~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22 ~ John 4:4-42
Psalm 105:1-15 ~ Proverbs 14:25
Old Testament - Today we finish the book of Judges! What a powerful and telling verse the book closes with in chapter 21 verse 25 - "In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes." Unfortunately, so true then. And perhaps so true for us today if we don't have a king. Fortunately, we do have the opportunity to have a king - through faith in Jesus. Otherwise, without Jesus as our king, we will surely do whatever seems right in our own eyes. I know I did for many years... sad years they were.
An image is below for verse 23 - "So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance. Then they rebuilt their towns and lived in them."
Today we are starting up – and tomorrow finishing - the wonderful book of Ruth and then moving into 1 Samuel. The book of Ruth is a wonderful look at faithful love in human relationships, and in a family in particular. I like how Zondervan describes this book – “The book of Ruth is a Hebrew short story, told with consummate skill. Among historical narratives in Scripture it is unexcelled in its compactness, vividness, warmth, beauty, and dramatic effectiveness – an exquisitely wrought jewel of Hebrew narrative art.” I hope you are ready for this jewel!
Date: During the time of the Judges
Content: The book of Ruth portrays another side to the chaotic time of the judges. In it there is a welcome relief from the bloodshed and mayhem that seemed to engulf the land because of Israel’s sin. It is the story of Ruth, who decided to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, after tragedy struck that unfortunate woman. God returned good to Ruth in the form of a husband (Boaz) and a child, and also to Naomi in the form of grandchildren. From this family, eventually, came David the king.
Theme: The central point of this book is that even in times of crisis and despair, life may be lived according to the precepts of God and that God abundantly blesses those who do so live. The fundamental values of love, faith, trust, and goodness are greater than the hatred and violence of men, and continue from generation to generation as a light to guide those who look for the true meaning of life. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 4-5)
Today in Ruth chapter 1 verses 16 & 17 we will read these beautiful words of Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi, whose husband & two sons had died - “Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." How’s that for love & commitment! Can you imagine saying these words to someone in your life today? I pray that each of us have this type of love & commitment for our families – or that we will have this in the future with our families. It seems like nowadays families are getting more and more distanced from one another – separated sometimes by geography and I think oftentimes by individualism or other selfish reasons. Perhaps each of us can learn something from Ruth and her dedication to her mother-in-law Naomi about what family love & commitment could and should really look like?
New Testament - Wow. The Jacob's Well story in John chapter 4 today is beautiful on so many levels. I definitely recommend you check out Bible.org's commentary on this chapter at this link if you aren't familiar with all of the meanings of this story. I love Jesus's words in verse 34 - "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work." If this is true for Jesus - think this might be true for us too? Do you believe that our nourishment comes from doing the will of God?
Psalms - Psalm 105 verse 4 stood out to me today - "Search for the LORD and for his strength, and keep on searching." I like that - search. If you search for God, he will indeed be found. Have you ever searched for God? And for his strength? Are you maybe searching now? Do you believe he will be found?
Verses 8 & 9 remind us of this character of God - "He always stands by his covenant-- the commitment he made to a thousand generations. This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac." The covenant continues today through the new covenant (testament) brought to us through Jesus.
Proverbs - Proverbs 14 verse 25 is an excellent reminder to always tell the truth - particularly when witnessing for someone else.
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!