Many of us hate to be out of control. We hold onto the proverbial reigns with white knuckle grips. We plan and coordinate and when things don’t go our way, or even when we become unsure of whether or not they will go our way, we fall apart. Today’s proverb reminds us that, in certain ways, it’s good to be out of control because that allows us to better see God in control. And he’s way better at it.
- 1-22 – This section describes the glory of the Lord leaving the temple. This, in turn, means that the glory of the Lord left the Israelites.
- 1-13 – Ezekiel is shown those who had counseled Israel away from God. Judgment and punishment begin to be poured out on them.
- 14-25 – In this section, Israel is given a new heart and a new spirit. Verse 19 is similar to several other verses regarding a change of heart, particularly Ezekiel 36:26 and Psalm 51:10.
- 4-8 – In a similar vein to the unforgivable sin mentioned in the gospels, if you are worried that you committed it, your desire for repentance and restoration with God is sign that you are not beyond restoration. Have no fear.
- 9-12 – The author expresses hope for those hearing his words that they are still covered by salvation and should have eternal hope.
- 20 – Melchizedek is mentioned several times in Hebrews. He was a high priest mentioned in Genesis 14:18 as having served a meal similar to communion to Abraham and God when they met. Some groups believed that Melchizedek was a human who lived without sin.
- 16-22 – Joseph’s story of betrayal, rejection, and imprisonment could be encouraging to Israelites, particularly those in exile, that God always rescues his people.
- 23-36 – The psalmist recounts the events that put the Israelites into Egypt and how God ultimately rescued them.
- 1 – This is yet another reminder that we are not in control. This is difficult for most of us, but freeing when we realize that God is!
Just like us, the Israelites struggled to retain memories of the good things God had done for them. They needed to be continually reminded of specific instances of God’s faithfulness. In today’s psalm, the psalmist recounts a series of time where God proved himself faithful and that faithfulness in the past gave hope to the original readers and can give hope to us as well. We serve a faithful God.
- 1-2 – The Israelites were commanded to not go through their fields and pick up the leftovers but to leave them for widows and travelers. This is exactly what Ruth is taking advantage of.
- 8-10 – Boaz essentially guarantees Ruth’s safety and provision.
- 6-18 – Though the language is somewhat suggestive that Ruth and Boaz had a sexual encounter, the language is just uncertain enough that you can’t say either way with any confidence. Maybe she did simply sleep at his feet all night after a kind, generous conversation. Either way, it was scandalous in their culture that she stayed the night with a man who was not her husband.
- 1-6 – Women, like land, were considered property. Ruth came along with the land since she had no male relative to marry.
- 7 – The phrase, “now this was custom in former times,” makes it clear that this story was told to people years later when customs had changed.
- 11-12 – Rachel, Ruth and Boaz, Perez, Tamar, and Judah are all part of Jesus’ lineage listed in the first chapter of Matthew.
- 17 – This lineage is listed to show Ruth’s connection to David and eventually to Jesus. It is significant that Ruth was not an Israelite so we know that gentiles were part of Jesus’ background.
- 47-54 – Jesus frequently rewards people who believe without having seen a miracle or been told specifically who he is.
- 54 – Though John’s gospel doesn’t enumerate all of Jesus’ miracles, clearly the writer wanted the readers to recognize that this was Jesus’ second miracle in a particular place.
- “The fear of the Lord” is an interesting concept. Fear can be replaced with the word “awe”. When we stand in awe or reverence of something, we hold great respect for it. This fear or awe should lead us to obedience. Because of that, when we fear the Lord and it leads to obedience, we are fully protected by the Lord and can have confidence in that.
Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10:
- 15-21 – Our sinfulness has long-lasting consequences. We often face them long after the actual situation is over. Joseph’s brothers still have guilt and shame on them and assume their brother will now pay back evil for evil. Instead, Joseph recognizes his place in the situation and recognizes that God redeemed to good what his brother meant for evil.
- 26 – Unlike his father, Joseph had made Egypt his home and was fine with being buried there.
- 7-14 – With a new king and the death of Joseph, the Egyptians quickly forget the good Joseph did for them. As the Israelites grow in size and strength while they live in Egypt, the Egyptians grow fearful of them and eventually enslave them to keep them under control.
- 15-16 – Pharaoh is trying to control the Israelite population and their ability to join enemies in war.
- 17-21 – Sometimes faithfulness seems impossible. The midwives chose faithfulness even though it was in direct disobedience to the king.
- 1-10 – Moses’ mother finds a way to give him a chance at life. Moses’ sister’s quick thinking allows his mother to nurse and care for him.
- 13-20 – Peter is the first of the disciples to identify Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus blesses him because this was clearly revealed to Peter by the Father. Peter becomes the rock of the church and is given great authority going forward.
- 21-23 – This is a quick transition between Peter being told he would lead the church to being called Satan. In this section, Peter puts his own plans for Jesus ahead of God’s.
- 24-25 – Note that no one knew Jesus would take up an actual cross at his death. He is calling them to be willing to make the same kind of sacrifice he will soon make.
- 28 – Though somewhat confusing, this is not intended to mean that some of the people standing there would still be alive when Jesus returned a second time. Though there are many interpretations, one feasible one is that Jesus is saying that some people would live to see Christ reign in the world. Many were alive as Pentecost and then the spread of the church began. Some even led it.
- 5 – This is the same phrase recorded from Jesus’ baptism.
- Note that many psalms filled with violence and seeking revenge still end with praise and exultation of God. Clearly praise was a fallback whether times were good or bad.
- This section gives a great description of just how seductive temptation can be. We would much more easily avoid temptation if it wasn’t attractive and sneaky. Before we know it, we have followed temptation into destruction.
Now that we’re right in the middle of the story of the Israelites, let’s review!