"THE BOOK OF RUTH" Ruth's Lowly Service: "Let Me Glean" (2:1-23) INTRODUCTION 1. In our previous study, we saw how Ruth came to be the daughter-in-law to Naomi... a. The journey to Moab of Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons b. The death of Elimelech, and marriages of the sons to Naomi and Orpah c. The deaths of the sons, and Naomi's return to Judah accompanied by Ruth 2. We noticed the "noble choice" that was made by Ruth... a. To leave her home and religion of Moab b. To adopt Naomi's home and God as her own - cf. Ru 1:16-17 3. Noteworthy throughout this story is the filial devotion Ruth has toward her mother-in-law... a. We saw it in her "noble choice" b. We will see it again in her "lowly service" [The chapter begins where the previous one ended: at the time of the barley harvest. In such a setting we read how...] I. RUTH GLEANS IN THE FIELDS OF BOAZ A. RUTH REQUESTS TO GLEAN IN THE FIELDS... 1. We are introduced to Boaz - Ru 2:1 a. A relative of Naomi's husband, Elimelech b. A man of great wealth 2. Ruth gains permission from Naomi to let her glean - Ru 2:2 a. Hoping to find favor (kindness) from a landowner 1) The Law forbid owners from reaping the corners and gathering the gleanings of the harvest - cf. Lev 19:9-10 2) In this way God provided for strangers, the fatherless, and widows - Deut 24:19-22 b. Perhaps not all land owners respected this law 1) Especially toward "strangers" 2) We are reminded eight times in this book that Ruth was a "Moabitess" 3. Ruth "happened" to come upon the field belonging to Boaz - Ru 2:3 a. Gleaning after the reapers, as the Law allowed b. She "happened" to come to the field belonging to Boaz 1) The word suggests it was by "chance", which may how it first appeared 2) The overall context of the book reveals it was by "providence" B. BOAZ INQUIRES ABOUT THE WOMAN IN THE FIELDS... 1. We see the respect between Boaz and his workers - Ru 2:4 a. He entreats the Lord's presence upon them b. They bid the Lord's blessing upon him 2. Boaz asks his foreman about the strange woman - Ru 2:5-7 a. Who relates her Moabite background, and her relation to Naomi b. Who recounts her request to glean, and her diligent labor [With Boaz now aware of Ruth's identity, we next learn how...] II. BOAZ EXTENDS KINDNESS TO RUTH A. HIS INITIAL KINDNESS... 1. Boaz encourages her to glean in his field alone - Ru 2:8-9 a. To stay by his young women b. To know that his young men have been commanded not to touch her c. To drink when thirsty the water drawn by the young men 2. Ruth inquires why he is so kind to her, a foreigner - Ru 2:10-12 a. Boaz has heard of her devotion to Naomi, and her "noble choice" b. Boaz prays the Lord will bless her in return for seeking His refuge 3. Ruth is comforted by his kindness - Ru 2:13 a. She hopes to continue to find favor in his sight b. For his kindness toward one who is not one of his maidservants B. HIS EXTENDED KINDNESS... 1. Shown to her at the noon mealtime - Ru 2:14 a. Inviting her to eat with the rest of the workers b. Passing roasted grain over for her to eat 2. Shown by the instructions given to his young men - Ru 2:15-16 a. To let her glean even among the sheaves without reproach b. To purposely let stalks fall from the bundles for her to glean 3. Allowing her to reap an ephah (about 30-50 pounds) of barley - Ru 2:17 a. A rather large amount for someone to glean from scraps! b. But then she had a lot of help from the "clumsy" workers! [At the end of the day, Ruth returns back to the city where...] III. NAOMI RESPONDS WITH GREAT JOY A. RUTH SHARES HER PRODUCE WITH NAOMI... 1. Ruth shows her mother-in-law what she gleaned - Ru 2:18 2. Ruth gives Naomi her excess grain - Ru 2:18 B. NAOMI REJOICES OVER GOD'S KINDNESS... 1. In response to Naomi's questions, Ruth tells her about Boaz - Ru 2:19 2. Naomi blesses the Lord - Ru 2:20 a. For His kindness to the living and the dead b. For Boaz is a close relative (who would have a duty to preserve the name of a dead relative) c. Note the contrast to her earlier feelings - cf. Ru 1:13,20, 21 C. NAOMI COUNSELS RUTH TO CONTINUE... 1. Ruth tells of Boaz' instructions to continue gleaning among his workers - Ru 2:21 2. Naomi encourages her to stay with the women laborers in Boaz' field - Ru 2:22 3. Which Ruth does until the end of the harvest, while living with Naomi - Ru 2:23 CONCLUSION 1. In this chapter we have seen two noteworthy examples of righteous character... a. Ruth's humility and willingness to minister to the needs of her mother-in-law b. Boaz' kindness and sense of propriety in his treatment of the foreign woman in his field 2. We also saw Naomi's faith in God's care reassured... a. Even though she believed her earlier loss was due to God's discipline b. She was convinced that God had not forsaken His kindness to the living and dead In this story of "Ruth's Lowly Service," we also see another truth displayed, that God gives grace to the humble: "Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to [your] elders. Yes, all of [you] be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1Pe 5:5-7) Are we willing to render lowly service to those around us, humbling ourselves before God?
En-Gedi Scrolls and the Accuracy of the Bible
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Any honest person who has studied the process of how ancient books have come down to us in modern times knows this remarkable fact: the Bible is the most accurately transmitted book in the history of the world. Skeptics and those of other religions (such as Islam) often attempt to cast doubt on the biblical text by claiming that the words that were in the originals have been lost over thousands of years of copying. This accusation is patently false. The accurate and meticulous transmission of the 66 books we call the Bible is nothing short of divine. To document this truth would take entire volumes of thousands of pages each, which has been done, but we have no room to repeat it here. One good summary article of that vast research is the AP article “3 Good Reasons to Believe the Bible Has Not Been Corrupted.”1
One astounding fact about the Bible’s transmission is that new information continues to come to light, silencing the skeptic, and bolstering an already irrefutable case. One such discovery was made in 1970 near the area where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. A group of scrolls known as the En-Gedi scrolls came to light, but were badly damaged by fire and were unreadable with the technology available at the time.2 While the dating methods used to date the scrolls are not completely reliable, experts place the date of the writing near A.D. 300. That means the scrolls predate the Masoretic Text from which the King James Version was translated by about 500 years.
By using technology known as volume cartology, computer scientist Brent Seales and others were able to “map” the text and identify the writing. When they did, they found an ancient Hebrew text that coincided perfectly with the Masoretic Text of Leviticus 1:1-8. Newitz wrote:
What’s incredible about these chapters, according to archaeologist Emanuel Tov, is that they are virtually identical to the medieval Masoretic Text, written hundreds of years later. The En-Gedi scroll even duplicates the exact paragraph breaks seen later in the medieval Hebrew. The only difference between the two is that ancient Hebrew had no vowels, so these were added in the Middle Ages.3
Were this situation to have occurred with some other ancient text (such as the Quran or even the texts of ancient writers such as Herodotus or Thucydides), scholars would hail the event as unprecedented. In truth, however, this is a “run-of-the-mill” normal occurrence for the biblical text. The accusation that the biblical text has been miscopied or corrupted, in light of such evidence as the En-Gedi scrolls, is vacuous and unsustainable.
Emanuel Tov went on to say this about the En-Gedi text: “[It is] 100 percent identical with the medieval texts, both in its consonants and in its paragraph divisions…. [T]he scroll brings us the good news that the ancient source of the medieval text did not change for 2,000 years.” Newitz added, “In other words, the Jewish community managed to retain some of the exact wording in passages from their biblical texts over centuries, despite massive cultural upheavals and changes to their languages.”4
Indeed, such text preservation is unparalleled when compared to all other ancient documents in the world. We should recognize and appreciate the Providential care by which the biblical text has come down to us. And we should let that knowledge spur us on to study the Holy Bible, knowing that the words we read are those that God inspired.
1 Dave Miller (2015), “3 Good Reasons to Believe the Bible Has Not Been Corrupted,” Reason & Revelation, 35:86-89,92, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=5196&topic=103. For more extensive information, see Neil Lightfoot (2003), How We Got the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), third edition.
2 Annalee Newitz, “One of the World’s Oldest Biblical Texts Read for the First Time,” https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/09/scholars-use-x-rays-to-read-ancient-biblical-text-for-the-first-time/.
Elisha and the Lads of Bethel
|by||Wayne Jackson, M.A.|
In 2 Kings 2, forty-two boys made fun of Elisha for being bald. The prophet then called bears out of the woods to attack the boys as punishment for their disrespect. Isn’t this morally evil—for God’s representative to take vengeance on these boys for such an insignificant thing?
In the book of 2 Kings, there is an intriguing narrative that has generated considerable controversy. Concerning the prophet Elisha, the text reads as follows.
And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them (2 Kings 2:23-24).
Atheists have appealed to this incident in an attempt to involve the Bible in moral difficulty. A careful consideration of the facts, however, will dissolve the problem.
First, the translation, “there came forth little children out of the city” (KJV) is an unfortunate rendition (cf. “young lads”—ASV, or “youths”—NIV, NKJV). The Hebrew word rendered “children” derives from na’ar—used 235 times in the Old Testament. Na’ar is a very broad root word, and can have reference to anyone from a newborn child to an adult. Further, the Hebrew word rendered “little” comes from qatan, and generally means young or small. In commenting on this term in 2 Kings 2:23, the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament remarked:
Elisha being taunted (cf. qalas, qarah) by young lads (perhaps teen-age ruffians) (II Kgs 2:23) who as members of covenant families ought to have been taught God’s law whereby cursing his servant was tantamount to cursing him and rightly punishable by death (qalal) (Harris, et al., 1980, 2:795).
Obviously, therefore, the immediate context in which na’ar is used will determine the maturity of the subject so designated.
Second, the young men of Bethel mocked Elisha. The Hebrew word qalas means to scoff at, ridicule, or scorn. The term does not suggest innocent conduct. Note the Lord’s comment elsewhere: “They mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of Jehovah arose against his people, till there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:16).
Too, the expression, “Go up...Go up,” is held by many scholars to reflect the wish of these young men that the prophet go ahead and ascend (as did Elijah—2 Kings 2:11), i.e., leave the Earth, that they might be rid of him! Also, the taunt, “thou bald head,” was likely a reproach. Old Testament scholar John Whitcomb has suggested that this was an expression “of extreme contempt. They were pronouncing a divine curse upon him, for which baldness was often the outward sign (cf. Isaiah 3:17a,24)” (1971, p. 68).
Third, when it is said that Elisha “cursed them,” there is no implication of profanity (as our modern word suggests), nor was this a venting of passion for personal revenge. Holy men of God sometimes were empowered with divine authority to pronounce an impending judgment upon rebellious persons (cf. Genesis 9:25, 49:7, Deuteronomy 27:15ff., and Joshua 6:26). Christ uttered a curse upon the barren fig tree (Mark 11:21) as an object lesson of the doom that was to be visited upon Jerusalem. Also, it is stated clearly that Elisha’s curse upon them was “in the name of the Lord,” meaning by “divine appointment, inspiration, authority” (see Orr, 1956, 4:2112).
Fourth, the tragedy that befell these young men obviously was of divine design. Elisha, as a mere man, would have no power to call forth wild animals out of the woods merely at his bidding. But the sovereignty of Jehovah over the animal kingdom frequently is affirmed in the Scriptures. God sent fiery serpents to bite the Israelites (Numbers 21:6); the Lord slew a disobedient young prophet by means of a lion (1 Kings 13:24ff.); yet, He shut the lions’ mouths to protect Daniel (Daniel 6:22). He prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah (Jonah 1:17), and guided one to Peter’s hook (Matthew 17:24ff.). Clearly, therefore, it was Jehovah who brought those bears out of the forest.
Additionally, if, when the divine record says that the bears “tare” the lads, it means they were killed (and not all scholars are sure that death is indicated), then it was a divine punishment. As Alfred Edersheim has written: “[I]t should be noticed that it was not Elisha who slew those forty-two youths, but the Lord in His Providence, just as it had been Jehovah, not the prophet, who had healed the waters of Jericho” (n.d., 6:107).
It is the general view of conservative Bible scholars that the young men of Bethel likely were idolaters whose reproaches upon Elisha were expressions of contempt for his prophetic office, and thus, ultimately directed at the God Whom he served. Thus, their punishment was a divine judgment intended to serve as a dramatic example in horribly wicked times.
Edersheim, Albert (no date), The Bible History—Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Harris, R.L., G.L. Archer, and B.K. Waltke (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Orr, James, ed. (1956), International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Whitcomb, John C. (1971), Solomon to the Exile (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Don't Worry, Be Happy
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
It certainly would not single-handedly prove the Bible’s inspiration if we could show that it is filled with practical advice that is time-tested and true. However, it would add considerable weight to the overall case of biblical inspiration if several such pieces of proverbial wisdom could be discovered. One of those can be found in Matthew 6:25, a passage in which Jesus said, “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?”
Worry has consistently been one of society’s most plaguing problems. It has caused countless costs in the healthcare profession. It has crippled the effectiveness of Christians. Worry has retarded growth in family, led to the premature deaths of loved ones, destroyed businesses, and separated souls from God. Surely, worry can’t be that destructive, some might say. However, in an amazing book titled None of These Diseases, medical doctors S.I. McMillen and David E. Stern brought to light the fact that worrying and stress do cause major problems.
On pages 175-177 of their book, they included a partial list of conditions that are caused or worsened by worry and stress. Among those are infertility, suicide, lung cancer, breast cancer (or cancer of many types), anorexia, heart attacks, and strokes.
The negative effects of worry on the human body have been known for many years. The Great Physician’s prescription for a worry-free life was, and is, “just what the doctor ordered” for good health—physical, emotional, and spiritual.
McMillen, S.I. and David Stern (2000), None of These Diseases (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell), third edition.
IF YOU FORGIVE THE SINS...? BY STEVE FINNELL
Did Jesus give Peter and the apostles the authority to forgive individuals of their sins before and after they became Christians? Do contemporary pastors and priests have the authority to forgive Christians of their sins? The answer is no, no, and no.
ONLY GOD FORGIVES SINS
Mark 2:1-7....... "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone.(NASB)
Jesus was God on earth, He had the authority to forgive sins. The apostles were not God on earth. Contemporary pastors and priest are not God on earth. For anyone other than God to claim they have the authority to forgive sin is blasphemous.
Isaiah 43:15-25 "I am the Lord, your Holy One.....25 "I even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.(NASB)
No preachers, pastors, apostles, nor priests can wipe out transgressions. Only God forgives sin.
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like You who pardons iniquity...(NASB)
The apostle Peter nor any apostle had the power to pardon sins. There is not an example in the New Testament Scriptures where any apostle said to an individual nor a group of people I forgive you of your sins.
Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 16:9) Jesus not give Peter and the apostles the authority to grant forgiveness to men. Only God forgives sin.
Peter used the keys on the Day of Pentecost. The keys were faith, repentance, and immersions in water. (Acts 2:22-41)
Peter did not say I or we the apostles forgive you of your sins against God, nor did he say that to anyone Christians subsequently. [Terms of pardon:FAITH John 3:16, REPENTANCE Acts 3:19, CONFESSION Romans 10:9, IMMERSION IN WATER Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16]
There is no Scriptures that teaches that apostles, preachers, pastors, priests, nor the church as the power of absolution. Only God forgives sin.
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;(NASB)
The apostle John did not tell those in the body of Christ to ask for absolution for theirs sins by asking the church, the priest nor the pastor to grant them forgiveness from their sins against God.
ONLY GOD FORGIVES SINS!
We know that, John 20:23, does not mean the apostles, priests, pastors, nor the church has the authority to forgive men of their sins against God.
Teaching the gospel plan of salvation to men does not mean the teacher has the authority to forgive sin.
Praying for fellow church members does not mean that the one who prays has the authority to forgive sins.
“They did not receive the love of the truth”
Someone who does not like the truth, cannot love the Source of truth.
God is the God of truth.
“The truth of the LORD endures for ever!” (Psalm 117:2). “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (Psalm 31:5). How can someone who does not like the truth, love the God of truth?
Jesus is the truth.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). How can someone who does not like the truth, love the Son of God? “If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed” (1 Corinthians 16:22).
When Pilate stood before Christ and asked about His kingdom, Jesus explained: “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate responded, “What is truth?” (John 18:37, 38).
They who are “of the truth” listen to the truth because they love the truth.
God’s word is the truth.
“The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160).
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
“The word of truth” is the gospel of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13). “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18). How can someone who does not like the truth, value the word of God?
Someone who does not like the truth, prefers something false.
The unrighteous suppress the truth.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). “Men of corrupt minds” “resist the truth” (2 Timothy 3:8).
Some pretend that truth does not exist.
In our schizophrenic ‘post-modern’ age, many deny that truth can be known or even that truth exists. (Schizophrenic, because they are absolutely sure that they cannot be sure about anything!)
Jesus said something different: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
People deny the truth because they want to escape from the truth. They will be lost unless they repent. Paul tells us to correct “those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25). God wants everyone “to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
Some want to “adapt” the gospel to the “post-modern age.” The gospel does not need to be adapted, it just needs to be preached. Post-modernists are dead wrong. They need to repent and accept the truth.
All who do not love the truth will be lost.
Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, explains that people perish when they do not love the truth.
At Thessalonica Christians were being persecuted. Paul assures them that it is “a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).
Paul affirms that God’s eternal punishment of “those who do not know God” and of “those who do not obey the gospel” “is a righteous thing.”
Paul then discusses “the mystery of lawlessness” and why many are deceived by “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” “the lawless one” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8).
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10).
“Love of the truth” is essential. All who reject the truth will be lost.
Truth is exclusive. The sum of two plus two is four. No other answer is correct. The number of incorrect answers is unlimited. When someone rejects the truth, the only alternative is to accept something false.
Because they do not love the truth, “God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12 ESV). Love “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).
People refuse to believe the truth because they enjoy unrighteousness. They reject the truth because they prefer falsehood. “A strong delusion” sent by God enables them to believe a lie that leads to condemnation.
Sometimes people who do not love God like to listen to God’s word with no intention of obeying it. God told Ezekiel: “So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them” (Ezekiel 33:31, 32).
They listened to Ezekiel for entertainment. It helped them pretend that they loved God.False teaching tests our love for the truth.
Satan empowers the lawless one to work “signs, and lying wonders” to deceive those who do not love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10).
God allows this as a test to reveal who really loves Him. "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ - which you have not known - ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).
Someone who loves the truth, relies on God’s word for instruction: “And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:19, 20). Peter gives the same charge: “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).
Someone who loves God does not listen to false teachers. He knows they are false, he knows “there is no light in them” because their words contradict the word of God: they do not “speak according to this word,” they do not “speak as the oracles of God.”
Jesus, comparing Himself to a shepherd, explains: “the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:4, 5).
Paul warns: “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
Love for the truth leads to salvation.
The saved believe and obey the truth.
We are chosen for salvation “through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). “In obeying the truth” our souls are purified (1 Peter 1:22).
The church of Christ is the pillar of the truth.
“I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
They who love the truth, proclaim the truth.
Some religious leaders try to please men rather than God. They are entertainers rather than sound preachers of the truth.
Paul warned: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3, 4).
Timothy was given a solemn charge: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
I once heard Marshall Keeble explain: “‘In season and out of season’ means you preach it if they like it, and you preach it if they don’t!”
A preacher’s job is to tell people what God says, to “preach the word.” God told Ezekiel: “I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD’” (Ezekiel 3:4); “You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse” (Ezekiel 2:7).
The truth is powerful!
“The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The power is in the word, not in the eloquence of man. God’s word convicts men of sin, and changes lives when heard by people who love God and the truth.
Many years ago I reprimanded a former classmate because in a recorded sermon he had not quoted or alluded to a single scripture! He explained that he was speaking to unbelievers so did not think they would be interested in what the Bible said!
Paul said something different: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Once when visiting relatives in Abilene, Texas, they invited us to a special service on the ACU campus. Many congregations had dismissed Sunday-evening service so members could attend. Some 10,000 were assembled to hear a popular speaker.
He confided that on a Dallas golf course the day before, when a friend asked what he was going to speak about in Abilene, he told him that he did not know yet.
During his 45-minute discourse, he quoted a total of eight words of Scripture, which he misapplied. What was his theme? He told us how great the congregation was for which he preached.
What a wasted opportunity! If someone like Marshall Keeble had spoken, someone who preached the gospel powerfully and without compromise, “if they like it or if they don’t.” No doubt among 10,000, some would not have liked it. But lovers of truth would have been moved by the power of the gospel to give or rededicate their lives to God.
Do we love the truth?
Much depends upon it: our eternal destiny in heaven or hell. Let us love the truth, learn the truth, believe the truth and obey the truth so we can be saved by the God of truth through His Son who is the way, the truth and the life. Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
Bible Reading October 2, 3
World English Bible
Psa 125:1 Those who trust in Yahweh are as Mount Zion, which can't be moved, but remains forever.
Psa 125:2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so Yahweh surrounds his people from this time forth and forevermore.
Psa 125:3 For the scepter of wickedness won't remain over the allotment of the righteous; so that the righteous won't use their hands to do evil.
Psa 125:4 Do good, Yahweh, to those who are good, to those who are upright in their hearts.
Psa 125:5 But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways, Yahweh will lead them away with the workers of iniquity. Peace be on Israel.
Psa 126:1 When Yahweh brought back those who returned to Zion, we were like those who dream.
Psa 126:2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, "Yahweh has done great things for them."
Psa 126:3 Yahweh has done great things for us, and we are glad.
Psa 126:4 Restore our fortunes again, Yahweh, like the streams in the Negev.
Psa 126:5 Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.
Psa 126:6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed for sowing, will certainly come again with joy, carrying his sheaves.
Psa 127:1 Unless Yahweh builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless Yahweh watches over the city, the watchman guards it in vain.
Psa 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to stay up late, eating the bread of toil; for he gives sleep to his loved ones.
Psa 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage of Yahweh. The fruit of the womb is his reward.
Psa 127:4 As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of youth.
Psa 127:5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. They won't be disappointed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
Psa 128:1 Blessed is everyone who fears Yahweh, who walks in his ways.
Psa 128:2 For you will eat the labor of your hands. You will be happy, and it will be well with you.
Psa 128:3 Your wife will be as a fruitful vine, in the innermost parts of your house; your children like olive plants, around your table.
Psa 128:4 Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears Yahweh.
Psa 128:5 May Yahweh bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
Psa 128:6 Yes, may you see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel.
Psa 129:1 Many times they have afflicted me from my youth up. Let Israel now say,
Psa 129:2 many times they have afflicted me from my youth up, yet they have not prevailed against me.
Psa 129:3 The plowers plowed on my back. They made their furrows long.
Psa 129:4 Yahweh is righteous. He has cut apart the cords of the wicked.
Psa 129:5 Let them be disappointed and turned backward, all those who hate Zion.
Psa 129:6 Let them be as the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up;
Psa 129:7 with which the reaper doesn't fill his hand, nor he who binds sheaves, his bosom.
Psa 129:8 Neither do those who go by say, "The blessing of Yahweh be on you. We bless you in the name of Yahweh."
Psa 130:1 Out of the depths I have cried to you, Yahweh.
Psa 130:2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my petitions.
Psa 130:3 If you, Yah, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?
Psa 130:4 But there is forgiveness with you, therefore you are feared.
Psa 130:5 I wait for Yahweh. My soul waits. I hope in his word.
Psa 130:6 My soul longs for the Lord more than watchmen long for the morning; more than watchmen for the morning.
Psa 130:7 Israel, hope in Yahweh, for with Yahweh there is loving kindness. With him is abundant redemption.
Psa 130:8 He will redeem Israel from all their sins.
2 Corinthians 12
2Co 12:1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. For I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2Co 12:2 I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I don't know, or whether out of the body, I don't know; God knows), such a one caught up into the third heaven.
2Co 12:3 I know such a man (whether in the body, or outside of the body, I don't know; God knows),
2Co 12:4 how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
2Co 12:5 On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in my weaknesses.
2Co 12:6 For if I would desire to boast, I will not be foolish; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, so that no man may think more of me than that which he sees in me, or hears from me.
2Co 12:7 By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted excessively, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, that I should not be exalted excessively.
2Co 12:8 Concerning this thing, I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9 He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong.
2Co 12:11 I have become foolish in boasting. You compelled me, for I ought to have been commended by you, for in nothing was I inferior to the very best apostles, though I am nothing.
2Co 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were worked among you in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty works.
2Co 12:13 For what is there in which you were made inferior to the rest of the assemblies, unless it is that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong.
2Co 12:14 Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I seek not your possessions, but you. For the children ought not to save up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
2Co 12:15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more abundantly, am I loved the less?
2Co 12:16 But be it so, I did not myself burden you. But, being crafty, I caught you with deception.
2Co 12:17 Did I take advantage of you by anyone of them whom I have sent to you?
2Co 12:18 I exhorted Titus, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take any advantage of you? Didn't we walk in the same spirit? Didn't we walk in the same steps?
2Co 12:19 Again, do you think that we are excusing ourselves to you? In the sight of God we speak in Christ. But all things, beloved, are for your edifying.
2Co 12:20 For I am afraid that by any means, when I come, I might find you not the way I want to, and that I might be found by you as you don't desire; that by any means there would be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, whisperings, proud thoughts, riots;
2Co 12:21 that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness and sexual immorality and lustfulness which they committed.
2 Corinthians 13
2Co 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. "At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."
2Co 13:2 I have said beforehand, and I do say beforehand, as when I was present the second time, so now, being absent, I write to those who have sinned before now, and to all the rest, that, if I come again, I will not spare;
2Co 13:3 seeing that you seek a proof of Christ who speaks in me; who toward you is not weak, but is powerful in you.
2Co 13:4 For he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives through the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we will live with him through the power of God toward you.
2Co 13:5 Test your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or don't you know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified.
2Co 13:6 But I hope that you will know that we aren't disqualified.
2Co 13:7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we may appear approved, but that you may do that which is honorable, though we are as reprobate.
2Co 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
2Co 13:9 For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. And this we also pray for, even your perfecting.
2Co 13:10 For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not deal sharply when present, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for tearing down.
2Co 13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2Co 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
2Co 13:13 All the saints greet you.
2Co 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.