Practical Proverbial, from 2 Timothy, 27 June 2019

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.  2 Timothy 4:22 (NIV).

Here we are again, at another ending, at the end of another book.   If you’re a ten-year reader of this blog, thank you!   I hope it’s a blessing to you.   You’ll remember we’ve reached endings together of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Mark, Hebrews, James, 1/2/3 John, 1/2 Thessalonians and now 1/2 Timothy, as well as the topics of the Ten Commandments and Santa Claus.  That’s thirteen books of the Bible and 15 topics overall; well over a million words.   We’ve spent some time together.   God-willing, we’ll keep doing that.

And if He isn’t willing, if this is the last of these posts, then the Lord be with your spirit.   Grace be with you all.   I mean that.   We’ve (hopefully) learned from Paul to end our conversations genuinely, to infuse our parting with the same Spirit and love that we (hopefully, again) brought into our meeting.   As Paul closed out his letters with greetings from and to friends, he also closed them out by praying the Lord over the recipient.

That’s a bold thing to do, you know.   Paul understood these letters would be widely-read.   He probably didn’t envision they’d ever be part of canon Scripture, but he probably did imagine many people hearing them (or hearing about them).  He put down on paper both his personal affections for the reader as well as his prayers for the same.   In a time when that could get you killed, that’s bold.

And you know that time is now.   Praying Jesus Christ in public today can get you arrested or killed in North Korea, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and many nations in Africa.   In the US, it can get you fired.  Putting those prayers on paper can have the same effect because then you involve those recipients.   Yet, if we really believe in Jesus, then we’re compelled to do it.   The heart of the Gospel is agape love:   undeserved gracious love that goes out without any expectation of anything in return.   No matter the consequences.

It’s that love that nailed Jesus to the cross.   It’s that love that kept Him there, that rolled back the Easter stone.   It’s that love that called Paul on a road into Syria.   And it’s that love Paul wanted shared with his friends no matter what it would cost him.   Not long after writing the letter, it cost Paul his life.   Praise to God that He inspired Paul to be willing to do that.

So, at another ending, let us each be inspired to have that same faith and courage.   To wish Christ’s love infuse our souls and bring grace and peace to each other.   Grace and His love to you until the next time.

For further reading:  Galatians 6:18, Colossians 4:18, Titus 1:1

Lord Jesus, thank You for endings and beginnings, for Your grace and love being in both.   Thank You for lettings us have these times together.

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Practical Proverbial, from Ruth, 18 April 2014. Good Friday

This, then, is the family line of Perez:  Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.  Ruth 4, verses 18 through 22.

Here ends our journey through the book of Ruth.   It’s fitting we should end this journey here, today, on Good Friday, talking about genealogy.  The Bible spends quite a few pages listing peoples’ genealogies, both to identify legitimacy and to prove Godly origin.  Knowing that, it’s a good thing to remember where Jesus came from.

    He came from forever.   True, a few people can claim a biological ties to the king of Israel and the King of Kings, but that’s nothing special; really, it isn’t.   Where are those people today?   Not even Dan Brown can tell you.  It’s for our edification that God included Jesus’ family tree in His instruction manual for life.   Maybe it helps us see Jesus as both man and God.   But the people listed in Scripture aren’t His only family.   We are His family too because He adopted us.   He is our ancestor, creator, brother, father, and descendant; wrap your noggin around that concept for awhile and let me know if you can figure it out.   I’m still trying.

But all my trying inevitably leads me back to the only conclusion possible (or desirable, even).  Jesus is God from forever.  He Is the I AM.   He didn’t descend, evolve, or simply be born in ways we can fully comprehend.   We get the human part, but the rest of it is the mystery of the ages and the only mystery that matters.   He proved it to Ruth.   What happened today proves it forever.

The writer of Ruth recorded the lineage of Obed from Perez, Obed’s ancestor, down to King David, Obed’s grandson.   He recorded the story of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz as a poetic way of describing God’s relationship with us.   That relationship is based on more than just family bloodlines.   It is based on undeserved love, unquestioning loyalty, and unending beauty.  The writer gave us this story forever because God’s love is forever…because God, the creator yet physical descendant of Ruth and Obed and David, is forever.

This story, how Jesus loves us and is loyal to us even when all else fails, also goes on forever.  While one book of the Bible ends, others remain.   All of them are Jesus’ gift to us in how He reveals Himself to us.  He revealed Himself to a poor girl from Moab, and to a destitute family from Judea, and, in time, to us all.

Jesus, thank You for Your story of Ruth.   Thank You for revealing Yourself to us, and for remaining for us forever.

 

Read the story of Good Friday found in the four Gospels, then read the Easter story found just after.