Handfuls of Purpose

“And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.” (Ruth 2:16)

This verse contains the unusual instruction of Boaz to his servants concerning Ruth after she asked if she could glean after the reapers in his field of barley. Not only did Boaz allow her to do so but also commanded his servants to “let fall some of the handfuls of purpose” for her, thus making her task easier.

It is interesting that the same Hebrew word, basically meaning “take a spoil,” is used twice in this verse, once translated “let fall” and once as “of purpose.” The word for “handfuls,” used only this once in the Bible, evidently refers to a hand’s “grip.” Although all the translations seem to have difficulty with it, Boaz seems actually to be saying, in effect, to his servants: “Grab as though you were taking a spoil for her from the bundles of sheaves, and leave them as a spoil for her.” This was to be a deliberate and purposeful gift on Boaz’s part, but Ruth was not to know so that she could assume she had gleaned it all on her own.

Boaz, therefore, like his distant descendant (through his soon-to-be bride, Ruth) Jesus Christ, provided that which represented the bread of life as a gracious gift to his coming bride. In this, as in other ways, Boaz is a type of Christ and Ruth is a type of each believer destined for union with Him.

But the sheaves also represent the Word of God from which we daily can glean life-giving food for our souls. Our God has been pleased to leave us many “handfuls of purpose” along the way in the fruitful field of Scripture that we can stoop to gather as we go. Our heavenly “Boaz” has paid the price to take the spoil for us, but as we kneel down to glean each morsel, we “rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162). HMM

The Ability to Wait

Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.Revelation 22:12

When Jesus was on earth 2,000 years ago, He told His hearers that the “day of the Lord” was coming. He said no one except the Father in heaven knew the day or the hour.

It is our understanding that God’s patience and His time of grace will endure until the world’s cup of iniquity overflows. According to the Scriptures, patience—the ability to wait—is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

The human, natural part of us does not like to wait for anything. But the great God Almighty, who has all of eternity to accomplish His purposes, can afford to wait. In our creature impatience we are prone to cry out, “O God, how long? How long?”

And God replies, in effect, “Why are you in such a hurry? We have an eternity stretching before us.” JIV094

It is not enough merely to know that Christ is coming, and to desire it. It is a great crisis in the life of a soul when it becomes truly centered there. The attraction of the soul is removed from earth to the heavens and learns to live under the power of the world to come. HS360

The Young and the Old

I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.Acts 2:17

A barrier that went down in the upper room was that between the young and the old. Peter pointed out that what had happened in the upper room was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, in which the prophet had declared that the day would come when young and old alike would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “This is the day the prophet spoke about!” said Peter. “It’s arrived!”

“There has always been a sacred age,” said someone, “—old age.” In almost all religions, power and sanctity have been associated with the old. This is why many religions tend to be backward-looking rather than forward-looking. In the upper room there were young men (I think we can assume this) who received the gift of the Holy Spirit in the same way as their elders. What a dynamic this produced. Young and old, moving together in the power of the Spirit. The old would naturally want to conserve the values and good things they had come to love and respect, while the young would want to move these values into greater realms and make them more widely operative.

One writer said, “The Christian faith demands radicalism as well as conservatism to fully express itself.” Young and old combine to fully express the nature of the Christian faith, for conservatism or radicalism on their own are weak. Together, however, they become strong and powerful.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I am thankful that both young and old can be used in the kingdom. Blend the conservatism of the old with the radicalism of the young, so that this generation might see a new Pentecost. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

1Tm 4:12; 5; 1Jn 2:13-14; 1Pt 5:5; Rm 12:10

What was Paul teaching Timothy?

What does Paul mean, “Outdo one another in showing honor”?

Be Merciful!

“‘Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’”Matthew 18:33

Mercy is a gift. It is undeserved. Punishment and consequences are sin’s just reward, but the merciful person does not demand justice for the guilty person. If it were not for God’s mercy, we all would have faced His terrible judgment long ago. If not for His mercy, He would have condemned us after our first offense. If not for His mercy, He would punish us each time we sin. But rather than letting us bear the full punishment for our sin, God demonstrated His mercy when He paid the penalty for our sin Himself.

Do you find it hard to show mercy? It may be that you do not comprehend the mercy that God has shown to you. Jesus commanded His disciples to extend the same mercy to others that they had received from God. When they considered the incredible, undeserved mercy they had been granted, how could they refuse to extend the same unconditional mercy to others?

Could anyone sin against us to the same degree that we have sinned against God? Could any offense committed against us be as undeserved as the abuse hurled against the sinless Son of God? How quickly we forget the mercy that God graciously bestowed on us, only to focus on the injustices we endure from others!

If you find it difficult to forgive others, you may need to meditate on the mercy of God that prevents you from experiencing God’s justifiable wrath. Scripture describes God as “Ready to pardon, / Gracious and merciful, / Slow to anger, / Abundant in lovingkindness” (Neh. 9:17b).

VIDEO The Golden City

In My Father’s house are many mansions. John 14:2

Do you need to get away for a day or two of rest at a nice hotel? Try the Empathy Suite at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. It’s located on the thirty-fourth floor with two master bedrooms, stunning views, original works of art, 24-hour butler service, and a gym. At $100,000 per night (with a two-night minimum), it’s the most expensive hotel room in the world.[1]

Can’t afford it? If we can’t afford one night in a hotel in Las Vegas, how can we ever afford an eternal stay in the mansions of heaven?

By our own merits and righteousness, we cannot claim a single, solitary second in New Jerusalem—the city that truly glitters with glory. The cost of a place there is beyond anyone’s ability to pay, except for One—the Lord Jesus Christ, who shed His blood to secure your reservation.

Oh, how wonderful! Oh, how marvelous! We could never earn our way to heaven, but Christ’s death and resurrection made a way for us. Don’t miss it! Place your full faith in Christ today.

Las Vegas is a counterfeit version of the New Jerusalem. And it shares something of the glorious reality that it mocks. Richard J. Mouw


43116 = John 14:2 by Dr. J. Vernon McGee – Thru the Bible

Drastic Measures

The king . . . renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands. 2 Kings 23:3

The ornate ceremonial bow and quiver had hung on the wall of our home in Michigan for years. I’d inherited them from my father, who acquired the souvenirs while we were serving as missionaries in Ghana.

Then one day a Ghanaian friend visited us. When he saw the bow, he got a strange look on his face. Pointing to a small object tied to it he said, “That is a fetish—a magic charm. I know it has no power, but I would not keep it in my house.” Quickly we cut the charm from the bow and discarded it. We didn’t want anything in our home intended for the worship of something other than God.

Josiah, king in Jerusalem, grew up with little knowledge of God’s expectations for His people. When the high priest rediscovered the Book of the Law in the long-neglected temple (2 Kings 22:8), Josiah wanted to hear it. As soon as he learned what God had said about idolatry, he ordered sweeping changes to bring Judah into compliance with God’s law—changes far more drastic than merely cutting a charm from a bow (see 2 Kings 23:3–7).

Believers today have more than King Josiah did—much, much more. We have the entire Bible to instruct us. We have each other. And we have the vital filling of the Holy Spirit, who brings things to light, large and small, that we might otherwise overlook.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

Can you describe a time when a believer wisely pointed out a change you needed to make? What things in your life might be offensive to God?

Heavenly Father, by the work of the Holy Spirit, help me steer clear of anything that’s offensive to You.

Learn about leadership from the kings of Israel.

What It Means to Believe in Jesus

Salvation begins with knowing who Jesus is and what He did for you

John 3:16-18

Saving faith has three elements: knowledge, conviction, and trust. Today, let’s look at the first component: the knowledge required to believe in Jesus as our Savior.

Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God. At the request of God the Father, Jesus set aside His divine rights, took on human form, and dwelled on earth (Philippians 2:6-7).

What did He accomplish? To be acceptable to God, sacrifices had to be without defect (Leviticus 22:20). Jesus lived a perfect life, which qualified Him to be our substitute, bearing God’s judgment for our sins. Through His death on the cross, we are forgiven for our transgressions and have peace with God.

Why did He have to die? We could not save ourselves, since even our best deeds are marred by sin. When we accept Christ’s atoning work on our behalf, we are no longer God’s enemy but a member of His family.

When I was saved at age 12, I understood only the simplest aspects of these truths. I knew that I was a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness and that only Jesus could save me. But knowledge alone does not bring salvation—even the demons understood that Jesus was the Son of God (Luke 4:41). Salvation also requires conviction and trust. I believed these truths, and the Lord saved me. Do you believe the same is true for you?

In Christ Jesus

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

One of the key doctrines of Christianity is the union of the believer with Christ. In fact, the expression “in Christ” or its equivalent is found over 160 times in Paul’s epistles alone. Since, in God’s sight, we are “in Him,” all His attributes and accomplishments are credited to us as well.

For example, Paul said even to the carnal Corinthians that “of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). To the Romans (see today’s verse) he said that being in Christ frees us from the judgment, since Christ has already borne our judgment.

To the Galatians, Paul emphasized that “ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). The Ephesian epistle has many such expressions, the most comprehensive being Ephesians 1:3: “[God] hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” To the Philippians, he promised that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). The Christians at Colosse were assured that “ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10).

Even when we die, we “sleep in Jesus” and, when He comes again, “the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16). Paul even wrote to Timothy that God’s “own purpose and grace” had been “given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9). These are only a few examples of the marvelous blessings shared by all who are “in Christ Jesus.” We should be willing gladly to acknowledge “every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus” (Philemon 1:6). HMM

If I Miss…

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.John 14:2

If I miss the love and the mercy and the grace of God in this life, who is to be blamed? Certainly not the God who sits on the throne. He made full provision for my salvation. Certainly not the Lamb who stands before the throne. He died for my sins and rose again for my justification. Certainly not the radiant, flaming Holy Spirit who has accosted men and women all over the world, mediating to them the saving gospel of Christ.

Hear the words John heard on rocky Patmos as the Revelation of Jesus Christ concluded:

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be….Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city….And the Spirit and the bride say, Come….And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (22:12, 14, 17)

If I miss God’s great salvation, has this life been worth the struggle? Personally, I think not! JIV076

[I]f we go to heaven it is because we have a nature that belongs there. EFE103

“With” or “In” and “On”

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you.Acts 1:8

The Holy Spirit is a resident counselor. The Greek word here is interesting: parakletos—para (beside), kletos (call)—one who is called alongside to help. There isn’t a single thing needed in the Christian life that He isn’t there to provide. Note the difference in the prepositions that are found in these passages: “He remains with you and will be in you” (Jn 14:17) and “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you” (Ac 1:8). Jesus said that the Spirit was “with” them, but later would be “in” them and “on” them. I take these prepositions to mean that the Holy Spirit was “with” them prior to Pentecost but was “in” them and “on” them subsequent to Pentecost. Prior to Pentecost their lives lacked character and consistency. They cast out devils, but, on other occasions, they seemed to be somewhat influenced by them.

Simon Peter is a case in point (Mt 16:23). The disciples were loud in their assertions of loyalty and loud in their blunderings and misunderstandings. The Spirit was most certainly “with” them—helping, encouraging, and revealing—but He was most certainly not “in” them or “on” them. When the Spirit came “in” and “on” them at a later date, then fitful living became faithful living; erratic loyalty became everlasting loyalty.

Today, in the lives of many Christians, the Holy Spirit seems to be working on the outside rather than on the inside. Actually, of course, the Holy Spirit is resident “in” every Christian, but He wants to be more than just resident—He wants also to be president! How is it in your life and experience? Is the Spirit a passing guest or a permanent guest?

Prayer

God, forgive me for not utilizing the resources of the Holy Spirit You have placed within me. Help me see that the Spirit within makes for adequacy without if I avail myself of Him. Amen.

Further Study

1Co 2; Neh 9:20; Lk 12:12; 1Jn 2:27

What has God revealed to us by His Spirit?

What does the Holy Spirit bring to us?