Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ruth Chapter 4

The story of Ruth begins with weeping but concludes with a wedding, in which Boaz and Ruth get married, and Naomi finds her empty heart full of joy and her empty hands full of a baby boy. This chapter focuses on three persons: a bridegroom, a bride, and a baby.

Ruth 4:1-10 Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat down there: and, behold, the kinsman whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s: And I thought to advise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it besides thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.

First, let’s look at the bridegroom. Not everybody could perform the duties of a kinsman redeemer. To begin, he had to be a near kinsman. This was the major obstacle Boaz had to overcome because another man in Bethlehem was a nearer relative to Ruth than he was.  We see in this chapter, the nearer kinsman was not willing to redeem Ruth, so Boaz was free to purchase both the property and a wife.

Boaz is a picture of Jesus Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer. Jesus wasn’t concerned about jeopardizing His own inheritance; instead, He made us a part of His inheritance. Like Boaz, Jesus did what He did because of His love for His bride.

Ruth 4:11-12 And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem. And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.

Second, let’s look at the bride. The people prayed that Ruth would be fruitful in bearing children, for in Israel children were considered a blessing and not a burden. It was important that the wives bear children, not only to perpetuate the nation, but also because it would be through Israel that God would send the Messiah to earth.

Ruth 4:13-22 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the woman said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbors gave it a name saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

Third, let’s look at the baby. God would use this baby to be a source of blessing to many. Obed was a blessing to Boaz and Ruth. What a great privilege it is to bring new life into the world and then guide that life so it matures to become all that God has planned! Obed was also a blessing to Naomi. His grandmother informally “adopted” him as her own son and the women of Bethlehem shared Naomi’s joy. Obed would also bring blessing to Bethlehem. The child would bring fame to both the family name and the name of his native town. This happened through the life and ministry of King David and of David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ. Obed would also be a blessing to Israel. Obed was the grandfather of King David, one of Israel’s greatest rulers. Obed would also bring blessing to the whole world. The greatest privilege God gave him was that of being the ancestor of the Messiah.

Never underestimate the power of the grace of God.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ruth Chapter 3

In the steps Ruth takes, recorded in this chapter, we see the five steps God’s people must take if they want to enter into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Let’s continue our study in chapter three and see how a simple act of faith brings the dawning of a new day.

Ruth 3:1-5 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor. Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt g in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do. And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.

First, Ruth prepared to meet Boaz. Ruth made a fivefold preparation before she presented herself to Boaz. First, she washed herself. If we want to enter into a deeper relationship with our Lord, we must cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1). Second, she anointed herself. People used fragrant oils as a fragrant perfume that would make one nice to be near. Anointing oil speaks of the presence and the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. All believers have received the anointing of the Spirit, and therefore we ought to be a fragrance of Christ. Third, she changed clothes. She was to put off the garments of a sorrowing widow and dress for a special occasion. We cannot come into God’s presence in our own righteousness for all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We can only come in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Fourth, she learned how to present herself to him. There was nothing improper about this procedure, for it was the only way Ruth could offer herself to her kinsman redeemer. She had to put herself at the feet of the lord of the harvest, and he would do the rest. Fifth, she promised to obey. She was not only a hearer of the word, but she was a doer.

Ruth 3:6-9 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.

Second, Ruth submitted to Boaz. The men of a village would take turns using the threshing floor. The men would often work in the evening when the breeze was up, and they slept at the threshing floor to protect the harvest. Ruth was coming to his feet to propose marriage. She was asking him to obey the law of the kinsman redeemer and take her as his wife. To spread one’s mantle over a person meant to claim that person for yourself, particularly in marriage.

Ruth 3:10-14 And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman. And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning. And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.

Third, Ruth listened to Boaz. In the responses of Boaz to Ruth, we see how the Lord responds to us when we seek a deeper relationship with Him. Boaz accepted Ruth, just as our kinsman accepts us. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Boaz assured Ruth. Not only did Boaz calm Ruth’s fears, but he also made a promise to her concerning her future.

Ruth 3:15-17 Also he said, Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city. And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. And she said, These six measures of barley game he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.

Fourth, Ruth received gifts from Boaz. She had not asked him for anything, but he gave the grain to her because he loved her.  Naomi and Ruth were now full because of the grace of the kinsman redeemer. Ruth’s faith and obedience had brought about a complete transformation in their lives, and now they were living by grace.

Ruth 3:18 Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.

Fifth, Ruth waited for Boaz to work. Since Naomi and Ruth believed that Boaz would accomplish what he said he would do, they waited patiently. I must confess that waiting is one of the most difficult things for me to do, it’s so easy for me to get impatient with the Lord and start meddling in matters that I ought to leave alone; but I must remember, God can accomplish the impossible and my hands may get in the way and make matters worse. Boaz was working for Ruth, and Naomi was confident that he would not rest until he had settled the matter. It encourages my heart to know that Jesus Christ is working unceasingly for His people as He intercedes in heaven, and He is working in us, seeking to conform us to His perfect will. Have you put yourself at the feet of the Lord of the Harvest, and are you trusting Him to work?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Internship for High School Credit - TOS Review

Internship can be a great way for high school students to explore a career and Apologia Educational Ministries has created Internship for High School Credit to walk students and parents through the process of a high school internship. Not only are internships an outstanding way for homeschool students to explore a career path before committing to years of expensive training in a chosen field, but with the right know-how, students can also earn high school credit for their time and effort.

The purpose of this workbook is to walk students and parents through the entire process of a high school internship. Sherri Seligson takes you step by step through the process of landing and planning a good internship – getting the internship you want, documenting your internship for high school credit, identifying jobs that match your interests, writing a resume, and preparing for interviews. The workbook contains worksheets that will document your experiences during the internship. It includes places to log hours worked as well as detailed questions to help further explore your chosen field of interest.

Students and parents should read parts I and II first, and then plan a time to discuss what you have both read. After you decide on your field of interest and a possible career to explore, choose a company and write a resume – a quick advertisement of who you are. With your resume completed, you are now ready to write a letter of introduction, sometimes called a cover letter. After a company has received your letter of introduction and resume, it is time to make final preparations for an interview. This is when prospective employers get to know you personally and see how you handle yourself with people. Once you obtain your internship, it is time to make sure you are well prepared for the position.

Now it is time to plan the number of hours per week you will need to work. A typical one-semester high school course that earns one-half credit represents 75 hours of internship time. A full-credit course usually represents about 150 hours pf internship time. Plan your work, then work your plan.

Internship is a great way to explore a career. For years, my daughter Kaylee was interested in veterinary medicine, and after working at the Main Street Veterinary Clinic she realized that she wanted to work with healthy animals and not sick animals. Her internship experience has now lead her to explore other careers in the animal field.

In choosing a career, an internship is invaluable. My daughter Brieanna is usually seen with a book in hand, so we knew the Kountze Public Library was a great place for her internship experience. She has learned invaluable skills through day-to-day job responsibilities.

Internship and homeschooling – two great life choices that go great together! When the conventional path to a career is no sure thing, internships can be an effective way to get a foot in the door with a top employer!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ruth Chapter 2

Ruth was willing for God to have His way in her life; so God began His gracious work with Ruth. If we want God to work in our lives and circumstances, then there are three conditions that we must meet. Let’s continue our study in chapter two and see how Ruth is overwhelmed by grace.

Ruth 2:1-3 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Namoi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.

First, we must live by faith in the Lord. To live by faith means to take God at His Word and then act upon it. Since Ruth believed that God loved her and would provide for her, she set out to find a field in which she could glean. This was an act of faith because she didn’t know who owned the fields.

It is here that Boaz enters the story, a relative of Elimelech, who was a mighty man of wealth. By the providence of God, Ruth gleaned in the portion of the field that belonged to Boaz.

Ruth 2:4-16 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitesh damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger? And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust. Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens. And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left. And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

Second, we must live by the grace of God. When Ruth set out that morning to glean in the fields, she was looking for someone who would show her grace. Grace is a favor bestowed on someone who doesn’t deserve it and can’t earn it. The channel of that grace was Boaz. How good it is to know that God has good people living in bad times!

No sooner had Boaz greeted his workers than his eye caught the presence of a stranger in the field. I believe it was love at first sight. Again, we marvel at the providence of God. The Lord led Ruth to the field of Boaz and then led Boaz to visit his field while Ruth was there. When we commit our lives to the Lord, what happens to us happens by way of appointment and not by accident. God was about to create a new relationship that would completely alter her circumstances.

Ruth 2:17-23 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave her that she had reserved after she was sufficed. And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz. And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest. And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field. So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.

Third, we must live in hope. When Ruth had asked permission to go to the fields to glean, Naomi gave her daughter in law no word of encouragement; but now she not only blessed Ruth’s benefactor, but she also blessed the Lord! What a change has taken place in the heart of this grieving widow! This change came about because of the new hope she had in her heart. When Ruth shared with Naomi what Boaz had said, Naomi’s hope grew even more because the words of Boaz revealed his love for Ruth and that he was making plans that included her and her daughter in law.

Ruth’s experience of grace gave her new hope as she anticipated what her kinsman redeemer would do. No matter how you feel today, no matter how difficult your circumstances may be, you can rejoice in hope if you will focus your faith on Jesus Christ.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ruth Chapter 1

The story of Ruth has both captivated and significantly challenged me over the years in many ways. Over the next month, we will study chapter-by-chapter, and see how God providentially guides and blesses all who trust Him.

If we obey God’s will, everything in life holds together; but if we disobey, everything starts to fall apart. Nowhere in the Bible is this truth better illustrated than in the experiences of Elimelech and his wife Naomi. Let’s begin our study in chapter one and see three mistakes that we must avoid as we deal with the problems and trials of life.

Ruth 1:1-5 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-judah. And they came into the country f Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.

The first mistake that we must avoid is unbelief – trying to run from our problems. Many of God’s people today are living in unbelief and disobedience and are not enjoying the blessings of God. During this time in history, Israel was reaping the harvest of their disobedience; but God was producing the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of Ruth and Naomi.

How strange that there should be a famine in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread”! In the Old Testament, a famine was often an evidence of God’s discipline because His people had sinned against Him. During the time of the Judges, Israel repeatedly turned from God and worshipped the idols of the heathen nations around them; and God had to discipline them.

Elimelech made the wrong decision when he decided to leave home. What made this decision so wrong? He walked by sight and not by faith. How do you walk by faith? By claiming the promises of God and obeying the Word f God, in spite of what you see, how you feel, or what may happen.

Elimelech and his family had fled Judah to escape death, but the three men met death just the same. The family had planned to sojourn in Moab, but they remained there for about ten years. At the end of disobedience, all that remained were three lonely widows and three graves in a heathen land. Such is the consequence of unbelief. We cannot run away from our problems.

Ruth 1:6-18 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughtes, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.

The second mistake that we must avoid is deception – trying to hide our mistakes. How sad it is when people only hear about God’s blessing, but never experience it, because they are not in the place where God can bless them.

Naomi’s decision was right, but her motive was wrong. She was still interested in food, not in fellowship with God. You don’t hear her confessing her sins to God and asking Him to forgive her. She was returning to her land but not to her Lord.

Ruth dearly loved her mother in law. Since Elimelech and Mahlon were now dead, Ruth was under the guardianship of Naomi; and she should have obeyed her counsel; but God intervened and graciously saved Ruth.

Ruth’s statement in Ruth 1:16-17 is one of the most magnificent confessions found in Scripture. First, she confessed her love for Naomi and her desire to stay with her even unto death. Then she confessed her faith in the true and living God and her decision to worship Him alone. She was willing to forsake her father and mother in order to cleave to Naomi and the God of her people.

Ruth 1:19-22 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

The third mistake that we must avoid is bitterness – blaming God for our trials. Naomi had been away from home for ten years, and the people were shocked when they saw her. The name Naomi means “pleasant” but she was not living up to her name. She was not the Naomi whom they had known a decade before. Her ten years in Moab, and the sorrows they had brought, had taken their toll on Naomi. Instead of making her better, the trials of life had made her bitter, which is the meaning of the word mara.

It was barley harvest when the two widows arrived in Bethlehem, a time when the community expressed joy and praise to God for His goodness. It was spring, a time of new life and new beginning. Naomi was about to make a new beginning; for with God, it’s never too late to start over again.