Ruth Lesson 1

An Extraordinary God

In the Lives of

Ordinary People

Ruth was the great grandmother of King David. She is also one of only four women specifically named by Matthew in the lineage of Christ (Matthew 1:5). Jewish tradition credits Samuel as the author, which is plausible since he did not die (1 Sam. 25:1) until after he had anointed David as God’s chosen king (1 Sam. 16:6–13). However, neither internal features nor external testimony conclusively identifies the writer. This  story most likely appeared shortly before or during David’s reign of Israel (1011–971 B.C.).

 

For many years, Moab oppressed Israel during the period of the judges, if you read Judges chapter 3, at least 18 years of direct oppression by Moab against Israel during the period of the judges. So Moab, on and off again, was troublesome to Israel. Moab was idolatrous, rejected the true God, and was generally an enemy of Israel. This country originated when Lot fathered Moab by an incestuous union with his oldest daughter (Gen. 19:37).

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Ruth Lesson 1”

Week 7, No Worship in a Foreign Land, Hosea 9:1-9

The first nine verses of Hosea chapter 9 are hard to read. The prophet Hosea marches into a festal celebration where the people of Israel are enjoying (apparently) the Feast of Tabernacles—or rather, their version of the feast which had merged with the pagan harvest rituals and therefore took place on threshing floors rather than with booths set up at the temple. They are partying, pouring out drink offerings to the LORD, bringing sacrifices, and eating the bread baked from the firstfruits of the grain harvest, when Hosea walks in and rains on their parade with his pronouncement of judgement: Continue reading “Week 7, No Worship in a Foreign Land, Hosea 9:1-9”

Esther Lesson 5

The essence of holy war in the Old Testament is not about two nations in warfare, one of which happens to be Israel. Holy war is about God warring against sin and evil on the earth.

Est 8:1  Haman has been executed , but the evil he set in motion lives on in the decree of death against the Jewish people. This had not been revoked by the king. One wonders what would have happened if Mordecai had bowed to Haman in Esther 3 and Esther 4? His courage and commitment to not bow set in motion the series of divine “coincidences” in Esther 5-7 which resulted in the death of Haman and ultimately raised Mordecai to the number two position in Persia! Continue reading “Esther Lesson 5”

Week 6: Israel’s Hypocrisy, Hosea 8:1-14

This week in our study of Hosea chapter 8, we continue learning the cost of Israel’s iniquities. Their many sins in breaking God’s covenant and rebelling against his law, which included idolatry, alliances with pagan nations, hypocrisy in worship, and self-reliance, trace directly to the root of forgetting the God who made them (8:14). Therefore the God to whom they should have turned for protection has decreed their demise. Instead of crying out to the LORD who covenanted to be their refuge, they have turned to the neighboring nations seeking security, employing worldly solutions to their degenerating foreign affairs. Meanwhile, Assyria is circling like a vulture overhead and will soon swoop down upon them with unrelenting destruction (8:1).

And yet it is evident that the Israelites believed that they were on good terms with God. Appealing to him that, “My God, we—Israel—know you” (8:2). But they have “spurned the good” (8:3), rejecting (with disdain and contempt) the covenant and laws by which he made himself known to them and called them to walk in his ways as his own people. They are pursuing relationship with their Creator not on his terms, but their own. By forsaking their exclusive calling to be set apart from the nations and live according to God’s holy laws, they made a mockery of their faithless worship of him. Continue reading “Week 6: Israel’s Hypocrisy, Hosea 8:1-14”