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.

 

Daily Proverbial, from James, 26 December 2013

As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.  James 4, verse 16.

Merry Christmas on onward towards New Years.   Dinner was pretty good yesterday, and it was great to spend the day hanging out with my family.  Soon, the tree will come down and the decorations will be put away.   Before that happens, however, what arrogant schemes and evil boasting am I doing?

You see, Christmas should be a gut-check.   Once a year, as we’re making merry and enjoying how we commemorate the birth of the King of Kings, we should give ourselves a gut-check.   The day after (what I hope was) a merry day, here is James, smacking us in the gob with our evil arrogance.

Did you get a diamond ring under the tree?   Good for you, but keep it in perspective.   Was your Christmas meal a feast?   Again, good for you, but how about a little reflection (and a few sit-ups).  Tell me (better yet, tell Jesus):  what are you holding on to that makes you boast, or feel cocky, or even make your chest swell?

Yesterday, we watched the end of “Ben Hur,” after which I went into my office to write these words.   Between the two, I got my gut check.  If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s the story of a man and his family, and how their lives are touched by the polar opposites of Rome and the Son of God.  Near the end, the main character sees Christ crucified:   hardly a Christmas scene (which, btw, is how the movie begins).   I realized what the day was all about while sitting there next to my very-pregnant daughter.   The miracle birth at Christmas is only made complete by the miracle death coming at Easter.  Without that death, Christmas is meaningless.   Congratulations, Dave:   you grasped an obvious cliché.

And yet it’s more.   It’s more because James gob-smacked me with reality and told me how much my fat Christmas self needs that brutal murder on Good Friday.  And how much everything else pales.

Prime rib in the roaster:   tasteless.   New tools, a new puzzle, new clothes:   close, but no cigar.  Beautiful tree, decades-old traditions, priceless decorations:  whatever.   Precious memories with the people I love most in the world:  worthless, in compare.  Ten seconds of heart-to-heart with the Man from Galilee whose birth we did all this to celebrate:   merry Christmas, one and all.   All those wonderful blessings are special, to be sure, but they’re only made special by knowing it’s Jesus who does so, and whom we share, and Who was and is and is to come. Holding on to anything else is simply evil.

Only by letting go of the things that I hold dear, even the deeply buried resentments and arrogance, can I truly understand how beautiful is the death of the Savior made possible by the miracle of His birth.  That’s the best Christmas gift of all.

Thank You, Lord, for your birth…and for how we will soon remember Your saving death.

 

What so-called gifts are you holding onto too close?

What should you let go of?

When did you last consider Christmas without Easter?