulted in them being admonished for their waywardness. Although God’s message is directed at the Priests, the equivalent being leaders in the Church particularly those who preach the Word, it also applies to every child of God. God’s word of rebuke is to point out the spiritual failure of the priests and to correct them in order that they will live fruitful lives.

THE MARKS OF SPIRITUAL FAILURE (V 2-3 & 8-9)

The spiritual decline that appeared in the lives and ministry of the Priests began when they did not listen to the voice of God speaking to them. Your drifting away into spiritual barrenness is due to you not paying attention to what God has said to you in His Word. As a result of them not listening the Priests turned from God’s way and did not follow His instructions that He had given to them to obey. When God’s Word is not your guide then you will wander off in the wrong direction listening to the world and adopting its ideas. Since the Priests were not fully committed to the Word of God they treated it with partiality, which means that they did not teach all of the truth to the Israelites. If you are not depending upon all of the instructions of the Word of God you will be selective in what you will believe and practice. The neglect of the Priests regarding their attitude towards the Word of God caused them to lead many astray. Instead of drawing them closer to God they were the cause of them stumbling and falling into sin. To fail to live your life in the light of the teachings of the Word of God will result in you influencing others to turn their backs upon the grace of God offered to them in the gospel. The reason for the Priests not listening to God’s voice, not walking in His way, not dealing with His Word correctly and not helping many to avoid stumbling was because their hearts were not set upon honouring Him. If you are not living to glorify God then you will also act and behave as the Priests did. God’s response to their spiritual decline is that He cursed them by taking away their blessings so that they were humiliated and despised. To be deprived of God’s blessings is to experience His disapproval, which is described as having offal spread over your face. It is to be embarrassed and shamed.

THE MARKS OF SPIRITUAL FRUITFULNESS (V 5-7)

The spiritual decline that the Priests had fallen into could be changed if they acknowledged that God had made a covenant of life and peace with them. The covenant indicated that He had chosen them to be His servants and in doing so had given to them His salvation of life and peace. When you become a Christian you enter into a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ who gives to you the free gift of eternal life, which enables you to experience His peace, which is an assurance that your sins have been forgiven. In response to this relationship that God had established with them the Priests were required to revere Him and live in awe of His name, which meant that they were to live holy lives. As a child of God you are responsible to live your life seeking to resist the evil one, avoid falling into sin and please Him by obeying Him. As a result of them living in righteousness the Priests would make every effort to preserve the knowledge of the Word of God and seek to teach it truthfully. They would seek not to allow error to come from their lips but rather words that would instruct all who came to them to hear what God had said. Living a holy life before God will mean that you will value His Word above everything else. It will become your bedrock, foundation stone and guidebook, which you will seek to uphold and declare accurately to others. When the Priests fulfilled their task of teaching the Word truthfully they were able to turn many from their sins. The Word of God working through them was the means of saving many. When you take delight in the Word of God and seek to communicate it to others you will be helped by the Holy Spirit to influence them to turn to Jesus for salvation.

GOD’S COVENANT IS TO BE CONTINUED (V 4)

God spoke His word of admonition against the Priests in order to point out to them that His covenant was to continue despite their spiritual decline. The words, ‘says the Lord Almighty’ indicated that God had spoken authoritatively. Nothing will hinder the progress of His gospel, which He will use to fulfil His purposes. If you are in a state of spiritual decline then know that you are dishonouring God and as a result He will take away His blessings from you. Instead of continuing in this way of living turn back to God in repentance and get on board again to serve Him in His cause to reach the lost.

Being Real in Your Relationship with God (Part 2) Malachi 1:6-14

WORSHIP GOD WITH HONOUR AND FEAR (V 6A)

The priests were confronted by God through Malachi and accused of showing contempt for His name, which had influenced the Israelites to worship Him without honouring or fearing His name. The cause of their contempt of God and their failure to worship Him so as to honour and fear Him was due to their lack of love for Him. A lack of love in your heart for God and what He has done for you through His Son Jesus Christ will result in you not honouring and fearing Him in your worship. God deserved their worship because He was their Father which described that they were His children whom He loved and their Master which described that He was their Ruler to whom they were to subject themselves. To honour God is to exalt His name above everyone else by obeying His commands and following Him. To fear God is to conduct your life so that you will please Him by avoiding falling into the pitfalls of sin. Are you honouring and fearing God in your worship?

DEFILED WORSHIP (V 6B-8 & 12-14A)

In response to being told that they showed contempt for God’s name the priests asked Him how they managed to treat Him in this way. In questioning God they displayed that their lack of love for Him had blinded them from seeing what they were really doing. How do you react to God when He speaks to you about a habit, an action, an attitude or a behaviour pattern in your life that is contrary to His will for you? The priests were showing contempt to God because they were accepting blind, injured, blemished and diseased animals from the Israelites, which they were offering to Him as a sacrifice for their sins. In accepting any animal regardless of its condition they caused the Israelites to be called cheats by God and cursed by Him because instead of bringing a healthy animal, which they promised to do, they brought an unhealthy one to the altar. To be a cheat is to worship God with a loveless heart and just go through the motions as a ritual without seeking to honour Him and live in fear of Him. As a result of their defiled offerings they profaned God’s name, which caused the priests and the Israelites to consider their worship as a burden that had become a meaningless exercise to them. If you approach God with the wrong attitude towards Him then your worship will become a profanity, which will be of no spiritual value to you at all. God would not accept their worship and He asked them whether they would offer the same kind of offering to the governor who was in office at the time. They certainly would not because he would be dissatisfied with it therefore they were not to bring a defiled offering to their Father and Master. If you are in the workplace you would not contact your boss and say to him that you will not be at work the next day because you have something better to do. If you will not treat your boss this way then how can you say to God that you do not have time for Him or that you cannot attend His House because you are preoccupied with other priorities?

DESIREABLE WORSHIP (V 10-11 & 14B)

God’s displeasure with the worship of His people resulted in Him telling them that they should rather shut the temple doors so that they would not light useless fires on His altar. In these words He was rebuking them for the defiled worship that they were offering to Him and telling them to change their attitude and approach to Him because what they were doing was not an expression of their love for Him. God wanted them to stop fooling around and come to Him with a sincere heart that was prepared to honour and fear Him. God is to be worshipped in the way that He has prescribed therefore to worship Him in any other way is to deprive yourself of His transforming grace at work in your life. In order for the priests and Israelites to worship God in an acceptable way they needed to be reminded that He was a ‘great King’. In using this title about Himself God informed His people that He was their Ruler who needed to be acknowledged as being mighty, all-powerful and sovereign. To downgrade God, as just being a god amongst many gods is to treat Him as an idol therefore in order for you to worship Him in a desirable way you must understand that He is your King. As far as the Children of Israel were concerned their acknowledgement of God as being their King would be evident in them bringing unblemished animals to Him to be used as a sacrifice. Their worship of God was not to be limited to the altar because they were also to live as His faithful and obedient servants in order to show to the nations around them that He was their great King. As a member of the Church it is your responsibility that you live your every day life from the rising of the sun to the time that it sets honouring and fearing God so that the world will know who He is. A reason for the world rejecting the God of the Bible and His Word is often as a result of Christians living as they please and not according to His standards.

WORSHIP GOD IN REPENTANCE AND FAITH (V 9)

God is ready to forgive you if you are not living your life to worship Him in your daily living and when you meet in His House on the Sabbath Day according to His will. He therefore commands you to implore Him to be gracious to you. To implore God is to earnestly and sincerely seek after His forgiveness knowing that because He is gracious He will forgive you. You must therefore come to Him in repentance, which is to give up your defiled way of worshipping Him, and in faith, which is to offer to Him desirable worship.

Being Real in your Relationship with God Malachi 1:1-5

A WORD FROM GOD (V 1)

The Children of Israel had become very cynical in their relationship with God and doubted His concern for them. They were questioning Him and as a result they were living their lives in contempt of His name by not worshipping Him in an acceptable way. The priests were profaning His name by not teaching His Word accurately. They were wondering about His justice by saying that all who did evil were considered to be good by Him. They were robbing Him by not giving to Him their tithes and offerings. They considered that it was futile to serve Him. Yet despite their wrongdoings God sent His servant Malachi whose name means, ‘my messenger’, with a message to draw them back to Himself. Malachi described the message as a burden to indicate that it was weighty and needed to be announced because it contained an urgent appeal to them from God. God’s Word is not to be trifled with or treated lightly therefore you are obligated to listen in order to hear what He has to say to you.

GOD’S AMAZING LOVE (V 2-3A)

God began His appeal of drawing His people back to Himself by telling them of His love for them. In order to emphasise the greatness of His love for them He asked them, ‘was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ The Israelites knew that they were twins born from the same mother. He asked them this question in order to point out to them that although they were conceived together God overlooked Esau and did not save Him but chose Jacob instead to belong to Him. In pointing this out to the Israelites God told them that His love for them was not based upon who they were or what they had done but rather it was free, sovereign, unconditional and electing. God’s love is free because it is an overflow of His grace, His love is sovereign because He is not co-erced to love anyone, it is unconditional because He gives it to whoever He decides should receive it and it is electing because He makes the choice of those upon whom He will set His affection. In order to show them that His love for them was what they did not deserve and that they were a privileged people God said to them, ‘but Esau I hated’. These words reveal that God took the initiative to make them His own possession but He did not do the same for Esau and his descendants. Although they were a special people loved immensely by God they sarcastically asked Him the question, ‘how have you loved us?’ Their question indicated that they doubted whether He really loved them. Are you sure that God loves you? To be certain about His amazing love you need to think about what He has done for you through His Son who died in your place on the cross at Calvary in order to cleanse you from your sins and reconcile you to Himself.

GOD’S AWESOME WRATH (V 3B-4)

In order to draw His people back to Himself God also told them about His wrath. God’s nature is both love and wrath. This does not mean that He has a split personality but rather that He reveals Himself through showing His amazing love to those whom He has chosen to be His own and His awesome wrath against those whom He has overlooked and who continue to live in sin and rebellion against Him. Esau became an object of God’s wrath because he rejected his birthright for a plate of stew. In doing so he turned his back upon his inheritance and indicated his rejection of God. Although he wept when he did not receive his father’s blessing he did not repent of his sin but rather sought to kill his brother. His descendants, the Edomites followed his example and became the enemies of the Children of Israel. The Prophets Obadiah and Ezekiel prophesied against them and indicated that God had placed His hand of judgement upon them which resulted in their land being called, ‘the wicked land’. This term indicated that it was turned into a desert wasteland, barren and bare with no one living in it. Although they tried to rebuild God stepped in and destroyed it because His wrath was upon them. God’s dealings with the Edomites are a reminder of how He treats all who wilfully go against Him and do not submit to Him. The consequences of everyone who does not believe in Him is that their lives will become an empty meaningless pursuit that will become aimless and leave them living without hope but only the certainty of His judgement upon them. Are you living like Esau and the Edomites refusing to come to God to receive the gift of His love?

A WORD ABOUT GOD (V 5)

God is great and all-powerful therefore His Word spoken through His servant Malachi will come to fruition because His love for His people will never change nor will His wrath towards sinners be stopped. God has spoken to you therefore are you a recipient of His love or His wrath?

 

From the Pulpit: Love will find a way Ruth 3:1-18

SEEKING AFTER A REDEEMER (V 1-4)

After being made aware of the identity of Boaz as being her kinsman-redeemer Naomi devised a plan for him to marry Ruth because the Levirite law that God instituted required that a dead man’s brother was to take his brother’s widow into his home as his wife and have children through her so as to continue his family line. Through the report that she received from Ruth and the way he treated her when she gleaned in his field she recognised Boaz as being a godly man therefore as their kinsman-redeemer he was the ideal person to marry her. Since Naomi was beyond the age of child bearing Ruth who was fully committed to her through marriage was the ideal woman for Boaz to marry and through her to continue the line of their dead husbands Elimelech and Mahlon. Her plan was for Ruth to take the initiative and offer herself to Boaz in marriage. Her action indicates that in order for you to enter into a relationship with the perfect kinsman-redeemer Jesus Christ you must come to Him in repentance and faith.

A REQUEST TO OBTAIN REDEMPTION (V 5-10)

Ruth followed her mother-in-laws instructions and went down to the threshing floor of the field of Boaz. After he had finished eating his meal she noted where he went to lay down for the night. She then crept up to him, uncovered his feet and lay down. Although the instruction given by Naomi appeared to be rather risqué and a possible danger to Ruth it was the way ordained by God for her to approach Boaz who by his actions towards her had shown that he was attracted to her. In the middle of the night Boaz was startled by something and woke up and looking around he saw Ruth and asked her to identify herself, which she did by referring to herself as being his servant. Ruth’s response in calling herself a servant is a reminder that when you come to God you must approach Him in humility submitting yourself fully to Him. Instead of waiting to hear from Boaz what she was required to do Ruth asked him to cover her with the corner of his garment which was her request for his hand in marriage. The words spoken by Ruth are closely related to the prayer prayed for her by Boaz in chapter in which he asked that God would richly bless her for placing herself underneath His wings. In asking Boaz to cover her with his garment she wanted him to be the answer to his prayer because in taking her as his wife he would rescue her from her poverty. In order to be saved from your sins you must ask God to become your Redeemer and make you His child by removing your sins from you. Boaz was overwhelmed by her offer because it was not a selfish one but done out of genuine love for him and also for her mother-in-law. The phrase, ‘this kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier’ actually indicated the sacrificial love of Ruth because she willingly gave herself to become the wife of Boaz and in doing so she would be able to provide for Naomi so that she would not continue to live in poverty. The love of Ruth is a reminder that love is not a feeling, a passion or an emotion only but a genuine commitment to do good to others.

A PROMISE TO PROVIDE REDEMPTION (V 11-15)

After realising what had been offered to him Boaz promised that he would fulfil Ruth’s request. The response of Boaz indicates that when you sincerely call upon God for His help He will hear you and come to rescue you. In pointing out that his townsmen knew that Ruth was a woman of noble character Boaz was showing that she was a woman who acted in faith and love and because of these godly qualities he was more than willing to make her as his wife. Although Boaz was ready and willing to become the husband of Ruth there was a legal obstacle that needed to be sorted out before he could continue. There was another kinsman-redeemer who was a closer relative to Naomi and Ruth than himself who needed to be informed about the role that he was required to fulfil. Boaz could have remained silent about this kinsman-redeemer but instead he informed Ruth of the situation because he did not want to take any advantage of him. His actions are very commendable because they indicate that you must always seek to do what is right and never do what is just suitable or convenient for yourself. Boaz was governed by the words, ‘as surely as the Lord lives’ which indicated that he trusted in Him and believed that in doing things His way he would be directed in the right pathway. In a similar way you need to submit to God’s way in your life and not go ahead without seekin His leading. Boaz assured Ruth that if the closer relative would not take her as his wife then he most certainly would. He told Ruth to remain lying at his feet until the morning light not because his emotions were stirred and he wanted to take advantage of her but rather he was concerned for her safety. He needed to keep his hands off her in order to protect himself from any scandal that may arise if he had shown any discretion towards her. His actions are an instruction to couples that are dating and planning to get married that it is better to guard yourselves from hasty passion until your marriage is legalised and sealed on your wedding day. The next morning Boaz gave Ruth six measures of barley, which indicated his commitment to her, and then he went into town to sort out the matter. His generosity to Ruth is an indication of the mercy and grace that God will pour out upon you when you obey and follow Him.

SALVATION FROM A REDEEMER (V 16-18)

When Ruth arrived at home her mother-in-law Naomi actually asked her ‘who are you’ which meant, ‘are you Mrs Boaz yet’. She seemed confident that Boaz would become her husband because he would not rest until he had sorted out the matter. Naomi’s reaction to the events of the previous night indicates that when you come to God in repentance and faith He will save you from your sins and adopt you into His family to become His child.

From the Pulpit: God’s hand of providence and man’s responsibility Ruth 2:1-23

GOD PROVIDES A REFUGE (V 11-12)

On hearing about the commitment of Ruth to the God of Israel and His people, Boaz prays that she will be richly rewarded by Him. He describes her faith in God as taking refuge under His wings. God does not have physical wings but this phrase indicates that she gave up her own homeland and family to follow and serve Him. In committing herself to God she entrusted her life to Him and believed that He would provide for her and her mother-in-law. It is in living in this way that you will be able to accept that God’s hand is at work in your life fulfilling His purposes for you even though you may not fully understand what He is doing.

GOD PROVIDES A RESCUER (V 1, 4-9, 13-16 & 19-21)

Boaz is introduced at the beginning of the chapter because he had an important role to play in the outworking of God’s plans for Ruth and Naomi. He was a relative of Naomi’s dead husband whom she had probably forgotten about during her bout of bitterness that she went through. When she was informed by Ruth that she had worked on his field she realised that God’s hand was upon her and recognised him as being her kinsman-redeemer. As a kinsman-redeemer he was responsible to rescue Ruth and Naomi from their poverty because it was God’s command for His people to care for those in need. In realising his identity and the role that he would play Naomi was full of praise and rejoiced in God for His provision of a human saviour. Boaz was also a man of standing, which indicates that he was wealthy therefore he had the means to rescue Ruth and Naomi. His role as a kinsman-redeemer is a picture of Jesus who is the perfect Saviour of His people. He was sent by God to offer up His life as a sacrifice and die in order to save His people from their sins. Boaz was a godly man because he spoke in ways that honoured God, which was evident in the way that he spoke to Ruth. The greeting that he received from the harvesters indicates that he had an influence upon them so that the language that they used was to also please God. As Christians your language should be seasoned with salt so that you will speak the truth in love in order to build each other up in the faith. In response to the generosity of Boaz Ruth was filled with gratitude because he was able to rescue her and her mother-in-law from their poverty. God has sent Jesus to make you rich therefore you should be filled with thankfulness and give Him praise for what He has done for you.

GOD PROVIDES A REMEDY (V 2-3, 7, 10 & 17-18)

Ruth did not allow her poverty to overwhelm her therefore she decided to go out and glean barley on a field of a farmer who would allow her to do so. God’s command to farmers was that they were not to harvest their crops that grew on the edge of their fields so that the poor could come and gather food for themselves. This practice was God encouraging His people to care for the poor. In a similar way you need to be concerned about assisting those who are in need. When Ruth decided to go gleaning Naomi encouraged her to do so and she stepped out in faith believing that God would supply their needs. Her action is a reminder that you must not sit back and wait for things to happen in order to solve your problems. Rather you must take the initiative and seek to find a solution to your need trusting that God will direct your path. Although Ruth came to understand that she would be able to glean in a field she did not go with the attitude that some farmer owed her a supply of food. Rather she went in humility and politely asked the foreman on Boaz’s field whether she could work gathering barley. When Ruth set off to go and find work she had no idea where she would be able to glean, but God directed her to go to the field of Boaz. It was not a coincidence or a chance happening because God was involved in making sure she went to his field because of his role as the kinsman redeemer. In directing her footsteps you can be sure that God will lead you in the way you should go and what He wants you to do in His service.

GOD PROVIDES A RELIEF (V 22-23)

After Naomi discovered who Boaz was she encouraged Ruth to return to his field and work there till the end of the harvest because it would be a safe haven for her. She did what was suggested and in doing so indicated her life of living by faith. In committing herself to work on Boaz’s field she was indicating that she had placed herself under the wings of God her provider. As you surrender yourself to God and trust in Him He will enable you to endure the issues that you may face in life and in His time He will fulfil His purposes for you.