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Genesis 3:17- 19 ” And to Adam he said,”Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”


Dinah

Originally uploaded by atimetodye

Genesis 46:15–  ” These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, with his daughter Dinah; all his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three.”

Ruth 4: 13-17: “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the LORD who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel. “May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.”

I found a wonderful summary of the life of Naomi, from the book of Ruth found here. I’ve copied the summary for you.

The story contains four different episodes that together form a beautifully constructed novella:

1 Naomi and Ruth go to Bethlehem (Ruth 1) – the anguish of loss
Naomi and her family suffered great misfortune in a foreign land. Ruth, a girl from that foreign land, decided to migrate with Naomi to Bethlehem. They arrived in time for the barley harvest.
2 Ruth meets Boaz (Ruth 2) – the love story
Ruth, a young widow, met Naomi’s relative, a rich man called Boaz. It seems to have been love at first sight for him, and he ordered that Ruth be well treated when she worked in his fields. The older woman Naomi saw immediately what had happened, and encouraged Ruth to continue working in Boaz’s fields.

3 Ruth proposes marriage to Boaz (Ruth 3) –  Ruth approached Boaz during the night, at the threshing floor, and the text implies that nothing of a sexual nature occurred. (Changes mine). Subsequently, Ruth suggested that they marry, reminding Boaz of his obligation to her as her nearest male kin. Boaz promised to do all he could.

4 Ruth and Boaz marry (Ruth 4) – the happy ending
Boaz proved as good as his word, and he and Ruth were married. She had a son called Obed, and Naomi cared for the child, who would grow up to be the grandfather of King David.”

Ruth 2:1-3 “Now her husband Elimelech had a kinsman, a powerful man, and very rich, whose name was Boaz.  And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.”  So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz.

Ruth 2:8-12″ So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls.  Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”  At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me-a foreigner?”   Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband-how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD , the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

Ruth4:9-10,13 “ Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion and Mahlon.  I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from the town records. Today you are witnesses!”  So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.”


At this site, Boaz is described as “a man of great wealth” (Ruth 2:1, NAS). However, the Hebrew is much more descriptive. He was, ly!j^ rwB)G! vya! (‘ish gibbor chajil) vya! (‘ish) (man, right man), rwB)G! (gibbor) (heroic, mighty, noble), ly!j^ (chajil) (efficiency, wealth). Thus, the better translation is “a great, noble leader.” Boaz was an aristocrat and entrepreneur with not just management skills but leadership ability. He had great ability as an agriculturist. He managed a large estate. He would be able to manage a large corporation today.

His leadership ability as revealed in the book of Ruth was magnificent. He managed women in the workplace, established policy on sexual harassment, managed an estate, and was a brilliant lawyer. He is one of those rare and gifted leaders, who because history dealt him no crisis, never became famous. If one can imagine what great leaders like Douglas McArthur or Napoleon would have been without a war, such was Boaz, whose sole claim to fame is that he was one of the greatest husbands who ever lived.

Boaz was also a mature believer. Unlike others who married for convenience, Boaz waited for his right woman and spent the time advancing to spiritual maturity. The path that his right woman took to reach him is a testimony to his spiritual advance in the grace of God. When Boaz finally met his right woman, he was probably 50 years old. He was waiting faithfully for God to fulfill His promise when he saw Ruth working in his field. The Lord brought Ruth to him per the divine order of precedent.

In looking at the character of Boaz, this site says that The Lord was an important part of his daily life. He thought often about the Lord, spoke freely of the Lord, and allowed the Lord to be a part of his everyday business dealings.  Listen to him greet his reapers in the field. “May the Lord be with you,” he said. And they responded, “May the Lord bless you” (Ruth 2:4). To Ruth he declared, “May you be blessed of the Lord, my daughter” (Ruth 3:10). And again, “I will redeem you, as the Lord lives” (Ruth 3:13). All the people who attended his wedding acknowledged his dependence upon God for his future posterity: “May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel” (Ruth 4:11).

It looks as though Boaz is getting more interested in this lovely woman as the day goes on. At mealtime he invited her to join him and his reapers for lunch, and he made sure she was served all that she wanted.”

Later, Naomi helps set up a meeting between Ruth and Boaz where she asks him to be her “kinsmen redeemer” and marry her.  For more details on that,  you can read about my blog post on Ruth and Boaz’s love story here.

You can read about my blog post on Ruth here.

Ruth 3: 6-13 “So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded 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 grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down.  At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!  He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”  And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.  And now it is true that I am a redeemer. … then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

I  love this title.  And such a neat story!!  So this all takes place in the book of Ruth.  It’s the beginning of the love of Ruth and Boaz, who are in the lineage of Jesus.

Basically Ruth (and if you don’t know much about Ruth, read her blog post) is looking for a way to make feed herself and her mother-in-law, when they arrive in Jerusalem again, both as widows.   She gleans (collecting leftover grain) in the fields for them to eat.  She stumbles upon Boaz’s fields, and he finds favor with her.   Boaz is a single man who is esteemed as a great and noble leader in the community. Later, when Naomi (her mother-in-law) realizes that Ruth has been working in a relative (Boaz)’s field, she decides to make this  turn into something good for their family.

I found the rest of the story at this site.

“Well, it was time to make a move. And strangely enough, in that culture it was Ruth’s move. You see, God gave another interesting law to the Jews that required a man to marry the childless widow of his dead brother. The first son born of that union would bear his brother’s name and inherit his brother’s property (Deut. 25:5-10; Lev. 25:23-28). It was called the law of the “levirate” marriage, from the Hebrew word for “brother.” If no brother was available, a more distant relative might be asked to fulfill this duty. But the widow would have to let him know that he was acceptable to be her “goel,” as they called it, her kinsman-redeemer and provider.

Naomi told Ruth exactly how to do that. Ruth listened carefully and carried out her instructions precisely. Boaz would be sleeping on the threshing floor that night to protect his grain from thieves. After he went to sleep; Ruth tiptoed in, uncovered his feet, and laid down. By this act she was requesting Boaz to become her goel. Needless to say, Boaz was somewhat startled when he rolled over in the middle of the night and realized there was a woman lying at his feet. “Who are you?” he asked. She answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative” (Ruth 3:9). Spreading his cloak over her would signify his willingness to become her protector and provider. His response was immediate: “May you be blessed of the Lord, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence” (Ruth 3:10, 11).

It is important to understand that there was nothing immoral in this episode. This procedure was the custom of the day, and the record emphasizes the purity of it. In the secluded darkness of the threshing room, Boaz could have gratified his human desires and no one but Ruth would have known. But he was a godly, moral, self-disciplined, Spirit-controlled man, and he kept his hands off. Scripture says that Ruth slept at his feet until morning (Ruth 3:14). Furthermore, Ruth had the reputation of being a woman of excellence (Ruth 3:11). She had physical drives like any other normal woman, but she learned to claim God’s grace and strength to hold those drives in check until marriage. Boaz and Ruth both knew that God’s greatest blessing in marriage would require purity before marriage. Carelessness in this area would bring guilt, loss of self-respect, and suspicion. And it could leave scars on their souls that would make their adjustment to each other in marriage most difficult.

Boaz and Ruth did it God’s way. We are not surprised to see, finally, their successful marriage. Not a great deal is actually said about their relationship with each other after the wedding, but we may assume from what we have already learned about them that their marriage was richly blessed of God. Scripture does say, “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son” (Ruth 4:13).” Ruth 4:17- They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

So God provided a way for this loyal, faithful, kind woman to become a integral part of the linege of King David, and ultimately our Lord, Jesus.  What a romance!!

Mark 1:14-18- “…Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.”

Named for my son who was born in June of 2008.

Sporting his “Andrew” soaker at 2.5 months.

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Kindness

Psalm 118:21-22- ” I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.”

Matthew 21:42- “ Jesus said to them,Did you never read in the Scriptures, `THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER STONE; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’?

Acts 4:8-12 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health. “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Corner Stone

I am going to take this opportunity to talk about a subject that is very dear to my heart: Christ being who he says he is. I will be explaining it in 2 parts, here and on “Jordan”. This part concerns the fulfillment of prophecy.

My husband has a book by Frank Harber called “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” that specifically touches on this subject. On pages 66-67, he talks about “Evidence of Messianic Prophecies”. “The truth of Christianity stands upon the fact that Jesus is the Christ. If it shown that Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies, then Christianity would not be true. No other religion has such a stringent test imposed upon it’s leader. In Jesus Christ, 456 identifiable prophecies were uniquely filled. Chances of any man fulfilling just 48 of such prophecies is a probability of 10 ^157 ( or ten to the 157th power). This figure, calculated by Peter Stoner, Professor Emeritus at Westmont College, has been confirmed by the committee of the American Science Affiliation. The fulfillment of Messianic prophecy at such a high level of probability indicates a supernatural agent. The fact that Jesus is the Messiah is not just a clever guess, nor could Jesus been an impostor who carefully arranged the fulfillment of all the Messianic prophecies. To reject Jesus as the Messiah requires an unbelief that runs counter to the laws of probability. ”

Now there were some that could have been fulfilled by a man, but some would have been impossible to control. For example, it was prophesied in Micah 5:2, that he would be born in Bethlehem some seven centuries earlier. And in Isiah 7:14, to be born of a virgin. And that he would be from the house of David. And both Mary and Joseph were from David’s lineage (isiah 11:1-5). How much control does one have over his birthplace, heritage and parents? And shortly after his birth, to escape the wrath of Herod, his parents to Jesus to Egypt, which fulfilled 2 prophesies: Hosea 11:1 about them leaving Egypt and Jeremiah 31:15 when Herod had all the 2 year old baby boys killed thinking he would kill Christ in the process. And the first 2 chapters of Matthew, 5 separate prophecies are fulfilled. And it goes on and on!!

Many people say that they Christians are unscientific. That trusting in just “faith” is trusting in nothing. Yet, when presented with the true picture, it is simply hard not to believe. For example, I’m going to use the lottery. I took it off this website.

http://www.webmath.com/cgi-bin/lottery.cgi?count=7&low=1&high=50

I calculated my odd of winning a 7 number lottery using the numbers 1-50 to be: 1 in 99,884,400. (taken from the above site.) Here are some other odds for the sake of comparison:

You have about a 1 in 2,000,000 chance of being struck by lightning.
A pregnant woman has a 1 in 705,000 chance of giving birth to quadruplets.
Someone eating an oyster has a 1 in 12,000 chance of finding a pearl inside of it.

Now, lottery odds can be pretty incomprehensible. How can we possibly have any “feeling” for the number 99,884,400? To help you with this, here’s a little experiment you can try to “get a handle on” what a 1 in 99,884,400 chance really means.

Get a piece of rope or string, that’s 103 feet long. In a wide open area, arrange the rope or string in a circle, end to end, the best you can. Get a single grain of sand or dirt (use tweezers!) and place it anywhere you wish inside the circle. Get a second grain of sand. Close your eyes, and “disorient” yourself as to where the grain of sand is that you placed inside of the circle (have someone spin you around or something!). While you’re inside the circle, drop the second grain of sand from 1 foot up.
Your chances of hitting the first grain of sand with the second is roughly equal to the odds of “1 in 99,884,400.”

So that that seem crazy? Impossible? Now go back to the original odds I gave you. For Jesus to complete just 48 of the 456- it would be 10 with 157 0’s behind it. Jesus HAS to be the Messiah! Hope you enjoyed that.

Daniel 1:1-“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.”

Revelation 14:8- “And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.”
Revelation 16:19 “The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. “

Babylon

“Babylon” is a colorway that I’ve had to personally wrestle with. A while back, I did a Beth Moore Bible study on the book of Daniel. That book challenged me in ways I had not thought was possible. I had an opportunity to evaluate my life and what I was living for. A lot of this part of my blog will be coming from what Beth had to say.

Ancient Babylon. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Wondrous! Beautiful! Marvelous! I picture from a distance, the tan of the stone work, with lush greenery everywhere. It was a sight to behold. People from miles around flocked to Babylon to see it’s beauty.

Beth Moore says about Babylon, on page 10 of the Daniel Bible study book, “Through the paintbrush of Scripture, we’ll see her rise from the dust , robe herself in riches, and paint her face like a woman of the night. Make no mistake: she aims to seduce. Posing as the beautiful life, she morphs into the current image of what every worldly man and woman wants to be- deserves to be. She is popular. She is desirable. She is intoxicating. And did I say she is religious? Ah, yes. She believes in so much of everything that one would be hard-pressed to tell if she believes in any thing. To worship self is to worship her. To worship her is to worship her king. She is dressed for success, but underneath her gaud, she is a lifeless mannequin. A fake. A poser. Her prop is the devil himself.”

Her walls were thick. She was a formidable sight. Gold, women, she had it all. “Somewhere along the way, she ceased to be only a place. She became a mentality. A deadly one.” The verse in Isaiah sums it up perfectly. Isaiah 47:8, 10- “I am, and there is none besides me.”

You can see just a glimpse of what she was like by looking at Daniel’s story. Daniel 1:3-4 states, “Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. ”

So what was their standard? They wanted men from well to do families, the upper class if you will. AND then, they had to be perfect physically and good looking, AND smart, AND able to stand in the king’s palace.

When I first heard this, I thought about our culture today. How so many American will have a amniocentesis and abort a baby if it’s not “perfect”. How people go crazy following the rich and famous. How rampant eating disorders are in the country, especially among young women. How our society is about wanting more, and more and more- and so much less about giving. How everyone wants to keep up with the Jones’s.

Our society is a constant indoctrination of things that go against the Christian ideals. Youth, Appearance, Educational achievements, Social status. The billboards, the magazines, the news, the movies. It’s all about “Me” and what I “need” and “deserve”. I guess I hadn’t realized how much our culture is like that of ancient Babylon. Beth said on the companion video that went along with our study, “If you are not doing EVERYTHING you can to not be incodtroniated by the culture, the you are being indoctrinated. ”

That’s why Christianity can be so difficult at times. It’s going against the grain. Much like the salmon who swims upstream, we as Christians are challenged to live a different life. For Jesus says in Matthew 7 :13- “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

It is so easy to be a part of the culture. It is so easy to want the things that this world has to offer. And, yet, the things of this earth will continually disappoint us. We’ll never have enough money to be satisfied. We’ll never be young enough or skinny enough. We’ll never be perfect. Yet, Jesus promises us we have so much more in store.

Jesus says in Matthew 13: 24- 30″ He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” Then He explains what He meant by it in Matthew 13:37- 43- “He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

Satan is very real. He has very real plans for you and I. While God has plans for us to have future and a hope and to prosper (Jeremiah 29:11), the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) And there is a big battle that will ensure.

Yet according to the parable above, God has given us an opportunity to grow where we are planted. Satan may come and plant weeds. But God is going to allow the wheat to grow and it will be separated at harvest time (the judgment of the Lord.)

The book of Revelation refers to another Babylon. She will be seducing to the End. I am quoting the “People’s New Testament” Commentary on Revelation 16:8-9 regarding the fall of Babylon. “There followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen. As a result of the great gospel revival shown in verses 6, 7, the city of sin, here called Babylon, but called “spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (11:8) shall fall. The wine of wrath of her fornication. This Babylon was a city of fornication, of unholy alliance with the world, wedded to the prince of this world instead of to Christ, and made the nations sin with her, or drink her wine. Wine of wrath. So called either because her wrath was manifested in persecution against those who refused to drink, or because the wine of God’s wrath shall be poured on her (see verse 10).”
She is destined to fall. And her fall will be great. And God’s wrath on her will be great.

See, God is just and holy. He CANNOT tolerate sin. And this Babylon not only sinned, she enticed oh so many others to do it with her. My challenge for you today is to really think about what it is you value. Are you putting value in the things of the world? The things that will never satisfy and that will burn up in the end? Or are you putting your value in the eternal things? The things that will bring glory and honor to the Lord?

I pray that those of you who read this may understand how great and mighty our God is. And I pray for you the resolve to stand up against “modern Babylon.”

 

Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

“Providence” is a unique colorway designed to merge teals and tans. The result is a very striking gold, with hints of tans, chocolates, and navy blues along with rich hues of teal and gold.  Webster’s defines Providence as “God, esp. when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.”

The story of Ruth is one of my favorites in the Bible. I recently found a message by one of my favorite authors, John Piper, entitled ” Ruth: Sweet and Bitter Providence.” I loved what he had to say on the subject.

Not only does God reign in all the affairs of men, and not only is his providence sometimes hard, but in all his works his purposes are for the good and happiness of his people. Who would have imagined that in the worst of all times—the period of the judges—God was quietly moving in the tragedies of a single family to prepare the way for the greatest king of Israel? Finally, we learn that if you trust the sovereign goodness and mercy of God to pursue you all the days of your life, then you are free like Ruth. If God calls, you can leave family, you can leave your job, you can leave Minnesota, and you can make radical commitments and undertake new ventures. Or you can find the freedom and courage and strength to keep a commitment you already made. When you believe in the sovereignty of God and that he loves to work mightily for those who trust him, it gives a freedom and joy that can’t be shaken by hard times. The book of Ruth gives us a glimpse into the hidden work of God during the worst of times. And so like all the other Scriptures, as Paul says (Romans 15:4, 13), Ruth was written that we might abound in hope.

As I embark on my new adventure in being a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) and running a new business, I can rest in the fact that I am called to this ministry for this stage of life.  I can be sure that the Lord is directing my path, and that it is in His hands.  So “Providence” was named to show the trust I put in the Lord to orchestrate everything in my life.