3118.) Psalm 41

March 31, 2021

Ps41 v4
Psalm 41   (NIV)

O Lord, Have Mercy on Me

1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.

Proverbs 14:21 (NASB)

He who despises his neighbor sins,
But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.

2 The LORD will protect him and preserve his life;
he will bless him in the land
and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.

3 The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed
and restore him from his bed of illness.

4 I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

Ps51 v1-2

5 My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die and his name perish?”

6 Whenever one comes to see me,
he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
then he goes out and spreads it abroad.

7 All my enemies whisper together against me;
they imagine the worst for me, saying,

8 “A vile disease has beset him;
he will never get up from the place where he lies.”

9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted,
he who shared my bread,
has lifted up his heel against me.

Mark 14:17-21 (NLT)

In the evening Jesus arrived with the twelve disciples. As they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me here will betray me.”

Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one?”

He replied, “It is one of you twelve who is eating from this bowl with me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

10 But you, O LORD, have mercy on me;
raise me up, that I may repay them.

11 I know that you are pleased with me,
for my enemy does not triumph over me.

12 In my integrity you uphold me
and set me in your presence forever.

Psalm 23:6 (ESV)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD

13 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.



HERE  is a peaceful piano solo — “What a friend we have in Jesus,” played by Greg Howlett.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
I said, God, be gracious.   http://www.christasterken.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/DSC_0419-767×1024.jpg
Mother Teresa and child.    http://www.markdroberts.com/images/Mother-Teresa-3.jpg
from Psalm 51.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/83/c4/75/83c475ebe1fca06637838363245cb93c.jpg
DaVinci’s “Last Supper.”    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Supper
sky with light.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/cloud-with-light.jpg

3117.) Psalm 69

March 30, 2021

“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.”

Psalm 69 (ESV)

Save Me, O God

This week we walk with Jesus to the cross.

To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David.

As with Psalm 45, this Psalm is Set to The Lilies. The phrase may refer to general beauty of the composition, to the tune, or even to a six-stringed instrument known as the Shoshannim (the literal translation of the Hebrew).

“Perhaps in no psalm in the whole psalter is the sense of sorrow profounder or more intense than in this. The soul of the singer pours itself out in unrestrained abandonment to the overwhelming and terrible grief which consumes it.” (G. Campbell Morgan)

–David Guzik

1Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
2I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.

by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]

“I sink in deep mire,
Where there is no standing;
I have come into deep waters,
Where floods overflow me”
(Psalm 69:2).

Save me, O God,
For my soul is being flooded
With foolishness.
My sins are not hidden from Thee.
I am sinking
With no place to stand;
I am in deep water.
Floods overflow me;
I wait for God to rescue me.
My throat is dry
From calling on Him.
I weep and chasten my soul,
Mocking my own weakness.
Hear me speedily, God,
And don’t hide your face.
I need a comforter:
Turn to me with tender mercy.
Deliver me out of this mire.
Let me not sink.
Save me from this deep water:
I am in real trouble—
Don’t let the deep swallow me up.
Let not the pit shut its mouth upon me.
Make haste, O God,
Tarry not;
You are my help
And deliverer.

3 I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.

4 More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?

John 15:18-25 (NLT)

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.  The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.  Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.  They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the One who sent me.  They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.  Anyone who hates me also hates my Father.  If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father.  This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.'”

5O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

6Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord GOD of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
7For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that dishonor has covered my face.
8I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons.

John 7:1-5 (NLT)

After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death.  But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters,  and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles!  You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”  For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.

9For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
10When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
it became my reproach.
11When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
12I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.

13But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
14Deliver me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
15Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.

What do you need deliverance from right now? What about your community and the world beyond?

16Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

As you walk with Jesus to the cross and feel some of his sorrow, what do you want to thank him for?

17 Hide not your face from your servant;
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
18Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies!

19You know my reproach,
and my shame and my dishonor;
my foes are all known to you.
20 Reproaches have broken my heart,
so that I am in despair.
I looked for pity, but there was none,
and for comforters, but I found none.
21They gave me poison for food,
and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.

John 19:28-30 (NLT)

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.  When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.

22 Let their own table before them become a snare;
and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
and make their loins tremble continually.
24Pour out your indignation upon them,
and let your burning anger overtake them.
25 May their camp be a desolation;
let no one dwell in their tents.

Acts 1:15-20 (NLT)

During this time, when about 120 believers were together in one place, Peter stood up and addressed them.  “Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David.  Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.”

(Judas had bought a field with the money he received for his treachery. Falling headfirst there, his body split open, spilling out all his intestines.  The news of his death spread to all the people of Jerusalem, and they gave the place the Aramaic name Akeldama, which means “Field of Blood.”)

Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’

26For they persecute him whom you have struck down,
and they recount the pain of those you have wounded.
27 Add to them punishment upon punishment;
may they have no acquittal from you.
28Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

29But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, set me on high!

30I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

31This will please the LORD more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
32When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33For the LORD hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.

34Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.
35For God will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah,
and people shall dwell there and possess it;
36 the offspring of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

The lovers of His Name shall settle down therein is written of His people find their home in their own land. We are lovers of His Name. Let us settle down in peace as a bird settles down in its nest, not wanting any other nest, not wondering why the wind blows our tree so fiercely sometimes, or why the sky is sometimes dark and the rain fall heavily. All that comes—by the time it touches us—is His holy providence, His beneficent care. It will only cause to shine forth more clearly the truth of His words of strong consolation.



HERE  is “Save me, O God, by Thy great name,” with Dwight Armstrong and the Ambassador College Chorale Accompaniment.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
high water.     https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-GPuV7MUpAes/TXbipMmtUxI/AAAAAAAAATI/km4MJXBNhbM/s1600/PSALM+69A.jpg
hate.    https://thesnapper.millersville.edu/index.php/2018/09/27/hate-revolves-around-the-world-is-there-anything-we-can-do/
Jesus’ brothers and sisters.    http://www.goodnews.ie/famjesus.gif
I thirst.     https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/spiritual-life/i-thirst-mother-teresa-s-devotion-to-the-thirst-of-jesus.html
Judas betrays Christ with a kiss.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/judaskiss.jpg
robin on nest.    https://www.theodysseyonline.com/leaving-behind-empty-nesters

3116.) 1 Thessalonians 5

March 29, 2021

1 Thessalonians 5 (ESV)

No man knows when God’s call will come for him and there are certain things that cannot be left until the last moment. It is too late to prepare for an examination when the examination paper is before you. It is too late to make the house secure when the storm has burst. When Queen Mary of Orange was dying, her chaplain wished to read to her. She answered, “I have not left this matter till this hour.” It was similar with an old Scotsman to whom someone offered comforting sayings near the end. The old man’s reply was, “Ah thatched ma hoose when the weather was warm.” If a call comes suddenly, it need not find us unprepared. The man who has lived all his life with Christ is never unprepared to enter his nearer presence.

–William Barclay

The Day of the Lord

In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 the apostle Paul is discussing the theological doctrine of eschatology, the doctrine of last things. This all centers around the phrase, “The day of the Lord,” found in verse 2. So we must have an understanding of the biblical meaning of the phrase, “the day of the Lord.” Here we get into deep and dearly held beliefs about the end times — churches have split over these things! — none of which I am going to address in this blog. All I will say to you, readers, is that I think “the day of the Lord” is a period of time in which many major events are going to take place — the second coming of Christ, for example, and the battle of Armageddon, the final defeat of Satan, the judgment at the great white throne, the establishing of a new heaven and new earth. Paul tells us to be alert, to be prepared, and to be comforted, for the Lord’s promise is sure!

1Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

John Trapp (1601-1669) on as labor pains upon a pregnant woman: “1. Certainly; 2. Suddenly; 3. Irresistibly, inevitably.”

4But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

In some respect, the coming of Jesus will be a surprise for everybody, because no one knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36). But for Christians who know the times and the seasons, it will not be a complete surprise. No one knows the exact hour a thief will come, but some live in a general preparation against thieves. Those who are not in darkness, who live as they are all sons of light and sons of the day, these are ready for the return of Jesus.

But if we are in darkness – perhaps caught up in some of the sin Paul warned against previously in this letter – then we are not ready and need to make ourselves ready for the return of Jesus.

–David Guzik

6So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

Paul used the images of a soldier’s armor to illustrate the idea of watchfulness. A soldier is a good example of someone who must watch and be sober, and he is equipped to do that with his armor.

When one compares this description of spiritual armor with that found in Ephesians 6, there is not an exact correlation. This indicates that Paul saw the idea of spiritual armor as a helpful picture, not something rigid in its particular details.

Faith and love are represented by the breastplate because the breastplate covers the vital organs. No soldier would ever go to battle without his breastplate, and no Christian is equipped to live the Christian life without faith and love.

The hope of salvation is represented as a helmet, because the helmet protects the head, which is just as essential as the breastplateHope isn’t used in the sense of wishful thinking, but in the sense of a confident expectation of God’s hand in the future.

–David Guzik

9For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.

Romans 14:8 (NIV)

If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.



From Gabriel Faure’s RequiemHERE  is “In Paradisum.”  Composed in 1888, and sung here by La Chapelle Royale under the direction of Philippe Herreweghe.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.
May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest.


11Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Final Instructions and Benediction

12We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.  Be at peace among yourselves.

14And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

This verse gives us three marks of a genuine Church.

(i) It is a happy Church. There is in it that atmosphere of joy which makes its members feel that they are bathed in sunshine. True Christianity is an exhilarating and not a depressing thing.

(ii) It is a praying Church. Maybe our Church’s prayers would be more effective if we remembered that “they pray best together who also pray alone.”

(iii) It is a thankful Church. There is always something for which to give thanks; even on the darkest day there are blessings to count. 

–William Barclay

19 Do not quench the Spirit.

Scripture also tells us not to resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:21),
   not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30),
      and not to insult the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:29).

20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good.

22Abstain from every form of evil.

23Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

25 Brothers, pray for us.

There is a place where thou canst touch the eyes
Of blinded men to instant, perfect sight;
There is a place where thou canst say, “Arise”
To dying captives, bound in chains of night;
There is a place where thou canst reach the store
Of hoarded gold and free it for the Lord;
There is a place–upon some distant shore–
Where thou canst send the worker and the Word.
Where is that secret place–dost thou ask, “Where?”
O soul, it is the secret place of prayer!

26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

27I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Like a thief in the night.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/likeathiefinthenight_t_nv.jpg
heavenly city.   https://www.zeteo316.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/HandNJ.jpg
be joyful always . . .   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/f6eca-1thessalonians5_18.jpg
pray.     http://alittlebitdifferent.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/pray.jpg

3115.) 1 Thessalonians 4

March 26, 2021

“And the dead in Christ (including my parents) will rise first.” v. 16

1 Thessalonians 4 (ESV)

A Life Pleasing to God

1Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification:

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

1 Thessalonians 4:3  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification (Greek hagiasmos, holiness)

Way’s translation:  God’s purpose, in fact, is this, that yours be a consecrated life.

It is the common things in life — not, as we sometimes think, the exceptional things — that offer us greatest opportunity to live a consecrated life. Zechariah foresaw the day when our dear Lord is satisfied in His people and rejoices over them, and he said:  In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of Hosts (Zechariah 14:20-21).

The great thing is to live in the spirit of “holiness unto the Lord” in all our common things. Is all holy in my heart? Is all that issues forth in words and deeds stamped with the hallmark of holiness?

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts. Lead me, even me, in the way of holiness, that my life today may truly be a consecrated life.

that you abstain from sexual immorality;

We live differently than the world when we abstain from sexual immorality. The ancient Greek word translated sexual immorality (porneia) is a broad word, referring to any sexual relationship outside of the marriage covenant.

The older King James Version translates sexual immorality as fornication. “Fornication is used here in its comprehensive meaning to denote every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.” (Hiebert)

The broad nature of the word porneia shows that it isn’t enough to just say that you have not had sexual intercourse with someone who is not your spouse. All sexual behavior outside of the marriage covenant is sin.

God grants great sexual liberty in the marriage relationship (Hebrews 13:4). But Satan’s not-very-subtle strategy is often to do all he can to encourage sex outside of marriage and to discourage sex in marriage.

–David Guzik

4that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;

A marked feature of life in the first century Roman Empire, and more particularly in Greece, was the tendency to sexual license. The ancient writer Demosthenes expressed the generally amoral view of sex in the ancient Roman Empire: “We keep prostitutes for pleasure; we keep mistresses for the day to day needs of the body; we keep wives for the faithful guardianship of our homes.”

6that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Romans 14:17 (Good News Translation)

For God’s Kingdom is . . . the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives.

9Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia.  But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,

“To dwell above with saints I love,
To me that will be glory.
To dwell below with saints I know . . .
Well, that’s another story!”

11and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

The Coming of the Lord

President Eisenhower was asked, “How do you like growing old?” He replied, “I prefer it to the alternative.” But the alternative did catch up with him. And it is going to catch up with each of us unless the Lord returns first. Both the Scripture and the experience of man document the fact that “it is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Since this is true, every intelligent person should be vitally interested in the question, “What about the future of the dead?” In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11 Paul addresses himself to answering this for us.

–Harold L. Fickett, Jr.

 13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Dr. Alexander MacLaren, the famous Bible expositor, points out that sleep has two connotations in the Scripture. First, it has the connotation of rest, and second, the connotation of a glorious awakening. Early Christians began to call their burial places “cemeteries,” which means, “dormitories” or “sleeping places.” Significantly, while Paul describes the Christian dead as sleeping, he nowhere uses that expression of Christ. On the contrary, Jesus is always said to have died. The stark truth of that statement puts the miracle of the resurrection into perspective:  only because Christ has died can we “sleep.”
 15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.

I love how J.B. Phillips translates this verse:

One word of command, one shout from the archangel, one blast from the trumpet of God and the Lord himself will come down from Heaven!

And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Queen Victoria’s chaplain preached a moving sermon about Jesus’ second coming. He noticed tears in her eyes. She said to him, “I was thrilled by your message. But I was weeping because I feared I might not live until my Lord comes.”

The chaplain comforted her with the promise of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. When he finished, she explained, “I want to live until He comes in order that I may take the crown of England from my head and place it at his feet, for He is the King of kings and Lord of Lords.”

–quoted in Growing Into your Crown, by Randall Earl Denny



HERE  is “One day He’s coming — O Glorious Day!”  Updated by Casting Crowns.  I learned the chorus to this hymn when I was a child and I cannot tell you how many times I have sung it to myself, with much joy and thanksgiving, through the years!


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
consecration.   https://revonwheels.wordpress.com/category/consecration/
Why bother with sexual purity.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/sexual-purity.jpg
righteousness, peace, joy.   http://www.12accede.org/accede_right-peace-joy_2.gif
1 Thessalonians 4:16.    http://www.gracemedia.co.za/downloads/back011.jpg
Queen Victoria.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_Victorian_era#/media/File:Queen_Victoria_by_Bassano.jpg

3114.) 1 Thessalonians 3

March 25, 2021

I never promised you a rose garden.

1 Thessalonians 3 (ESV)

Paul loved the Thessalonian Christians. After all, he had been instrumental in leading most of them to Christ. He and Silas and Timothy had organized them into a church. They were Paul’s spiritual children. Naturally he was concerned about their well-being.

While he was away from them he began to think about them. He decided that he just had to know their true condition, so he deputized Timothy to visit Thessalonica and learn firsthand what their situation was. He also wanted him to encourage the Thessalonian Christians to remain faithful in serving the Master.

When Timothy returned with the word that they were remaining firm, that they were faithful, and that they wanted a reunion with him, Paul was filled with happiness. He realized that his labor among them had not been in vain, that it had paid dividends the value of which only eternity would reveal.

–Harold L. Fickett, Jr.

1Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

1 Thessalonians 3:3 — That none of you might be unnerved by your present trials: for you yourselves know that they are our appointed lot.

Have you difficulties? They are our appointed lot. Have you trials? They are our appointed lot.

These five words were written to people who might any day find themselves in prison, tortured, lonely, oppressed. Here if we have to have a tooth out, we have an injection. There was no injection for the Christians of Thessalonica. Let us not forget that when we are tempted to fuss over trifles, and call things trials which are mere nothings.

Still, there are trials sometimes, and they may look very big. But they are our appointed lot — we were never promised ease. The early Christians were not taught to expect it. Don’t let us slip into the expectation of the easy. It isn’t our appointed lot.

But for us there is always another word (2 Corinthians 12:9):  My grace is sufficient for thee.

4For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Timothy’s Encouraging Report

6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

“Never is the servant of God so full of delight as when he sees that the Holy Spirit is visiting his hearers, making them to know the Lord, and confirming them in that heavenly knowledge. On the other hand, if God does not bless the word of his servants it is like death to them. To be preaching and to have no blessing makes them heavy of heart: the chariot-wheels are taken off, and they drag heavily along: they seem to have no power nor liberty.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

11Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

A little boy was once asked what a saint was. Thinking about the stained glass windows in his church, he replied, “A saint is someone the light shines through.”

Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.



HERE  is “Hear the Call of the Kingdom” by Keith and Kristyn Getty.  I do like this song!


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Rose garden.  http://tolunnet.blogspot.com/
big girl panties.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/big-girl-panties.jpg
roaring lion.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/roaring-lion1.jpg
stained glass window, St. Andrews Church in Slaidburn, England.    https://www.picturesofengland.com/England/Lancashire/Slaidburn/pictures/1052134

3113.) 1 Thessalonians 2

March 24, 2021

1 Thessalonians 2 (ESV)

Criticism is a fact of life with which every Christian has to contend. We are never far from it. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the only perfect person who ever lived, continually faced verbal barrages which ultimately led to his crucifixion. God’s choicest servants have through the years been objects of ridicule and slander. The apostle Paul was no exception. In chapter 2 he answers several implied criticisms leveled at him by the enemies of Christ.

–Harold L. Fickett, Jr.

Paul’s Ministry to the Thessalonians

1For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.

Our message and our time among you was not worthless or irrelevant.

2But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive,

We were not trying to spread crazy talk, corrupt you, lie to you, or lead you astray.

4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

We were not trying to get ahead in this world.

5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

We were not trying to be the big cheese and lord it over you.

8So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

9For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

We were not trying to get rich at your expense.

10You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11For you know how, like a father with his children, 12we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.



“how like a father with his children . . “

HERE  is “I want to be just like you”  by Phillips, Craig and Dean.


13And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

We did encourage you to be transformed by Christ!

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

14For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind

We did warn you that you would face opposition as you follow the Lord Jesus!

John 16:33 (NLT)

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!

Paul’s Longing to See Them Again

17But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20For you are our glory and joy.

We did invest our lives in you, for the sake of God’s eternal kingdom!

Proverbs 11:30 (KJV)

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life;
and he that winneth souls is wise.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Actions speak louder . . .    http://zachkvet.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/actions-words-1.png
verses 11-12.   https://calvarydayton.com/sermons/1-thessalonians-02_01-12/

3112.) 1 Thessalonians 1

March 23, 2021

Ruins of the ancient marketplace (agora) of Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians 1 (ESV)

The story of Paul’s visit to Thessalonica is recorded in Acts 17:1-10; his efforts were crowned with success. Many people turned to Christ as Saviour and Lord; the Thessalonican Church was organized and despite the opposition from the pagan culture around them, the members of this church continued the ministry for the Saviour in the city. Both 1 and 2 Thessalonians were addressed to them.

Naturally Paul was concerned about the well-being of this infant church. After leaving the area, he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to investigate what was taking place there. The news that Timothy brought back was most encouraging and heart warming. Paul’s response was to write the church a letter of encouragement and praise.

But along with the encouraging news there were some disturbing facts brought to light. So along with Paul’s praise he answered questions which were disturbing them and admonished them to correct the evil trends which were apparently developing.

–Harold L. Fickett, Jr.


1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example

2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

They were a faithful and loving and hopeful church!

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Genuine love is so contrary to human nature that its presence bears witness to an extraordinary power.

–John Piper

4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord,

They were an imitating church!

1 Peter 2:21 (NIV)

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Martin Luther asked:  “If Christ wore a crown of thorns, why should His followers expect only a crown of roses?”

for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

They were a joyful church!

Romans 14:17 (Good News Translation)

For God’s Kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives.

A poster that was popular during my college days:  Let nothing so fill you with sorrow that you forget the joy of Christ risen!

7so that you became an example to all the believers

They were an exemplary church!

Titus 2:7 (NIV)

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

A little boy’s over-protective mother went with him on the first day of school, and she insisted that she speak with her little boy’s teacher before she left. His mother told the teacher that if her son misbehaved, the teacher should punish the boy next to him. The teacher asked why. And the mother replied, “My little boy learns by example.

in Macedonia and in Achaia.

Thessalonica (modern Thessaloniki, also called Salonika) is located about 190 mi. north of Athens. In the days of the apostle Paul it was the capital of the province of Macedonia and was a “free city.” Today Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece (a metropolitan population of about 1 million). Most of the remains from the New Testament era are either destroyed or covered over by the modern city. However, recent excavations in the center of the city have revealed the remains of an ancient forum (agora).

8For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.

They were an evangelizing church!

Acts 1:8 (NLT)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.

— Count Nicolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf (founder of Daily Texts in 1731)

9For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you,

They were a welcoming church!

Romans 12:13 (NIV)

Practice hospitality.

Here are some examples:

  • Take food to someone you don’t know.
  • Invite someone to your home that you don’t know very well — maybe someone who just moved to town, your neighborhood, or who may be new to the church.
  • Visit the hospital or nursing home and talk to patients you don’t know.
  • Pay for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant.
  • Help provide food or clothing for the homeless.

and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

They were a waiting church!

Acts 1:10-11 (NLT)

As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

The ancient confession of faith:  Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.



As I read the compliments Paul bestows on the church at Thessalonica, I wonder how well I am doing in those very departments. How faithful, hopeful, and loving am I — to my family, to strangers, to those who annoy me? How diligently do I imitate Christ — or do I just fall back on the same old tired excuses for my poor witness? How joyful am I — especially when my circumstances are not what I wish they were? Am I asking the Lord to put people in my path so I can tell them about him and his wonderful salvation? Is my house an open house to those who need help or a hot meal? Am I living in expectation that “Christ will come again”?

Help me, Lord, to live for you in every detail of my life!

HERE  is “I Offer My Life” by Don Moen.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
agora of ancient Thessalonica.  https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2011/05/thessaloniki-greece-brief-guide.html
thumbs up.   http://clipart-library.com/clipart/kTMndK9jc.htm
map showing Thessalonica.   https://sixteenseasons.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/on-scripture-and-the-bereans/

3111.) Acts 17:1-15

March 22, 2021

Thessaloniki, with its beautiful White Tower, is the second-largest city in Greece.

Acts 17 (NLT)

Now for a step over to the New Testament! In preparation for a reading through of 1 Thessalonians, we shall today look at Paul’s initial encounter with the people of Thessalonica.

Paul Preaches in Thessalonica

The Via Egnatia was a road built by the Romans in the second century BCE. It went west from the Bosphorus across Greece (Macedonia, Thrace) to the Adriatic, some 700 miles. Like other major Roman roads, it was nearly 20 feet wide, surfaced with large slabs of carefully fitted stones. It linked Neapolis, Philippi, and Thessalonica.  Paul would have walked this very road.

1 Paul and Silas then traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.

The first verse of this chapter is an extraordinary example of economy of writing. It sounds like a pleasant stroll; but in point of fact Philippi was 33 Roman miles from Amphipolis; Amphipolis was 30 miles from Apollonia; and Apollonia was 37 miles from Thessalonica. A journey of over 100 miles is dismissed in a sentence.

–William Barclay

2 As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. 3 He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.” 4 Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women.

Part of the credit here goes to the believers Paul had left behind in Philipi:

Philippians 4:15-16 (NLT)

As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this.  Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once.

5 But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Paul encountered the same envious reaction to his successful ministry during his first missionary journey in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13: 45 and 50), in Iconium (Acts 14:2 and 5), and in Lystra (Acts 14:19).

They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. 6 Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted,

The King James Version puts verse 6 as “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.”

The Jews had not the slightest doubt that Christianity was a supremely effective thing. T. R. Glover quoted with delight the saying of the child who remarked that the New Testament ended with Revolutions. When Christianity really goes into action it must cause a revolution both in the life of the individual and in the life of society.

–William Barclay

“and now they are here disturbing our city, too. 7 And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.”

Any talk of a rival to the Emperor was strictly forbidden by Rome.

8 The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports. 9 So the officials forced Jason and the other believers to post bond, and then they released them.

Paul and Silas in Berea

Mosaic of “Paul Preaching to the Noble Bereans” from the Altar of St. Paul in Veria (Berea), Greece.

10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea.

The believers sent Paul to a safe place. Cicero calls Berea an “out-of-the-way town.” Here Paul and his friends can stay until things settle down in Thessalonica.

When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.

13 But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble. 14 The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind. 15 Those escorting Paul went with him all the way to Athens; then they returned to Berea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.

Note three things:

The diligence of the Bereans, reading the Scriptures with new eyes.

The venom of the Jews from Thessolonica, who are identifying their aims with God, rather than submitting their ideas to God.

And the courage of Paul, who continues living a clearly dangerous life as he tells the story of Jesus.

What can we learn from these few verses?



I want to be a Berean! — searching the Scriptures to know what the Lord says is true and right!  HERE  The Choir of Royal Holloway perform Henry Purcell’s verse anthem, ‘Thy Word Is a Lantern’ live in concert, February 2015. Rupert Gough, organ. Listening to this music is a beautiful experience!

Thy word is a lantern unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
I have sworn, and am steadfastly purposed to keep thy righteous judgements.
I am troubled above measure: Quicken me, O Lord, according to thy word.
Let the freewill offerings of my mouth please thee O Lord, and teach me thy judgements.
The ungodly have laid a snare for me, but yet I swerved not from thy commandments.
Thy testimonies have I claimd as mine heritage for ever:
And why? They are the very joy of my heart. Alleluia.

Psalm 119: 105-108 and 110-111


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Thessaloniki.     http://apapagianopoulos.blogspot.com/2014/07/blog-post_48.html
Via Egnatia.     https://www.romanoimpero.com/2014/09/salonicco-tessalonica-grecia.html
Thank you note.    http://goodshepherd.com/Portals/4/_Files/Home/Resources/Horn/201807Horn.pdf?ver=2018-06-29-184515-427
Paul preaching in Berea.    http://www.padfield.com/greece/berea/images/berea-greece-03.jpg

3110.) Psalm 101

March 19, 2021


Psalm 101   (NRSV)

A Sovereign’s Pledge of Integrity and Justice

This psalm is titled A Psalm of David. Alexander Maclaren described a likely background for this psalm: “He had but recently ascended the throne. The abuses and confusions of Saul’s last troubled years had to be reformed. The new king felt that he was God’s viceroy; and here declares what he will strive to make his monarchy – a copy of God’s.”

David was anointed king three times. Samuel anointed David in his youth, really as a prophecy of his calling and destiny (1 Samuel 16:13). After Saul’s death he was anointed king over the tribe of Judah at Hebron (2 Samuel 2:4). Seven years later he was anointed king over all the tribes of Israel (2 Samuel 5:3). Before he took the throne over all Israel, he had a lot of time to think about what kind of king he should be.

“In Europe the psalm came to be known as the ‘prince’s psalm,’ owing to the concern for the proper conduct of a Christian magistrate, prince, or king.” (Willem VanGemeren)

“I was startled to find that Martin Luther had done an exposition of the psalm that ran to eighty pages. The reason, I discovered, is that he was deeply concerned about civil government and wanted to expound the psalm as a listing of qualities toward which every Christian prince or magistrate should strive.” (James Montgomery Boice)

“Eyring, in his ‘Life of Ernest the Pious’ (Duke of Saxe-Gotha), relates that he sent an unfaithful minister a copy of the 101st Psalm, and that it became a proverb in the country when an official had done anything wrong, he would certainly soon receive the prince’s Psalm to read.” (Franz Delitzsch, cited in Charles Spurgeon)

–David Guzik

1I will sing of loyalty and of justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing.

2I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep His statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do His will!

3I will not set before my eyes anything that is base. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.

This psalm is a carefully balanced psalm of decision.  Carefully formed positive decisions are balanced equally with the negative decisions that enable the positive decisions to be carried out.

4Perverseness of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.

Order my footsteps by Thy Word
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.

5One who secretly slanders a neighbor I will destroy. A haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not tolerate.

Making a choice involves two things.  It is the rejecting of one thing to do another.

6I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, so that they may live with me; whoever walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.

Assist my soul, too apt to stray,
A stricter watch to keep;
And should I e’er forget Thy way,
Restore Thy wandering sheep.

7No one who practices deceit shall remain in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue in my presence.

“The psalm is doubly moving: both for the ideals it discloses and for the shadow of failure which history throws across it. Happily the last word is not with David nor with his faithful historians, but with his Son. There, there is no shadow.”

— Derek Kidner

8Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord.

Make me to walk in Thy commands,
‘Tis a delightful road;
Nor let my head, or heart, or hands,
Offend against my God.

–Isaac Watts



“This Psalm can be understood on one level as King David wanting to walk in a way that is pleasing to his heavenly Father. This means obedience, when we truly love God. Working out our salvation in Yeshua (Jesus), allowing Him to change us into being that which we were created to be. At the second level it is YHWH speaking to us, showing us what is unacceptable to Him, because He is holy and how He longs for us to be in a righteous relationship with Himself. This confirms Acts 13:22 “After removing him [Saul] He raised up David to be their king. He also testified about him and said ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do My will.’ ” [TLV]. Although David fell short time after time, he always repented and sought forgiveness. This is encouraging for us for the times when we also fail the Almighty. He forgives us through His Son when we turn back to Him with a contrite heart. It encourages us to strive to live a life worthy of our Saviour, being empowered through the Holy Spirit, if we are humble and allow ourselves to be changed, becoming more beautiful as the Creator intended us to be from the beginning of time.”


HERE  is Psalm 101 put to music by Jason Silver.


The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 101:1 with singers.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/sing-101.jpg?w=450
Psalm 101:1 with flowers.   https://booklovers1.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/psalm1011.jpg

3109.) Ruth 4

March 18, 2021

Wedding Day!  I couldn’t find a photo of Ruth and Boaz as bride and groom! So here is one of David and me, December 27, 2003. He is my “family redeemer,” and I thank God for him.

Ruth 4 (NLT)

Boaz Marries Ruth

1 Boaz went to the town gate and took a seat there.

Jaffa Gate, part of the wall around the Old City of Jerusalem, was built around 1540 by Suleiman the Magnificent.

City gates served two functions in ancient times. First, they were protection. Gates controlled access to a walled city. They could shut out marauders and enemies and wild animals. Gates were often fortified with towers and secured with bars of iron. Second, city gates were the site of many societal, administrative, and business transactions. Much like the Greek agora or the Roman forum, the city gate was where important issues were discussed and negotiated. Deals were made and announcements proclaimed.

Remember, too, that this is a pre-literate society. Even during the Roman Empire, scholars believe, no more than 10 percent of the people could read and/or write. So instead of written records, they had certain visual rituals, performed in front of a group of witnesses, to ratify agreements and put them into the communal memory.

Just then the family redeemer he had mentioned came by, so Boaz called out to him, “Come over here and sit down, friend. I want to talk to you.” So they sat down together. 2 Then Boaz called ten leaders from the town and asked them to sit as witnesses. 3 And Boaz said to the family redeemer, “You know Naomi, who came back from Moab. She is selling the land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. 4 I thought I should speak to you about it so that you can redeem it if you wish. If you want the land, then buy it here in the presence of these witnesses. But if you don’t want it, let me know right away, because I am next in line to redeem it after you.”

The man replied, “All right, I’ll redeem it.”

5 Then Boaz told him, “Of course, your purchase of the land from Naomi also requires that you marry Ruth, the Moabite widow. That way she can have children who will carry on her husband’s name and keep the land in the family.”

6 “Then I can’t redeem it,” the family redeemer replied, “because this might endanger my own estate. You redeem the land; I cannot do it.”

7 Now in those days it was the custom in Israel for anyone transferring a right of purchase to remove his sandal and hand it to the other party. This publicly validated the transaction. 8 So the other family redeemer drew off his sandal as he said to Boaz, “You buy the land.”

A done deal.

9 Then Boaz said to the elders and to the crowd standing around, “You are witnesses that today I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon. 10 And with the land I have acquired Ruth, the Moabite widow of Mahlon, to be my wife. This way she can have a son to carry on the family name of her dead husband and to inherit the family property here in his hometown. You are all witnesses today.”

11 Then the elders and all the people standing in the gate replied, “We are witnesses! May the Lord make this woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, from whom all the nation of Israel descended! May you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 And may the Lord give you descendants by this young woman who will be like those of our ancestor Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah.”



Years ago, after a drawn-out and draining divorce from a habitually unfaithful husband, I was, to use C. S. Lewis’ term, “surprised by joy” when a wonderful man named David found me. I had his 10th grade son in my English class; his wife died of cancer the third week of school. As the months passed by and love grew, we realized that we wanted to serve God together and grow old together. Once when I was telling this story to a friend of a friend, she played me this song and I have loved it ever since! Thank you, Rachel!  I love you, David!

HERE  Selah sings “God Bless the Broken Road (That Led Me Straight to You).” I post this song for Ruth and Boaz and all the ones who have found love in circuitous and sometimes difficult ways! Hear it as a musical version of Romans 8:28 — that God works ALL THINGS together for good for those who love him, and Lord, you know we love you!


The Descendants of Boaz

13 So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife.

“Calypsos 1” — a poem
by William Carlos Williams, 1962

Well God is
so love me

is love so
love me God

love so love
me well

When he slept with her, the Lord enabled her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. 14 Then the women of the town said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel. 15 May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!”

16 Naomi took the baby and cuddled him to her breast. And she cared for him as if he were her own.

17 The neighbor women said, “Now at last Naomi has a son again!” And they named him Obed (which means “worship”). He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David.

18 This is the genealogical record of their ancestor Perez:

Perez was the father of Hezron.
19 Hezron was the father of Ram.
Ram was the father of Amminadab.
20 Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.
Nahshon was the father of Salmon.
21 Salmon was the father of Boaz.
Boaz was the father of Obed.
22 Obed was the father of Jesse.
Jesse was the father of David.

Ruth4 star above B

And if we continue the same family tree down further generations, as the Gospel of Matthew does in chapter 1, we will find that Boaz and Ruth and David are all in the family tree of another little boy born in Bethlehem — Jesus Christ.



For Obed and David and especially for Jesus — “O Little Town of Bethlehem,”  HERE  by Sarah McLachlan.


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Jaffa Gate.    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1069/856994589_33fb914816.jpg?v=0
sandal.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/4-sandal.jpg
hearts. https://jvcnorthwest.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/419124_thumbnail.jpg
Naomi and baby Obed.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/4-naomi-and-baby.jpg
star over Bethlehem.    https://bloorlansdownechristianfellowship.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/isaiah-9_2-61.jpg