Sit Still – Ruth 4

Let’s recap where we are so far. Naomi is a widow, who with her daughter in law Ruth is also a widow. They have returned to Bethlehem poor and destitute. Ruth has been shown incredible kindness from a relative named Boaz. I response to his kindness Ruth has humbly asked Boaz to ‘redeem’ her in a gentle marriage proposal.

Boaz responds:

    And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
    Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.
    Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning.”
    ~ Ruth 3:11-13

Boaz has replied that he would welcome her hand in marriage, but there is another relative who is closer and has the first rights. By law, that relative must be given the chance first. What an honorable man Boaz was!

    Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. ~ Ruth 4:1

Guzik: “The gate of the city was always the place where the esteemed and honorable men of the city sat. For an ancient city in Israel it was a combination of a city council chamber and a courtroom. The city gate was ‘A kind of outdoor court, the place were judicial matters were resolved by the elders and those who had earned the confidence and respect of the people … a place for business and as a kind of forum or public meeting place.’ ” (Huey)

    And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. ~ Ruth 4:2

Whenever big decisions are being made or possible conflicts are being resolved, having eyewitnesses there is always a good thing. It doesn’t leave much room for argument later if there are witnesses to the discussion and decision. This idea is taught all through God’s word.

    But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established’. ~ Matthew 18:16

Matthew Henry: “Why was Boaz so hasty, why so fond of the match? Ruth was not rich, but lived upon alms; not honorable, but a poor stranger. She was never said to be beautiful; if ever she had been so, we may suppose that weeping, and traveling, and gleaning, had withered her lilies and roses. But that which made Boaz in love with her, and solicitous to expedite the affair, was that all her neighbors agreed she was a virtuous woman. This set her price with him far above rubies.”

    Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. ~ Proverbs 31:10

It’s beautiful to see that while Boaz is an honorable man, Ruth is also a virtuous woman. A match made in heaven 🙂

    Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’ ” And he said, “I will redeem it.”

    Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.”

    And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

We read in the Mosaic law last week (Leviticus 25 and Numbers 27) that The Lord had provided a way for a property to pass down to relatives and for the family line to pass down as well. God provides for a family member to ‘redeem’ property and/or marry a widowed family member to continue the family and inheritance of the deceased. Here we see Boaz begin the conversation by proposing to his relative that the man redeem the land of Elimilech. That means this cousin would buy back the land from Naomi to keep it in the family. This land sale would no doubt provide money for Naomi to live on.

Buying land would have been a fairly simple business decision in those days. The man either has the money or he doesn’t. He either wants the property or he doesn’t. Easy squeezy. But then Boaz reminds the man that with the land comes the responsibility of taking Ruth as his wife.

At this point Naomi and Ruth are in absolute suspense. They may very well have been sitting there watching the entire exchange wondering how it would turn out.

When I used to get stressed out as a kid, my dad would tell me “Don’t worry about the things that you can’t control”. It seems like good advice. However, God doesn’t want us to worry about anything at all.

    Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
    Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
    Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
    So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
    Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
    Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
    For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
    But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
    Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ~ Matthew 6:25-34

Remember, Ruth was new to the God of the Israelites, but Naomi was raised in faith in Jehovah. For most believers, faith and trust in God are learned over many, many years through lots of trials and trouble. Back in chapter 3, after Ruth has proposed to Boaz that he redeem her, Boaz replied and tried to calm her fears:

    And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
    Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.
    Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning.
    ~ Ruth 3:11-13

Upon Ruth’s return to Naomi after meeting with Boaz, Naomi also sees Ruth is stressed about the situation and reassures her:

    Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.” ~ Ruth 3:18

Sit still. Right.

I confess to you: that is so hard for me! I can imagine Ruth coming back to Naomi all worried or in tears. God has developed Naomi’s faith over many years. She has the wisdom of a godly older woman. Ruth has probably learned to be a ‘virtuous woman’ from the beautiful example that Naomi reflects. We see Naomi’s wisdom and faith so wonderfully summarized in that simple statement: Sit still.

    Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
    ~ Psalm 46:10

    “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
    ~ Lamentations 3:24-26

One of my favorite examples of this is in Exodus 14 when the Israelites had left Egypt in the Exodus and had their backs up against the Red Sea with no way of escape. I love what Moses says to reassure them!

    And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
    The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
    ~ Exodus 14:13-14

Do not be afraid. Stand still. Those are soothing words to my own soul.

    Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel.
    Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” So he took off his sandal.

    And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi.

    “Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.”

    And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this young woman.” ~ Ruth 4:7-12

What a love story! “All the people who were at the gate and the elders” were witnesses to this redemption. Notice that the people proclaim blessing on them using the lineage of Christ. I love how the word of God consistently points us to Jesus! (See Matthew 1 for the genealogical line from Adam to Christ.)

    So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.
    Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel!
    And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.”
    Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him.
    Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
    Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron;
    Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab;
    Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon;
    Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed;
    Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.
    ~ Ruth 4:13-22

God uses each of us in such incredible ways! We cannot possibly know what the future holds for each of us, and certainly we can’t know how God will use our current choices in His future plan. God used Naomi’s decision to return to Bethlehem. God used Ruth’s choice to propose to Boaz. In all of this, God had a plan for Israel’s future king – King David.

    And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

Adrian Rogers:
“God can take things that are bad and put them in the crucible of His wisdom and love. He works all things together for good, and He gives us the glorious, wonderful promise that He will do so. We know that we have victory over sin and over Satan, but this verse in Romans teaches us that we also have victory over our circumstances. It says that all things work together for good.”

Rest in that today. Sit still.

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It’s Resurrection Sunday – Hallelujah, He is Risen!

This Sunday is Easter Sunday, the day Jesus was raised from the dead three days after being killed as a criminal, also in fulfillment of the prophecies about Him. I love the account we read from Luke chapter 24.

Last week we talked about Palm Sunday. Jesus came riding into Jerusalem humbly, on a young colt, not as the victorious King the Jews expected. Yet they praised and worshipped Him in fulfillment of the prophecies.

    1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.
    2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
    3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
    4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.
    5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?
    6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,
    7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”
    8 And they remembered his words,
    9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

Jesus knew what was coming for Him, He even told the Apostles about it ahead of time.

    And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” ~ Luke 9:21-22

    “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” ~ Luke 9:44

These angels are here to remind the disciples of Jesus’ words and to testify that it had happened just as Jesus said it would. If you are a believer in Jesus, you also have that testimony!

The New Testament teaches that God sent the Holy Spirit to glorify Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…. He will glorify me” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit …. opens our eyes to see the self-authenticating glory of Christ in the narrative of his life and death and resurrection. He enables us to see Jesus as he really was, so that he is irresistibly true and beautiful. The apostle stated the problem of our blindness and the solution like this: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4, 6). ~ Pastor John Piper

Even King David believed and foretold Jesus’ resurrection, and the Apostle Paul saw Jesus after His resurrection, he believed, and then he spoke in his testimony about it:

    22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—
    23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
    24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
    29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
    30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne,
    31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
    32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
    ~ Acts 2:22-24, 29-32

Others will also testify of His resurrection

    10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,
    11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
    12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
    13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,
    14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
    15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
    16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
    17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.
    18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
    19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
    20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
    21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
    22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,
    23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
    24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
    25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
    26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
    27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
    28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,
    29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
    30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
    31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

These disciples don’t recognize Jesus at first. Though they’ve been told that He has been raised from the dead, somehow they can’t see the miracle of Him standing right in front of them! Luke tells us “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself”. The whole of the Bible points us to Jesus as the Savior of the world. Here we see that Jesus is able to show them the Old Testament scriptures that point to Him. Yet, even as He is doing so, they are still unable to see the risen Savior. It reminds me of how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of those around us, and yet they can’t recognize Him. He is doing miracles in their lives, for their good and His glory. Yet they don’t seem to see or understand that it is God working.

Suddenly, we see a transformation that happens when “their eyes were opened, and they recognized him”! What a beautiful thing it is when that happens today! It brings joy to my heart when a unbeliever is beautifully transformed as the light of Christ dawns on their dark heart, and they choose to believe on Jesus to be saved. Or a believer that has strayed far from God has suddenly had his or her eyes opened to see and remember of who Christ is. These disciples remind us that God does these miracles, He opens minds and hearts to reveal Himself.

As we read the Bible, learn the Scriptures, and testify of what God has done in our lives, God uses what we’ve learned and our testimony to reveal Himself to others around us.

    32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
    33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
    34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
    35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
    36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”
    37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.
    38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Sometimes the work of God can be frightening or startling. That’s our human flesh, our doubt, our lack of faith. That is simply human. Jesus responds to their fear with “why?”

God has done miracle after miracle after miracle after miracle in my life. I have no reason to fear. I’m still afraid.

I’m afraid of the future. I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid for my family. I’m afraid of evil. I’m afraid of crime. I’m afraid of my bank account. I’m afraid of what others think. I’m afraid I’m dumb, boring, ignorant, pompous, self-righteous, angry, abrasive, and sinful.

Yet Jesus assures me. He shows me how powerful He is just as He assures the discipes.

    39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
    40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

He shows us in the Bible that He has risen from the dead. We have many eyewitness accounts of His resurrection. Why should I be afraid? I have a Savior God that does miraculous and wonderful things!

Jesus Eats with the Disciples

    41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
    42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
    43 and he took it and ate before them.
    44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
    45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
    46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
    47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
    48 You are witnesses of these things.
    49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Here we see Jesus remind them with His words that He was to suffer, die, and rise again “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations”. He explains the Scriptures to them and in doing so, “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”. As we read God’s word, the Bible, God does the same for us. It’s important to read and study both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Both of them point to God’s eternal plan for us and they point to Jesus Christ. If we read only one of the other, we don’t see the whole picture that God has given us. Jesus gives us that example, right here in Luke 24 and also throughout the New Testament, as He uses the Old Testament in His teaching.

    50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
    51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
    52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
    53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
    ~ Luke 24:1-53

The Gospel of Luke begins it’s story in the Temple in Luke 1, and Luke also ends his gospel account in the Temple here in Chapter 24. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Temple. God shows us again and again throughout His Word that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah – and the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan.

    18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
    19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
    20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
    21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
    22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
    John 2:18-22

The temple was designed by specifications given from God early in the Old Testament. God uses His entire Word to testify of Himself. We have that testimony as well! We can be witnesses, just as the disciples were, of a risen Savior.

Hallelujah, He is risen! He is risen indeed!

High Self-Esteem as Opposed to Humility (Philippians 2:1-16)

In the wisdom of this world, we are taught to have a high self-esteem. We’re to be proud of what we’ve achieved. Our culture says we should think we are better than others or strive hard to be the best. Is that what God’s word teaches us?

Humility is such an rare trait in our world isn’t it? From Wiktionary humility is “modesty, lack of pride (with respect to one’s achievements)”.

God Honors the Humble

Let’s look at what Paul tells us in Philippians 2:

    Vs 1-4 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

The Apostle Paul wrote that “in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself”. That’s the opposite of high self-esteem! We are called to think of others as better than us. We are tasked with taking care of ourselves and at the same time we are to look out for and help others around us. (If by now you are concerned that I’m saying that you and I are no good or unworthy of love, see my clarification note at the end.)

King David was a beautiful example of humility. While the world teaches us to believe in ourselves and have confidence in what we can do, that was the opposite of how King David lived his life. David’s confidence was in The Lord!

    It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.
    ~ Psalm 118:8

    Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.
    O my soul, you have said to the LORD, “You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You. ~ Psalm 16:1-2

    The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident. ~ Psalm 27:1-3

Later in Philippians we read from Paul:

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
    ~ Philippians 4:13

The Bible very simply instructs us not to have confidence in ourselves but in The Lord. We see that lesson all throughout Scripture.

No one seemed to know that better than Job. Here was a man who was incredibly wealthy and prosperous for his time. Yet when all of that was taken away from him and he was stripped of all wealth and even his children were taken, he knew it was God that had given it all to him.

    And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
    ~ Job 1:21

Job had not “earned” his wealth and his good life in his own strength, or wisdom, or cunning, or power. He knew it all came from the God of the universe.

Jesus as the Ultimate Example

    Vs 5-11 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is God. He is one person of the Trinity along with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Yet He set the example for the rest of us to follow. Jesus Christ was humbly born on earth in a human body that suffered all of the limitations our bodies have. He was born into a lowly and humble family, and He died the death of a criminal for a bunch of sinners (you and me).

From David Guzik:
– He was humble in that he took the form of a man, and not a more glorious creature like an angel.
– He was humble in that He was born into an obscure, oppressed place.
– He was humble in that He was born into poverty, among a despised people.
– He was humble in that He was born as a child instead of appearing as a man.
– He was humble in submitting to the obedience of a child in a household.
– He was humble in learning and practicing a trade – and a humble trade of a builder.
– He was humble in the long wait until He launched out into public ministry.
– He was humble in the companions and disciples He chose.
– He was humble in the audience He appealed to and the way He taught.
– He was humble in the temptations He allowed and endured.
– He was humble in the weakness, hunger, thirst, and tiredness He endured.
– He was humble in His total obedience to His Heavenly Father.
– He was humble in His submission to the Holy Spirit.
– He was humble in choosing and submitting to the death of the cross.
– He was humble in the agony of His death.
– He was humble in the shame, mocking, and public humiliation of His death.
– He was humble in enduring the spiritual agony of His sacrifice on the cross.

Jesus became as humble as possible. You and I could not become more humble than Christ was. He was ridiculed, beaten, abused, poor, accused, on trial multiple times, and then murdered. Yet, “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name”.

God wants us to be humble, and He honors and exalts (lifts up) the humble.

    He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
    ~ Micah 6:8

    A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.
    ~ Proverbs 29:23

Work Out Your Salvation – What?

    Vs 12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

“We know that Paul did not mean ‘work so as to earn your own salvation.’ Such a statement would contradict the whole of Paul’s gospel. What Paul did mean is to call the Philippians to put forth real effort into their Christians lives. This is not to work their salvation in the sense of accomplishing it, but to work out their salvation – to see it evident in every area of their lives, to activate this salvation God freely gave them.”
~ Guzik

“These words, as they stand in the New Testament, contain no exhortation to all men, but are directed to the people of God. They are not intended as an exhortation to the unconverted; they are, as we find them in the epistle, beyond all question addressed to those who are already saved through a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
~ Spurgeon

No Whining!

    Vs 14-16 Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

It’s winter where I live as I write this. This week it the temperatures have been below zero at times. I really don’t like being cold. As a matter of fact, I whine a lot when it’s cold – I’m a wimp like that. I admit to having a difficult time doing “all things without complaining”.

But on a deeper and more sinful level, I have also been known to complain and dispute about doing things asked of me at school, at work, and at home. God certainly calls us to obey those in authority over us. Many times my complaints were not spoken to those I was responsible to – like my teachers, bosses, parents, or spouse. Rather I complained to people around me about how I was treated or about what I was asked to do. This would be my school friends, or perhaps my coworkers. In those times of sin and selfishness when my faith and my humility was weak, my “light in the world” was dimmed. When I’m complaining to those around me, they don’t see Jesus! They see my flesh and my weakness. They see a whiner when they look at me in those times.

Often, God calls us to do things or to serve Him and others in ways that we don’t like. God is asking us to do those things not only without complaint, but with a cheerful heart!

Check out the how blessed the man is who obeys God with a cheerful heart versus how cursed the man is who disobeys, or who doesn’t serve with a cheerful heart.

    Vs 1-6 Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.
    And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:
    Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
    Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
    Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
    Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

    Vs 47-48 Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you.
    Deuteronomy 28:1-6, 47-48

God desires that we serve Him in gladness and joy, and with a whole heart! It’s a choice we each have to make. Lord help me to serve you joyfully no matter what you ask of me!

The Israelites Response

Joshua speaking on behalf of God to the Israelites when he said:

    Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
    ~ Joshua 24:14-15

We are each called to serve God. Period.

We’re called to serve God humbly, knowing that He has given us everything.

We’re also called to serve The Lord joyfully and with hearts of gladness and thankfulness.

Some will choose to serve Him. Some will choose not to serve Him. But as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.

{For clarification, let me add that I don’t believe that in regards to self-esteem, God is saying that we are not worth His love. As a matter of fact, we are created in His image and He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us! When He created the earth and mankind in the Genesis, the Bible tells us “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Gen 1:31)

The point I’m trying to make regarding humility is simply that we are to know our place. We are not strong, brilliant, fast, wealthy, or blessed – unless God makes it so. We have no reason for confidence in our own awesomeness. If we have anything good or are good at anything, it comes from The Lord.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
~ James 1:17}

Other great resources:

These Things I Have Spoken

Do Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly, By Faith