"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting , so you can respond to God’s giving . People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
It’s the time and season of preparation for what God is going to unleash into your life.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
- - v. 46: the favor of God is always found in the house of God "found Him in the temple"
- there is an increase in the favor of God in your life when you are found in the house of God.
- listening to them and asking them questions”
- - learn to listen and ask questions, people don’t like a know-it-all, learn to ask questions and draw things out of people.
- it puts you in a position of teachability. when you are teachable, it draws the favor of God into your life
- Jesus was teachable
- - v. 51: Jesus submitted to His parents even though He wasn’t in the wrong
- submission always unleashes the wisdom and favor of God into your life
- submission is not easy, if it were, it wouldn’t be submission
Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline;
whoever learns from correction is wise.
To learn, you must love discipline;it is stupid to hate correction.
- when you submit to correction, it brings favor
- be quick to submit to correction even though you might not understand it then
- correction is not easy or comfortable, but when you submit, God’s favor will elevate you, there will be a new level of anointing upon your life
- when you submit, you allow God to move in your life
A good man obtains favor from the Lord,But a man of wicked intentions He will condemnWhen you love discipline and embrace correction, favor is multiplied in your life
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for“God resists the proud,But gives grace to the humble.”6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
- humility = ability to submit to your parents, leaders, boss, etc, those in authority over your life
- humility = ability to receive correction
- if God puts that person in your life, they are there for a reason and God will use that person to speak into your life, He is not limited by whether that person is a believer or not.
- favor will bring you to the right place at the right time and exalt you.
11 Then Elkanah returned home to Ramah without Samuel. And the boy served the Lord by assisting Eli the priest.Eli’s Wicked Sons12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord 13 or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, 14 the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli’s sons. All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way. 15 Sometimes the servant would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting.16 The man offering the sacrifice might reply, “Take as much as you want, but the fat must be burned first.” Then the servant would demand, “No, give it to me now, or I’ll take it by force.” 17 So the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord’s sight, for they treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt.18 But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord. He wore a linen garment like that of a priest. 19 Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. 20 Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord.” 21 And the Lord gave Hannah three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.22 Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 23 Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? 24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death.26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.
- - v. 11: when you serve that authority in your life, God sees it as serving Him and He unleashes His favor in your life
- - there’s a contrast between Eli’s sons and Samuel. The reason why their sin was so serious is because they had no regard for the finished work.
- - v. 18: linen = righteousness
- Samuel had a high regard for the finished work
- When you have a high regard for the finished work, it’s easy for you to receive favor.
- When you operate in the area of your giftings, there’s an ease and favor
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.- it’s easy to cast your cares to someone who cares for you
For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
- when you have the revelation that you are always the righteousness of God in Christ, you become a favor magnet
- Favor promotes and protects
21 And the Lord gave Hannah three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.22 Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 23 Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? 24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God[g] can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death.26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.
- practice the presence of God and His favor and wisdom will manifest in your life
Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli (2nd mention of this phrase). Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.2 One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God.
- v. 1: Samuel also went through a season of preparation, he didn’t get to his destiny overnight
- He served the Lord by assisting Eli. There’s a lot you can learn from assisting someone, you’d be amazed at what God will show you.
- Samuel still served Eli even after all we know about Eli, it doesn’t matter who you serve, when you serve that person, you are serving the Lord and God’s favor will be upon your life.
- v. 3: Samuel positioned himself to be in the position of the Ark - Jesus. Samuel had a hunger and heart for Jesus and he was sleeping (at rest) in the presence of Jesus. When you are at rest in the presence of Jesus, favor comes pouring into your life.
Proverbs 8:35For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
When your eyes/focus are on Jesus, favor follows you.When you are with Jesus, you can’t help but have favor rub off on you.
19 So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.
- when the Lord is with you, the favor of God is in your life, nothing can stand against you, nothing can keep you down. You are victorious.
- the favor of God gives weight to your words
- the favor of God establishes you
The gospel is nothing more than good news.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
- the gospel of Christ is THE (definite article) power of God
- Salvation (is a very rich word) = health, wholeness, preservation, peace, prosperity, protection
- Salvation = sozo (Gr.)
- Yeshua (Jesus) from the word Yesha (salvation)
- the power of God to release salvation is in the gospel of Christ
14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down. 15 And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”
16 Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: 17 The God of this people Israelchose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it.
- Antioch in Pisidia, different from Antioch in Syria
- Paul was the only one given the full gospel of grace by God. The rest of the disciples did not have the revelation Paul had. In fact, Peter stood up on the day of Pentacost and told the Jewish people that they killed the messiah, but it is God in His foreknowledge who delivered Him because Jesus wasn’t murdered, He laid down His life, no one could take His life from Him; the disciples didn’t fully understand the gift of righteousness and that He died for our sins.
- Paul was on his way to Damascus and was blinded by a light from heaven for 3 days. God sent Ananias = the grace of Yah (the grace of God) to open Paul’s eyes. The first person Paul saw was the grace of God and he was put on a street called Straight.
- He knows there is no compromise for the gospel of grace. (Galatians 1:8-9) Paul pronounced a double curse on those who preach any other gospel.
- Paul wrote 3/4 of the New Testament, if only we can hear him preach, but there are no CDs of his sermons, however, one sermon is documented.
- v. 15: If you go to a synagogue today, you will hear the haftorah read on the Sabbath.
- v. 16-35: Paul gave them the Old Testament in a nutshell.
36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; 37 but He (Jesus) whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
- God wants you to serve your generation.
- v. 37: there’s a verse in the OT that says the one who God raises saw no corruption and the Jews thought it was David but David saw corruption, while Jesus never did, His body never decayed.
- v. 38-39: By Jesus all who believe are JUSTIFIED from ALL things - has no conditions on man’s part. the proclamation comes in a full and unqualified manner.
- A lot of people will want to add to it and say ‘justified from all things for those who have a heart for God, etc”
- Nothing for you to do but believe. Jesus’ work on the Cross is finished, you cannot add to it.
- Many Christians think the forgiveness of sins is the beginning BUT it is the foundation and mother of ALL blessings.
- Before you can receive healing, you must have the assurance that your sins are forgiven. (eg. when they lowered the lame man from the roof top, Jesus said to him that his sins are forgiven first, and then healed him)
- Psalm 103:2-3 - Benefit 1. who forgives all your iniquities. Benefit 2. who heals all your diseases.
- Some Christians say forgiveness of sins is basic. The gospel is not basic. The bible calls the law the equivalent of childcare while the gospel is the HQ.
- The gospel is simple. Simple does not mean cheap.
- Some people are saying that grace shouldn’t be taught as the forgiveness of sins but as empowerment. How can you, if you’re not assured of your forgiveness, be empowered?
- Jesus told the lady caught in adultery “neither do I condemn you” (forgiveness of sins) then told her to go and sin no more.
- Unless you are assured that your sins are forgiven, you will go and sin somemore.
- Grace is NOT empowerment, but it empowers you to go and sin no more.
- God placed all your sins (past, present and future) on Jesus and you are completely forgiven.
- Understanding and believing you are forgiven is what produces obedience
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
- all true fear of the Lord is produced from the understanding of His forgiveness, it’s where there is true worship
- I’m forgiveness conscious, therefore I’m Jesus conscious and I’m closer to Him.
- When you feel you’re not forgiven, you feel distanced from Jesus and when you’re distanced, what power is there to overcome?
- We must always be forgiveness conscious.
1 John 2:12
I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
- "forgiven": perfect passive indicative - it is done to you, you don’t play any part.
- your sins are forgiven once and for all.
- there’s a lot of resentment in the church (universal, around the world) because people don’t understand this
- the reason we don’t forgive as much as we should is because we don’t understand how much we are forgiven.
- forgive as much as you’re forgiven
- if you think God only forgives you of your past sins, you will also measure it to others
- when you don’t realise you are forgiven, you won’t be forgiving
- when you don’t believe you are forgive, you withdraw from God; God does not see you the way you see yourself.
- it is possible for believers to be forgiven, yet not realise they’re forgiven and be sin-conscious.
36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Himweeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped themwith the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
- Those who are forgiven much love Him much
40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:
41 ‘Behold, you despisers,
Marvel and perish!
For I work a work in your days,
A work which you will by no means believe,
Though one were to declare it to you.’”
Blessing and Conflict at Antioch
42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:
‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
49 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit
- v. 40-41: despisers of grace, God will do a work through Jesus so good that the despisers will not believe
- v. 42: some words are worth repeating.
- "Where there is forgiveness of sin, there is life and all blessedness. We do not obtain forgiveness by good works, but through the forgiveness of sin come good works. First remove sin from the conscience, and it will also be dethroned in the heart." - Martin Luther
- Repentance does not produce forgiveness of sins; forgiveness of sins produces repentance!
- It is the goodness of God that leads you to repentance.
- v. 43: told them to “continue in the grace of God”
- v. 44-45: it wasn’t the message, it was the multitudes that caused the Jews to envy them and then for them to be persecuted.
- Almost the whole city turned up only because of the Word of God (grace)
- v. 51: if you share the gospel of grace to someone and they’re not open, simply share with someone else. It is not your loss.
Always have the sense that all your sins are forgiven.
2 Peter 1:5-9
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
- v. 5-7: Christian character
- v. 9: those who don’t manifest these traits are because they have forgotten that they are forgiven.
Focusing on forgiveness of sins is the key to victory over your sins.
Joseph is the character in the bible who speaks to us most of Jesus. Joseph was rejected by his brothers, so was Jesus (rejected by the Jews), Joseph was the beloved of his father, so was Jesus, etc
The Five Times Joseph Wept
- Genesis 42:24
- Genesis 43:30
- Genesis 45:2
- Genesis 49:33-50:1
v. 33: there’s life after death
- Genesis 50:15-23
v. 17: Jesus is grieved when we don’t believe we are forgiven.
- the Holy Spirit is grieved because we don’t speak words of grace, likewise, the Holy Spirit rejoices when we speak words of grace.
The book of Ruth can be seen from dispensational aspect or devotional aspect & personal application (sermon today).
Famine doesn’t mean you need to move.
Decisions we make to relocate our families just because of economic conveniences is a very shallow decision. Your priority should be a good church. Jesus is number one and He can feed your family.
Everything was against Ruth.
- she was a widow
- had her mother-in-law with her
- not a Jew
BUT she confessed grace. By law, she’s disqualified. Law is about you, but grace is all about God - when it’s about you, you have a problem, but when it’s about God, it’s all about His grace and mercy.
A kinsman redeemer needs to be:
- close relative
Don’t confuse your identity with what you do. You are NOT a CEO/cab driver/teacher/pastor, you are the disciple whom Jesus loves.
Your security must never be in what you do.
Jesus came to be our close relative. He is full of grace and truth. If you want to see God, see Jesus. Jesus is the exact expression of God; when He cleansed the leper, smiled and hugged the young children.
“He has not observed iniquity in Jacob,
Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.
The Lord his God is with him,
And the shout of a King is among them.
It does not say there is no iniquity, just says that God DOES NOT see the iniquities and it’s because of the burnt offering (Jesus).
God sees all His people planted by the waters. (Numbers 24:6)
The supply from heaven never fails.
The idea of devotionals come from Israel; they had weekly scripture readings - the torah and haftorah.
What Jesus did for us is greater than what Adam had before he fell.
Adam only had creation, we have redemption.
Adam was in charge of the garden, we are in charge of the universe because we’re joint heirs with Jesus.
When the enemy attacks you and you know how to respond in faith, you will gain more ground than you had before.
We need daily bread from God.
“’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Some people eat supplements everyday and forget the bible; they don’t believe what Jesus says. You need to get into the Word of God (food) daily, but how? You need guidance.
3Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field;
4And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.
- readings of the haftorah 3 days before the 1997 helicopter disaster
- the weekly readings of the haftorah and torah are pre-selected way ahead; no one could manipulate it.
- Shearjashub (son of Isaiah) but was also the place where the tragedy happened
- v.4: refers to the king of Israel and king of Syria in collision but also has dual meanings.
- 7:3 - 73 people died
- God had them read this because He wants them to not fear and not be fainthearted.
- In Israel, they’re aware of this phenomenon and it’s reported in their newspaper.
- As believers, we are not under the same covenant, we are under the wings of Jesus, we are protected.
How to study the Word of God from the story of Ruth? We’ll be finding nuggets of how to study the Word of God in Ruth.
The Word of God is like a field.
Jesus taught us to labour; there’s one labour we have to do - labour to enter His rest.
Reading the scriptures and praying in tongues are not toilsome labour, if anyone tells you it is, they don’t see Jesus.
When you labour in the things of God, you will enter into rest.
‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the Lord your God.’”
- gleaners are the poor or non-Jews; they come behind the harvesters
- they pick up the left-overs
- it is back-breaking work
26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
- there is labouring involved in the Word of God
- when you open the Bible, there is labouring, but He’s also giving to you at the same time.
- after you read the scriptures, you’d be filled with joy and led forth with peace
There are different levels of learning the Word of God as seen in the story of Ruth. Ruth started off at level zero. Her only job was to glean what others were harvesting. The harvesters are like the teachers/pastors, they are harvesting God’s Word, winning souls.
There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. 2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.”
And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”
3 Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.
- Boaz = in Him is strength
- Ruth = friend
- Ruth is trying to glean (she humbled herself, she knew her place) and she confessed favor before she went.
- the church is the field of God, wherever Jesus has His Presence and His hand, that is the field of God, as well as the place He has assigned you in the world.
- How when you open the scriptures, be it the Bible or your daily devotional, you will need not a technique or a formula, but you will need the Person. Ruth started gleaning, but met Boaz. If you have a heart for gleaning, you are on your way to meet Jesus and He will be there to meet your need.
- v. 2: Ruth confessed favor in front of a person, not some formula or technique
- The fifth time Ruth’s name was mentioned, favor was mentioned. 5 = grace.
- Jesus comes in the Word of God.
- Sometimes, people teach bible study as what to do, no, come to the bible to meet Jesus.
- Find Jesus in the scriptures
- Ruth went to the field depending on God’s favor. She’s not a Jew, she doesn’t qualify.
- When you have God’s favor on you, you don’t have to apple polish.
Naomi was related to Boaz, but she never pulled strings.
- Reapers - ministers of God’s Word
- the first thing Ruth was introduced to was the assembly - find a home church; there’s where you get your food from. you’ll need help understanding the Word of God; listen to anointed preaching.
- v. 3: Once you confess favor, your life will be filled with happenings
Believe & speak first, then you see
- when you take time in God’s Word, your day becomes full
- Spending time in God’s Word takes you to the right place at the right time
4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!”
And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!”
5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”
6 So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab.7 And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house.”
8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women.9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”
10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”
11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
13 Then she said, “Let me find favor in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”
14 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.
- no strikes in His field, His workers love Him
- those rich who are proud = poor people with plenty of money
Jesus is wealthy, but humble
- only Boaz’s (Jesus) name is mentioned, not the reapers or the servant (Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit always calls attention to Jesus. Remember, a ministry full of the Holy Spirit will always call attention to Jesus and not to itself.
- In the church, the name mentioned more than any other name is Jesus. It’s not anybody else’s name, not Pastor Prince, not denominations, but the name of Jesus.
- look for Jesus in the scriptures.
- v. 6: the Holy Spirit notices what you do. You start off attending services and CGs, and whatever you get, you are gleaning, don’t despise that. God gives teachers to teach; sometimes God’s Word in its raw form is too powerful, you need help learning it. God gave gifts and teachers to teach.
- v. 8: don’t go to other fields, don’t misspend your time, don’t pursue worldly riches, entertainment; Your inner man is not cheap, you are made to be satisfied by Christ, not by anything less, you are made for eternity. sometimes, you can mistake spiritual hunger for physical hunger.
- Ruth came as a gleaner, trusting in God’s favor and she found the reapers and after the reapers, then she found the master.
As a gleaner, you need help from the reapers to learn God’s Word. God has ordained the help.
- v. 9: Boaz falling in love with Ruth
- v. 10: once we encounter Jesus, we are humbled; Ruth bowed down in worship.
Jesus who owns the universe, chose to come down to earth and be born in a manger.
- Those who are humble are secure; when you are jealous of someone else, it’s a reflection not of them, but your own insecurity.
- Look to Jesus and He’ll transform you - it’s not about a list of Dos and Don’ts
The Bible is not the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it’s the tree of Life. When you see Jesus and when you feed on Jesus, you are transformed.
- Our pain is because we are self-occupied.
Job turned the captivity of Job when he got outside of self-consciousness and began to pray for others.
- Reapers gather for their master, gleaners gather for themselves. Don’t stay at the level of gleaners.
- v. 11: The Holy Spirit only tells God about the good things you have done.
- v. 12: God rewards you for taking refuge under His wings
every time you read the Word of God, there’s a full reward.
God gives you the grace to do something and when you execute the grace, He rewards you for using the grace He first gave you.
Jesus promises a full reward, not a partial one.
- v. 13: favor is Ruth’s only plea.
- "spoken kindly" = speaks to the heart; God’s Word speaks to your heart and Jesus always speaks kindly
- v. 14: bread and wine = picture of communion; don’t fight, feed.
noon time: when the sun is really hot, come near to Jesus, He will prepare a table in the presence of your enemy
feed your way into His goodness and abundance. Jesus is your bread of life, He is not there just to be an example. feed on His kind heart
"parched grain" = roasted wheat (food of the rich); he honored her
Love wants to feed you Himself, serve you Himself.
- they stopped receiving manna (Jesus’ earthly life) once they entered the promised land (after the Cross)
- parched grains are deep truths - are found in the new testament, truths like what Apostle Paul reveals, revelation of grace and righteousness, revelation of His finished work.
- Start gleaning first and you’ll end up sitting in His presence. Jesus Himself will reveal the deep truths to you.
- v. 14 (NLT): Ruth ate all she wanted and still had some left over.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
- in God’s house, there is bread enough and to spare.
- Sufficient to meet our needs and for others’
Are you living by your own resources or God’s resources?
God does not understand scarcity.
Put your eyes on Jesus.
15 And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”
17 So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned.
So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied.
19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you.”
So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.”
20 Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”
- v. 15: gleaners are not supposed to glean at the sheaves (not the field, place where there’s a lot of droppings of wheat and gleaners are not supposed to go there); happened after Ruth ate at Boaz’s table
- v. 15-16: Jesus just wants to keep giving to you. God drops handfuls on purpose.
- v. 17: ephah = 10 days’ supply; gleaners usually only are able to get 1/2-1 day’s supply
- v. 19: one of the reasons why the Jews are so blessed is because they praise God when they hear something good
- People of the world use vulgarities in your presence, why can’t you say ‘Praise the Lord’ in their presence? Stop letting the world squeeze you into its mould.
The One who defines cool for me walks on water, who have you got defining cool for you?
DARE to be different.
- v. 20: “kindness” = grace; Noami is aware of grace.
- Goel = kinsmen redeemer
Why must Jesus buy us from the market of condemnation and guilt?
“And the Lord will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, ‘You shall never see it again.’ And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”
- Deuteronomy 28 ends with “no one will buy you”, even if you’re sold as a slave. And that’s a picture of us before we met Jesus.
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
- Jesus has redeemed us!
“And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.” (Joshua 10:14 [NKJV])
How many of you want to be like Joshua, whose voice God heeds? The man in this verse is Joshua, for whom God caused the sun to stand still when he spoke. We know that earlier on in his life, God told this same Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8 [NKJV]). Joshua was a meditator, a man who pondered on and muttered the Word, and my, what fruit his ministry and leadership had. God heeds the voice of the man who heeds His Word!
You see the Word of God expresses the will of God. It shows us what God is like and what His desires towards us are. When you know the will of God for you, which is exceedingly good, you begin to have faith. Don’t look at whether you have faith. You might feel that you do not have faith, but the moment you go into the Word and meditate on it, you begin to understand His will. And as you understand His will, faith comes effortlessly. The Lord gave Joshua this key of meditation that caused him to be able to lead successful campaigns against the enemies and bring the nation of Israel right into the Promised Land.
This year, like Joshua, you may be facing the unknown. You know, maybe you feel that the Lord wants you to go in a certain direction but you are not sure about how to do it. Many a times we like to ask the question, “God, what should I do? God, I feel this desire. God, I think I have this calling; I was given a word. Lord, what should I do? What should I do? What should I do?!” But when you look up back to Joshua 1:8, it says, “you shall meditate on the Word day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” You will know what to do when you meditate. As you meditate on the Word, beloved, you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.
And not just success at the very end, but also success during the journey. You won’t just be the kind of person who says only at the end of the school term or of a project at work, “I now have good success. I got all A’s! The project was a success!” But the Lord wants to make your way prosperous as well. God wants you to enjoy your journey as you’re arriving at your good success. God does not wait for you to celebrate your good exam results after you finish them. God wants you to enjoy from now! Every day, every hour, God wants to make your way prosperous.
Head knowledge becomes revelation when there is meditation. You see, knowing the Word of God is not an intellectual exercise. It is an exercise of godliness. It’s about chewing, pondering and musing over His Word and letting it bring life. When there’s true revelation, there will be a revolution in your life.
The Bible says that angels heed the voice of His Word (Psalm 103:20). Angels move into action when they hear the proclamation of God’s Word. Let’s say for example, you’re supposed to make a presentation. As you’re feeling nervous, and negative and fearful thoughts are coming, say to yourself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 [NKJV]). I can do all things, not by myself, but through Christ—why? Because it is Christ who is strengthening me!
You know as you meditate like that, you find the power of God released and your thoughts begin to change. It’s not just about the replacement of negative thoughts with positive thoughts. You are replacing them with the Word of God that endures forever! The Lord says that when He sends His Word, it will accomplish what He pleases and will not return to Him void! (Isaiah 55:11)
Moreover, you are releasing grace when you meditate. In fact, Peter reminds us that grace and peace are multiplied to us, in the knowledge, not intellectual knowledge but intimate knowledge, of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:2). As this intimate knowledge of Jesus springs forth as you meditate, you are turning on the tap of heaven’s inexhaustible grace!
Meditation is not work, because it is the very thing that brings us rest. And as we meditate on Jesus and His Word this year, we shall surely enjoy and experience all that our Heavenly Father has prepared for us.
Unceasing Fruitfulness in The Year of Drought by Pastor Joseph Prince @ New Creation Church (Part 2)
This is Part 2 of the sermon on this year’s theme, Part 1 is here (preached on 1 Jan 2012).
Keep your eyes on Jesus and you will not be anxious in the year of drought.
Don’t complain about the situation, learn to speak God’s Word into it instead.
- focus on His Word. Worrying is the opposite of meditation. If you can worry, you can meditate.
You can ask God for good days.
Jabez means trouble/sorrow, but he prayed for 3 things, he changed his destiny by praying.
- for God to bless him
- to enlarge his land
- to keep him from evil
Because the earth is fallen, God does not move until His covenant man (us) ask for it through prayer as it is only then that He will be able to intervene legally. (when man fell, he gave his authority over to the devil).
- If you ask why things come to pass even if you didn’t pray for them, someone else prayed for you or you prayed in tongues. When you pray in tongues, you are praying even for people/things you don’t know of.
- Don’t be afraid to ask God in prayer.
Meditation is chewing on God’s word.
The moment you start chewing on God’s Word, you’ll be at rest even if you are stressed. You cannot be chewing if you’re not resting.
In every church, there are people who are like cows grazing, they come on Sundays and hear the Word and forget about it during the weekdays. You need to meditate, keeping chewing on the Word of God.
Focus on the Word and the results will follow naturally. Don’t worry about the results.
The Bible calls God’s Word seed, and seed will germinate.
Focus on meditating this year.
God likens the blessed man to a tree.
7 “For there is hope for a tree,
If it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And that its tender shoots will not cease.
8 Though its root may grow old in the earth,
And its stump may die in the ground,
9 Yet at the scent of water it will bud
And bring forth branches like a plant.
- even if you are fallen, there is hope that there will be unceasing fruitfulness
- v. 9: “yet at the scent of water”, water in the bible represents the Word of God or the Holy Spirit, in this case, it refers to the Holy Spirit
- God’s Word has a smell just like water, it smells like salvation, life and health, prosperity.
- even the dead places of your life will come alive when it comes in contact with the Word of God
- The moment the tree comes in contact with the scent of water, green buds will sprout.
- Keep listening to the Word of God
Jonathan Edwards: "How it comes about, I know not, but I’ve noticed that at those times when I have read the scriptures most, I have been most lively and in the best frame"
You can’t hear the Word of God/read the Bible all day long, but you can meditate. (memorise verses and you can chew on them all day).
Bring up the Word of God in every situation.
When you meditate on God’s Word, He promises that whatever you do shall prosper.
The Bible is scientifically accurate, but it’s not about science, it’s about Jesus.
The Bible unveils one Person and one Person only; Jesus. In all the stories in the Bible, even the laws, are all about Jesus.
If even the moon does not shine,
And the stars are not pure in His sight,
- long before man found out that the moon doesn’t have its own light, it’s in the oldest book in the bible.
He stretches out the north over empty space;
He hangs the earth on nothing.
- Man used to think the earth was held by something
- God hangs the earth on nothing
When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
- Science found out that stars emit high frequency radiowaves that are musical.
- the music of the stars (youtube link)
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
- The earth is round written in the bible long before man proved it.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
- David said that God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west because on a round earth, the east and west will never meet.
You don’t need to be educated, you just need the Holy Spirit.
When you have the Spirit, you can say things that are accurate without knowing it all.
In the Old Testament, don’t find laws to meditate on, find the promises of God.
In the New Testament, meditate on the redemptive truths of Jesus.
Everytime God talks about meditation, it is linked to prosperity.
1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
1 Timothy 4:7-8
7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
- don’t let Hollywood define godliness for you
- Hollywood is very good at presenting a lie most excellently with special effects and expensive equipments as if it’s the truth
- The church has the truth
- Let God’s Word be our culture! Let our culture be a culture of faith, hope & love!
- Motivate not with fear and threats but with love and blessings
- When culture and God’s Word clash, culture must submit. God’s Word takes preeminence.
- The Bible is full of drama, but we don’t see it as exciting because the devil has tricked us into thinking it’s boring
- Don’t apologize for preaching the Word of God, proclaim the truth then back away and let the Holy Spirit take over
- Once you get into the Word of God, you will prosper and that is what the devil is afraid of
Colossians 1:16-17 (NASB)
16 For [x]by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He [y]is before all things, and in Him all things [z]hold together.
- Jesus holds all things together.
- The force that holds all the protons (positive charge and would repel each other, but some force that science cannot comprehend holds them together) together is Christ.
- When you put Christ is in the center, He will hold all things together, no matter how messy the situation is
1 Timothy 4:8
- "godliness is profitable for all things" in this life and the life to come.
- we can have the best of both worlds, God’s way
Fitness comes from exercise, but health comes from the Lord.
The world sees humility from the outward, but real humility is boasting in the Lord and not yourself.
WHAT IS GODLINESS?
Psalm 1:1-4 (KJV)
1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
- v. 4: what we read about the meditator is godliness because verse 4 contrasts the ungodly.
- Godliness is something you can exercise
1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God[c] was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.
- in 1 Timothy 4, where it says godliness is profitable for all things, the previous chapter says godliness has to do with the person of Jesus
- meditate on Jesus and His finished word and it will profit you in every area
1 Timothy 4:15
15Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
- everytime there is meditate, there is profiting
- meditate = meletao = attend to carefully; used of the Greeks of meditative pondering of the practice of orators and rhetoricians.
- meditate and your profit will be visible to all.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
- meditate and you will have good success regardless of external circumstances.
First, study and feed on God’s Word for yourself until your soul is happy.
3 Secrets of George Muller for A Long Healthy Life
- Exercising of himself to always have a conscience void of offense both toward God and man
- love for the scriptures and the constant recuperative power they exercise on his whole being
- happiness of God he felt in his word which lifted him of all anxieties
1 Timothy 4:15-16
15Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
- v. 15: profiting appears to all and in all
- even unbelievers will see God’s prosperity on your life, that the Lord is with you
- take care of yourself and the teaching (gospel of grace, rightly dividing the Word), continue in them
- keep teaching the gospel of grace and you will save yourself and others (not referring to salvation as Timothy & the church are already saved, it’s an established fact in their lives)
- v. 16: “save” = “sozo” = to rescue from danger or destruction; to save one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health; this is applicable because when Jesus heals, He says “your faith has healed you”, healed = sozo in greek
- The more you preach the gospel of grace, you are making yourself healthier, protected from dangers and destruction & will live longer and stronger and those who hear you will see the same effects in their lives.
- Share the Word where you can, you don’t need to have a pulpit ministry, you can share with your friends. It’s not just for pastors, it’s for everyone.
- Get excited about sharing the Word.
- Don’t give up the Word of God, if you do, you’re giving up the thing that can save you.
- Those who are constantly hearing the Word are constantly blessed.
- The secret of the preacher is in sharing the Word. You can preach yourself into health. The ministry with which you feed others with, you’d be fed by. The ministry with which God releases healing, you’d be healed by.
12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 Those who are planted in the house of the LORD
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
15 To declare that the LORD is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
- v. 12: both trees are evergreen and grow till a very old age
- palm tree: every part can be used (trunk, leaves, fruit, sap), still fruitful in old age
- cedar tree: the Bible compares Jesus to the Cedar tree - stately, noble, princely, majestic, dignified, produces a fragrant oil that keeps away insects (evil spirits) and fungus (diseases)
- v. 13: be planted in the house of the LORD (YHWH, covenant keeping God) and you will flourish in the courts of our God (Elohim, creator God)
- Planted inside (house), so you’d prosper outside (courts)
- v. 14: still bear fruit in old age (only age), but still fresh and flourishing (evergreen), age is old, but you are not.
Invest yourself in the power of God’s Word in 2012.
When we go by what we see, we get discouraged. See things from God’s perspective. YOU ARE MARKED TO REIGN!!
- Pastor Benjamin @ Marked Camp 2010