A snapshot for the future

Recently, I was in CVS, getting a prescription filled for my wife and on the way out the front door, I remembered I needed to pick up some milk as well. While I was waiting in line, I happened to glance at the EASY SHARE camera on sale behind the counter.  A closer look revealed it was 14 mega pixels, which is a far cry from the 7 mp one I had purchased just a few years ago.  The thing is; the 7 mp camera took fine pictures and I still have it to this day.  So it probably is the same with these old black and white cameras from 1921 in the picture- I imagine they still work (IF you could find the film for them) just as well as they did in 1921.  Cameras are designed to do take pictures and people are make to seek out the will of God and do it.  But, what if one decides to deny or defy their creator?  Here is one example from the Old Testament...

Jeremiah, Chapter 18
 1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying,  2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear my words.  3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he was making a work on the wheels.  4 When the vessel that he made of the clay was marred in the hand of the potter, he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.  5 Then the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,  6 House of Israel, can’t I do with you as this potter? says Yahweh. Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.  7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy it;  8 if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them. 9 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;  10 if they do that which is evil in my sight, that they not obey my voice, then I will repent of the good, with which I said I would benefit them.  11 Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says Yahweh: Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return you now everyone from his evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.  12 But they say, It is in vain; for we will walk after our own devices, and we will do everyone after the stubbornness of his evil heart.  13 Therefore thus says Yahweh: Ask now among the nations, who has heard such things; the virgin of Israel has done a very horrible thing. 14 Shall the snow of Lebanon fail from the rock of the field? Shall the cold waters that flow down from afar be dried up?  15 For my people have forgotten me, they have burned incense to false gods; and they have been made to stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths, to walk in byways, in a way not built up;  16 to make their land an astonishment, and a perpetual hissing; everyone who passes thereby shall be astonished, and shake his head.

All nations are comprised of people of all sorts; some seek God and some do not.  But, when any nation rejects God; punishment awaits.  In Jeremiah's time, some listened to the word of God that he proclaimed, but most did not.  The result was disastrous!!! I am sorry to say that America is on a path to destruction, but until the instant of God's judgment, there is still time.  To all who read these words, listen: If God could judge a nation HE LOVED once, HE can do it again.  I know not everyone will listen, but I pray enough will to put our country once again on a Godly path.  Picture it; a country turning from sin and choosing to follow God!!! I don't even care what camera you use; color is unimportant, just the focus of the human heart!!!

Bible reading, Nov. 29

Nov. 29
Ezekiel 9-12

Eze 9:1 Then he cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause those who are in charge of the city to draw near, every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.
Eze 9:2 Behold, six men came from the way of the upper gate, which lies toward the north, every man with his slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man in the midst of them clothed in linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side. They went in, and stood beside the bronze altar.
Eze 9:3 The glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon it was, to the threshold of the house: and he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writer's inkhorn by his side.
Eze 9:4 Yahweh said to him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry over all the abominations that are done in its midst.
Eze 9:5 To the others he said in my hearing, Go you through the city after him, and strike: don't let your eye spare, neither have you pity;
Eze 9:6 kill utterly the old man, the young man and the virgin, and little children and women; but don't come near any man on whom is the mark: and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the old men that were before the house.
Eze 9:7 He said to them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go you forth. They went forth, and struck in the city.
Eze 9:8 It happened, while they were smiting, and I was left, that I fell on my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord Yahweh! will you destroy all the residue of Israel in your pouring out of your wrath on Jerusalem?
Eze 9:9 Then said he to me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perversion: for they say, Yahweh has forsaken the land, and Yahweh doesn't see.
Eze 9:10 As for me also, my eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will bring their way on their head.
Eze 9:11 Behold, the man clothed in linen, who had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as you have commanded me.

Eze 10:1 Then I looked, and see, in the expanse that was over the head of the cherubim there appeared above them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.
Eze 10:2 He spoke to the man clothed in linen, and said, Go in between the whirling wheels, even under the cherub, and fill both your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city. He went in as I watched.
Eze 10:3 Now the cherubim stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court.
Eze 10:4 The glory of Yahweh mounted up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of Yahweh's glory.
Eze 10:5 The sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.
Eze 10:6 It came to pass, when he commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim, that he went in, and stood beside a wheel.
Eze 10:7 The cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubim to the fire that was between the cherubim, and took of it, and put it into the hands of him who was clothed in linen, who took it and went out.
Eze 10:8 There appeared in the cherubim the form of a man's hand under their wings.
Eze 10:9 I looked, and behold, four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside one cherub, and another wheel beside another cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like a beryl stone.
Eze 10:10 As for their appearance, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel have been within a wheel.
Eze 10:11 When they went, they went in their four directions: they didn't turn as they went, but to the place where the head looked they followed it; they didn't turn as they went.
Eze 10:12 Their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes all around, even the wheels that they four had.
Eze 10:13 As for the wheels, they were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels.
Eze 10:14 Every one had four faces: the first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third face the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
Eze 10:15 The cherubim mounted up: this is the living creature that I saw by the river Chebar.
Eze 10:16 When the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the wheels also didn't turn from beside them.
Eze 10:17 When they stood, these stood; and when they mounted up, these mounted up with them: for the spirit of the living creature was in them.
Eze 10:18 The glory of Yahweh went forth from over the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim.
Eze 10:19 The cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight when they went forth, and the wheels beside them: and they stood at the door of the east gate of Yahweh's house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
Eze 10:20 This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubim.
Eze 10:21 Every one had four faces, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.
Eze 10:22 As for the likeness of their faces, they were the faces which I saw by the river Chebar, their appearances and themselves; they went every one straight forward.

Eze 11:1 Moreover the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me to the east gate of Yahweh's house, which looks eastward: and see, at the door of the gate twenty-five men; and I saw in the midst of them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.
Eze 11:2 He said to me, Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity, and who give wicked counsel in this city;
Eze 11:3 who say, The time is not near to build houses: this city is the caldron, and we are the flesh.
Eze 11:4 Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, son of man.
Eze 11:5 The Spirit of Yahweh fell on me, and he said to me, Speak, Thus says Yahweh: Thus have you said, house of Israel; for I know the things that come into your mind.
Eze 11:6 You have multiplied your slain in this city, and you have filled its streets with the slain.
Eze 11:7 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Your slain whom you have laid in its midst, they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron; but you shall be brought forth out of its midst.
Eze 11:8 You have feared the sword; and I will bring the sword on you, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 11:9 I will bring you forth out of its midst, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you.
Eze 11:10 You shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and you shall know that I am Yahweh.
Eze 11:11 This city shall not be your caldron, neither shall you be the flesh in its midst; I will judge you in the border of Israel;
Eze 11:12 and you shall know that I am Yahweh: for you have not walked in my statutes, neither have you executed my ordinances, but have done after the ordinances of the nations that are around you.
Eze 11:13 It happened, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then fell I down on my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord Yahweh! will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?
Eze 11:14 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 11:15 Son of man, your brothers, even your brothers, the men of your relatives, and all the house of Israel, all of them, are they to whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from Yahweh; to us is this land given for a possession.
Eze 11:16 Therefore say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Whereas I have removed them far off among the nations, and whereas I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them a sanctuary for a little while in the countries where they are come.
Eze 11:17 Therefore say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
Eze 11:18 They shall come there, and they shall take away all the detestable things of it and all its abominations from there.
Eze 11:19 I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh;
Eze 11:20 that they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Eze 11:21 But as for them whose heart walks after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their way on their own heads, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 11:22 Then did the cherubim lift up their wings, and the wheels were beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
Eze 11:23 The glory of Yahweh went up from the midst of the city, and stood on the mountain which is on the east side of the city.
Eze 11:24 The Spirit lifted me up, and brought me in the vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me.
Eze 11:25 Then I spoke to them of the captivity all the things that Yahweh had shown me.

Eze 12:1 The word of Yahweh also came to me, saying,
Eze 12:2 Son of man, you dwell in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see, and don't see, who have ears to hear, and don't hear; for they are a rebellious house.
Eze 12:3 Therefore, you son of man, prepare you stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and you shall remove from your place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they are a rebellious house.
Eze 12:4 You shall bring forth your stuff by day in their sight, as stuff for removing; and you shall go forth yourself at even in their sight, as when men go forth into exile.
Eze 12:5 Dig you through the wall in their sight, and carry out thereby.
Eze 12:6 In their sight you shall bear it on your shoulder, and carry it forth in the dark; you shall cover your face, that you don't see the land: for I have set you for a sign to the house of Israel.
Eze 12:7 I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for removing, and in the even I dug through the wall with my hand; I brought it forth in the dark, and bore it on my shoulder in their sight.
Eze 12:8 In the morning came the word of Yahweh to me, saying,
Eze 12:9 Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, What do you?
Eze 12:10 Say you to them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: This burden concerns the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel among whom they are.
Eze 12:11 Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall go into exile, into captivity.
Eze 12:12 The prince who is among them shall bear on his shoulder in the dark, and shall go forth: they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby: he shall cover his face, because he shall not see the land with his eyes.
Eze 12:13 My net also will I spread on him, and he shall be taken in my snare; and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.
Eze 12:14 I will scatter toward every wind all who are around him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them.
Eze 12:15 They shall know that I am Yahweh, when I shall disperse them among the nations, and scatter them through the countries.
Eze 12:16 But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the nations where they come; and they shall know that I am Yahweh.
Eze 12:17 Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 12:18 Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and with fearfulness;
Eze 12:19 and tell the people of the land, Thus says the Lord Yahweh concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with fearfulness, and drink their water in dismay, that her land may be desolate, and despoiled of all that is therein, because of the violence of all those who dwell therein.
Eze 12:20 The cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be a desolation; and you shall know that I am Yahweh.
Eze 12:21 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 12:22 Son of man, what is this proverb that you have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision fails?
Eze 12:23 Tell them therefore, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but tell them, The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision.
Eze 12:24 For there shall be no more any false vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel.
Eze 12:25 For I am Yahweh; I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall be performed; it shall be no more deferred: for in your days, rebellious house, will I speak the word, and will perform it, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 12:26 Again the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 12:27 Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he sees is for many day to come, and he prophesies of times that are far off.
Eze 12:28 Therefore tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: There shall none of my words be deferred any more, but the word which I shall speak shall be performed, says the Lord Yahweh.

Nov. 29
James 2

Jas 2:1 My brothers, don't hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality.
Jas 2:2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in;
Jas 2:3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, "Sit here in a good place;" and you tell the poor man, "Stand there," or "Sit by my footstool;"
Jas 2:4 haven't you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
Jas 2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn't God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him?
Jas 2:6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Don't the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts?
Jas 2:7 Don't they blaspheme the honorable name by which you are called?
Jas 2:8 However, if you fulfill the royal law, according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well.
Jas 2:9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors.
Jas 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
Jas 2:11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not commit murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
Jas 2:12 So speak, and so do, as men who are to be judged by a law of freedom.
Jas 2:13 For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Jas 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?
Jas 2:15 And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food,
Jas 2:16 and one of you tells them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled;" and yet you didn't give them the things the body needs, what good is it?
Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself.
Jas 2:18 Yes, a man will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
Jas 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder.
Jas 2:20 But do you want to know, vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?
Jas 2:21 Wasn't Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
Jas 2:22 You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected;
Jas 2:23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness;" and he was called the friend of God.
Jas 2:24 You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith.
Jas 2:25 In like manner wasn't Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way?
Jas 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

Ruth: Ruth's tender Plea 3:1-18, Mark Copeland

                           "THE BOOK OF RUTH"

         Ruth's Tender Plea:  "Take Your Maidservant" (3:1-18)


1. So far our study in the book of Ruth has revealed...
   a. Ruth's noble choice:  "I will go..." - Ru 1:1-22
      1) Expressing great love for her mother-in-law, Naomi
      2) Willing to forego home and religion, and adopt Israel and the
         true God
   b. Ruth's lowly service:  "Let me glean..." - Ru 2:1-23
      1) Exercising her right as a widow to glean after the reapers
         during the harvest
      2) Providing sustenance for herself and her mother-in-law

2. Our previous study reviewed how Ruth came to meet Boaz...
   a. Ruth "happened" to be gleaning in the field of Boaz - Ru 2:1-3
   b. Boaz inquired of his workers about the strange woman - Ru 2:4-5
   c. Learning Ruth's identity, Boaz encouraged her to continue - Ru
   d. Ruth was permitted to glean in the fields of Boaz throughout the
      harvest - Ru 2:21
   e. Naomi was thrilled, because Boaz was a close relative - Ru 2:20

[With advice from her mother-in-law, Ruth will make a "tender plea" that
will prompt Boaz to fulfill an obligation that was due the family of
Elimelech.  Thus chapter three begins with...]


      1. Naomi loves her daughter-in-law as a daughter - Ru 3:1
      2. Naomi is concerned for Ruth's security and well-being - Ru 3:1
         a. Security (rest, KJV) implies benefits found in marriage
            - cf. Ru 1:9
         b. It was customary for parents to arrange marriages - cf. Judg

      1. Boaz, with whose women Ruth gleaned in the fields, was a
         relative - Ru 3:2
         a. He could fulfill the levirate law of marriage - cf. Deut
         b. Perhaps Naomi had interpreted his kindness as interest in
      2. Boaz would be winnowing barley at the threshing floor - Ru 3:2
         a. Threshing floors were located on a hill; this one outside
            the city - cf. Ru 3:15
         b. Naomi knew that Boaz would spend the night there - cf. Ru

      1. Ruth is told to wash, anoint herself, and put on her best
         garment - Ru 3:3
      2. Ruth is told to wait until Boaz has eaten and fallen asleep
         - Ru 3:-4
      3. Ruth is told to uncover Boaz' feet and lie down, and await his
         response - Ru 3:4
         a. Some interpret "uncover his feet" and "lie down" as
            euphemisms for sexual activity - cf. Eze 16:25 (KJV); Gen
         b. Yet for Naomi to encourage Ruth to commit such an act of
            boldness and immorality is completely counter to what we
            know of Ruth - cf. Ru 3:11
         c. The actual text suggests that nothing indecent happened
            - cf. Ru 3:7-8

[Ruth consents to follow the advice given by Naomi (Ru 3:5), and so we
read of...]


      1. Ruth goes down to the threshing floor - Ru 3:6
      2. Ruth does according to her mother-in-law's instructions - Ru
         a. She waits until Boaz had eaten and gone to sleep - Ru 3:7
         b. She softly uncovers his feet and lies down - Ru 3:7

      1. At midnight Boaz is startled by a woman lying at his feet - Ru
      2. Upon inquiry, Ruth identifies herself and makes her plea - Ru
         a. "Take your maidservant under your wing"
            1) Or "spread your cloak over your maid" (NRSV)
            2) In that region, a symbolic action denoting protection,
               marriage (JFB)
         b. "For you are a close relative (near kinsman)"
            1) He could fulfill the levirate law of marriage - cf. Deut
            2) But he was not the nearest of kin - cf. Ru 3:12

      1. Boaz is grateful for her kindness - Ru 3:10
         a. She showed more kindness at the end than at the beginning
         b. In that she did not just go after any young man (implying
            that Boaz was older)
      2. Boaz is concerned about preserving her honor - Ru 3:11-14
         a. He would fulfill her request, for everyone knows of her
         b. Yet there was a kinsman nearer to her than he
            1) Boaz must give him the opportunity to do his duty
            2) Boaz swears to perform the duty, if the other person does
         c. Boaz preserves her reputation
            1) By having her stay until morning, rather than leaving
               during the night
            2) By instructing his workers to tell no one
      3. Boaz gives Ruth six ephahs of barley - Ruth 3:15
         a. So she might not go empty-handed to her mother-in-law - cf.
            Ru 3:17
         b. The significance of this gift is uncertain
            1) A gift of grain as the bridal price?
            2) A message intended for Naomi, recognizing her part or to
               secure her consent?
            3) A "cover" for Ruth, should anyone see her, implying that
               she had been at work
               gathering grain?
            4) Simply a gift from a man for the woman he hoped to marry?

[With such a large gift in hand...]


      1. Ruth tells all that Boaz had done for her - Ru 3:16
      2. Ruth explains the six ephahs of barley - Ru 3:17

      1. To wait to see how things turn out - Ru 3:18
      2. Confident that Boaz will act immediately - Ru 3:18


1. It is tempting to caricature Naomi as a "matchmaker"...
   a. She certainly had given her plan some thought
   b. She correctly anticipated Boaz' response
   -- But it was definitely "a risky proposition" that could have easily
      gone awry!

2. Scholars debate whether anything improper took place between Ruth and
   Boaz; I appreciate the following observation:

   "Those who interpret a sexual relation in the events reflect their
   twentieth-century cultural conditioning of sexual permissiveness.
   They fail to appreciate the element of Ruth's trust that Boaz would
   not dishonor her whom he wanted for his wife. They fail to appreciate
   the cultural taboos of Ruth's time that would have prevented a man of
   Boaz's position from taking advantage of Ruth, thereby destroying her
   reputation and perhaps endangering his own.  Biblical writers were
   not squeamish about describing sexual encounters, but the writer of
   Ruth has deliberately refrained from saying there was a liaison
   between Ruth and Boaz.  If read carefully and with sensitivity, it
   becomes clear that he was saying just the opposite.  Both Ruth and
   Boaz acted virtuously in a situation they knew could have turned out
   otherwise.  Chastity was not an unknown virtue in the ancient world."
   - F. B. Huey, Jr. (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

3. Again we are struck by the noble character of Boaz...
   a. We saw his kindness and sense of propriety in the previous chapter
   b. We see his kindness and concern for duty and reputation in this

The integrity of Boaz made it possible for Naomi to plan her "risky
proposition" with a strong likelihood that he would respond in the
proper manner.  The benefit of having integrity is that people know how
we will respond in a given situation.

Would we have responded like Boaz...?