WERE YOU THERE?
It was the third hour when they crucified Him. (Mark 15:25)
Folk songs are generally described as songs of which the origins have been lost but which express the heartfelt traditions and experiences of a particular culture or people. Therefore, they become greatly cherished by each succeeding generation.
The Negro spirituals represent some of the finest of American folk music. These songs are usually a blending of an African heritage, harsh remembrances from former slavery experiences, and a very personal interpretation of biblical stories and truths. They especially employ biblical accounts that give hope for a better life—such as the prospects of heaven. They symbolize so well the attitudes, hopes and religious feeling of the black race in America.
To better understand a Negro spiritual, one must feel even as a black singer does that he or she is actually present and very much involved in the event itself. The event being sung—in this case the story of Christ’s suffering, death, and ultimate resurrection—becomes a very intensely emotional experience. It is told with much feeling and freedom of spirit, generally without any instrumental accompaniment.
The lesson for each of us to learn from a Negro spiritual like this is that truths such as the redemptive work of Christ must have much more than just our mental assent. The biblical account must become a very personal conviction in our lives, and our very souls should be gripped by its emotional power.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they pierced Him in the side?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when God raised Him from the dead?
Sometimes I feel like shouting glory, glory, glory! When I think how God raised Him from the dead!
For Today: Isaiah 53:4–12; Matthew 20:28; 1 Peter 2:24; Revelation 1:5, 6
Imagine yourself standing at the foot of the cross when Christ was tortured and crucified. Then place yourself outside the empty tomb when the angelic announcement “He is not here …” was given. Try to relive the emotional feelings that would have been yours. Allow this song to minister to you as you go through the day—
April 28: The Subtle Sinner
Joshua 19:10–20:9; 2 Corinthians 12:11–21; Psalm 57:1–58:11
Some sins slip through the cracks—the ones that emerge in hushed tones between like-minded Christians. Sometimes these sins seem respectable because they occur out of supposed concerns for the Church or others. But they can leave deep gashes in the life of a community because they often go unchecked. And it’s these sins that Paul addresses shortly before closing his letter to the Corinthians:
“For I am afraid lest somehow when I arrive, I will not find you as I want, and I may be found by you as you do not want. I am afraid lest somehow there will be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, pride, disorder” (2 Cor 12:20).
While the Corinthians were guilty of flagrant sins like impurity, sexual immorality, and licentiousness, they were also sinning in ways that subtly undermined Paul’s authority. Slander and gossip created deep divisions in the Corinthian church, just as they do in our churches today.
We often don’t realize we’re committing these sins until rumors reach the individual we’re gossiping about. Paul had been absent from the Corinthian community for some time. During his absence, dissenters slandered him. The Corinthians should have defended Paul while he was away, but instead, he was forced to defend his own ministry (2 Cor 13:2–3). He anticipated that his return to the community would reveal the true state of the situation.
Ultimately, these subtle sins were an attack on the good news—not just Paul. Because his integrity was brought into question, the authenticity of his message was also criticized. In addition, Paul was forced to address their sin before he could reach out to other communities with the good news (2 Cor 10:15).
The decisions we make on a daily basis can lead to division or unity in our community. And choosing to be a faithful peacemaker in the midst of divisive sins might have a bigger impact than we can imagine.
What are your subtle sins that are wrongfully condoned?
Rebecca Van Noord
Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Psalm 106 through 112. Our lesson is from Psalm 110:1–2, “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, [saying], ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies.’ ” (NASU)
Psalm 110 is known as a messianic psalm. This means that it is Old Testament prophecy which is fulfilled in the New Testament in Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. Let’s review three promises made in our text.
First, God will honor the Messiah. In Middle Eastern culture especially at the time of the psalmist, sitting at the right hand was a place of high privilege and honor. This was a way of demonstrating the authority and influence of that person who sat at the right hand.
Beginning in Genesis 3:15, God promises to send His Messiah to defeat the works of Satan and to reestablish the relationship between God and humanity that had been broken. The agent for fulfilling the plan of God is Jesus Christ. After his death and resurrection, the Epistle to the Hebrews witnesses to the fact that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.
Second, God will extend the rule of the Messiah. The scepter is an instrument that symbolizes government, i.e. the right to rule. God Himself extends the government of the Messiah, according to our text. In the New Testament Jesus Christ announces and advances the kingdom of God. God’s rule presses forward and overcomes Satan and the kingdom of darkness.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus declares that those who see Him see the Father who sent Him. In Matthew Jesus declares that all authority is His, both in heaven and on earth. He can say this because He is the fulfillment of God’s promise to send the Messiah to save Israel and humanity.
Third, God will humble the enemies of the Messiah. Our text states that God will make his enemies a footstool for His feet. God is the Almighty King of kings and Lord of Lords. There is nothing or no one who is more powerful.
The apostle Paul in First Corinthians 15 reminds us that God will put all of Christ’s enemies under his feet. The last enemy is death. The Messiah then will subject Himself to the Father so that God may be all in all. This is the blessed future and provision in Christ Jesus.
In summary, God will honor the Messiah. God will extend the rule of the Messiah. And God will humble the enemies of the Messiah.
Let’s thank God for His work in Jesus Christ. It is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we have eternal life and hope.
It has been a pleasure to share with you Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Tomorrow’s Bible reading is Psalm 113 through 118. Let’s not forget the words of the psalmist, “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Until tomorrow and may God bless you in abundance as you study the Word of God.
Three Kinds of Persecution
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me” (Matt. 5:10–11).
When you speak out for Christ, you can expect harassment, insults, and slander.
Jesus mentioned three broad categories of suffering that Christians will experience. The first is persecution. “Persecuted” (Matt. 5:10) and “persecute” (v. 11) both come from the same Greek root, meaning “to pursue” or “to chase away.” Over time it came to mean “to harass” or “to treat in an evil manner.” Verse 10 literally reads, “Blessed are those who have been allowing themselves to be persecuted.” You are blessed when people harass you for your Christian stance and you willingly accept it for the sake of your Lord.
The second form of suffering is “insults” (v. 11), which translates a Greek word that means “to reproach,” “to revile,” or “to heap insults upon.” It speaks of verbal abuse—attacking someone with vicious and mocking words. It is used in Matthew 27:44 of the mockery Christ endured at His crucifixion. It happened to Him, and it will happen to His followers as well.
The final category Jesus mentioned is slander—people telling lies about you. That’s perhaps the hardest form of suffering to endure because our effectiveness for the Lord is directly related to our personal purity and integrity. When someone’s trying to destroy the reputation you worked a lifetime to establish, that is a difficult trial indeed!
If you’re going through a time of suffering for righteousness’ sake, take heart—the Lord went through it too, and He understands how difficult it can be. He knows your heart and will minister His super-abounding grace to you. Rejoice that you are worthy of suffering for Him and that the Kingdom of Heaven is yours.
Suggestions for Prayer: Pray for those who treat you unkindly, asking God to forgive them and to grant them His grace. ✧ Pray that you might always treat others with honesty and fairness.
For Further Study: Throughout history God Himself has endured much mocking and slander. Read 2 Peter 3:3–9, then answer these questions: ✧ What motivates mockers? ✧ What do they deny? ✧ Why doesn’t God judge them on the spot?
Helpmate and Friend
It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.
History bears out the truth that most highly successful men have a woman in their lives who loves them, motivates them, encourages them, and helps them to achieve their best and highest. It may be a mother, a sister, an aunt, or a wife. Every good marriage I have ever witnessed bears this quality that both the husband and the wife encourage each other to walk in godly wisdom and to be and do their very best.
The creation of Eve was about far more than God providing a sexual companion for Adam. Eve shared the totality of Adam’s life. She was a helper “comparable to him” and he, in turn, was of help to her (Gen. 2:20). They shared not only a garden home, but also a purpose for living and a responsibility before God.
Satan’s Final Defeat
Scripture reading: Luke 22:31–34
Key verse: 1 John 5:19
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
Since his fall, Satan’s corrupt activities against man have been intended for one purpose: to prevent the salvation of mankind through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, it was during Jesus’ ministry that Satan’s attacks against the Messiah were most intense. Once Jesus went to the Cross, Satan’s defeat would be ensured.
The devil attacked overtly in the wilderness, trying to get Christ to yield to his temptations. But each time Satan attacked, Christ used the Holy Scriptures to ward off Satan’s attacks.
He dealt covertly against Jesus through those closest to Him. Peter’s seemingly strong defensive stand for Christ (Matt. 16:22–23) was nothing more than a last-ditch effort on Satan’s part to stop Jesus’ divine destiny. However, with one straightforward statement—“Get behind Me, Satan!”—Christ exposed the deception of His adversary.
But Satan could not thwart God’s plan. Satan already has been judged and condemned; the sentence of eternal death has been pronounced. All that remains is the execution of the sentence. Satan has been conquered by the Conqueror. Christ’s victory is yours today.
Father, when Satan attacks, help me use the power of Your Word. Your victory is mine today!
[God] waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
1 Peter 3:20
Genesis 6:9 through 8:22 tells how Noah and his family were delivered through the Flood. They were the only people who believed God’s warning of the coming worldwide catastrophe. As a result, all mankind was drowned in judgment, except them.
Noah preached the righteousness of God for the hundred and twenty years it took him to build the ark. The size of a modern ocean liner (Gen. 6:15), it was sure to attract attention. But it must have been discouraging to build that ark and preach its meaning for over a century, yet have only your immediate family believe.
Noah’s tremendous effort was spent on building a vessel he would spend only a year using, but those eight people were safe from God’s judgment when it came. The ark served as their shelter from the encompassing judgment of God. What a graphic illustration of salvation!
April 28 God’s Ultimate Intention
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The attributes of God are many—love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, kindness, goodness. Yet none of these marvelous qualities would be known to humankind without the character trait–giving God, who by His own choice holds nothing to Himself. His love, mercy, and grace are generously bestowed upon us because He has sovereignly willed to share Himself and His bounty with us.
We have life only because He has created us by an exercise of His will. We can receive salvation only because He wills to grant it. The ultimate testimony to the Giver of all good things is, amazingly, the saints, the redeemed ones, “in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7 nasb).
The Supreme Giver’s gift to us of salvation through Christ will resound throughout eternity. Believers will be the showcase, the tangible evidence of His ever–giving heart. Thus, while we enjoy the eternal fundamental benefits of salvation, its root lies in the reality that is the preeminent Giver—God. All of the heavenly hosts will marvel without end at that truth.
You are a divine Giver, O Lord. I thankfully accept Your gifts of love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, kindness, and goodness.
God’s Best for Your Life
Scripture reading: Ephesians 4:14–21
Key verse: Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
The discovery of King Tut’s tomb is considered one of the richest in history. However, archaeologists had no idea what waited for them beyond the first chamber; robbers had earlier plundered it. Yet a closer examination revealed an undisturbed sepulchral chamber and treasure room.
Excavators found priceless gold and silver items along with precious stones. There was also an abundance of rings and bracelets so ingenious and perfect in design that even a magnifying glass could not reveal the soldered joints.
With gold, silver, and priceless jewelry surrounding them, archaeologists could not help wondering why earlier intruders had stopped at the outer chamber. Did they not realize they had entered the burial chamber of a king?
As puzzling as this may seem, many of us do the same thing in our Christian walk. We plunder the outer chamber of God’s blessings, never realizing there is an entire throne room waiting for us if only we would seek Him above all else.
Don’t allow yourself to be robbed of God’s best for your life. Ask Him to make you aware of the blessings He has for you. As you seek His will, submit all that you are to all that He is; and His wealth of eternal blessings will be yours.
I don’t want to be robbed of Your best, God. Make me aware of the blessings You have for me. I submit all that I am to all that You are.
A New Look at the Cross
Scripture Reading: Luke 23:26–46
Key Verses: John 10:29–30
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.
A believer who is unsure if his actions adversely affect his security in Christ lives on a spiritual tightrope, fearing doom with every misstep. Thinking that his salvation is in limbo is a poor foundation for confident Christian living.
The Christian who is unsure that he is secure in his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ will live in confusion. He is not quite sure whether God accepts him or not. He is perplexed at which decisions and actions endanger his security and which do not. How does he keep a list? He is also anxious and fearful. He cannot wake up each morning with confidence that a loving, forgiving God has him perfectly in His eternal grip. He is dependent on his performance:
- Is it good enough?
- Have I done enough?
- Have I overlooked anything?
A new look at the Cross will remove all doubt:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Rom. 8:1–2 nasb)
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:29–30 nasb)
Dear Lord, help me realize that my security rests in the Cross, not in my performance. No one—no person or circumstance—is able to snatch me out of Your hand.
The Heart of God
Scripture Reading: John 3:1–18
Key Verse: John 3:17
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Have you ever wanted to peek into someone’s heart—his very spirit—to see what is really going on in there? We all desire this at times; in fact, the more we are able to get glimpses into a person’s heart, the better we can determine what kind of man he is. That is a basic way we grow to trust and love other people.
If we want to apply this concept to our relationship with the Lord, we need to look only one place: the Cross. There we can see a perfect picture of God’s heart and His view of sin, love, and mankind. The most overwhelming image of the cross is the complete justice of God. The Lord’s justice simply means He does the right thing—the righteous thing—in every situation.
When it came to dealing with mankind’s sin and wickedness, a problem arose that needed an eternal solution. The issue was the fact that God’s perfect holiness stood in complete opposition to man’s sinfulness. Because of His unwavering justice, He could not simply ignore our sin. Therefore, He had only two options: either abandon man to his sinfulness or provide a perfect sacrifice to atone for the sin of the world. In His love, He chose the latter.
The cross of Jesus represents the only answer to a cosmic problem. Despite the great cost—His only Son—God worked to bridge the gap caused by sin. With His justice satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice, God’s eternal love can now welcome us into His holy presence.
Have you trusted Jesus as Savior and acknowledged the sacrifice He made on your behalf?
Lord, I am so grateful for the perfect sacrifice made on my behalf. Thank You that You did not abandon me in sin.
The Resurrection: Motive for Sanctification
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ Become sober–minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”
1 Corinthians 15:33–34
Trusting in the fact of Christ’s resurrection and looking forward to our own rising from the dead ought to stimulate us toward sanctification.
Like any essential teaching of Scripture, the doctrine of the Resurrection can be studied and discussed from an academic standpoint only. When that happens, we usually acquire a factual understanding of the topic and perhaps some appreciation of how the doctrine supports our faith—but that’s as far as we go.
However, our studies on the Resurrection have already taught us some of the implications this Bible truth ought to have for our conduct. The hope of the Resurrection can give everyone an incentive to be saved and believers an incentive for service. This hope also provides a third incentive: the motivation toward sanctification.
The apostle Paul knew that those in the Corinthian church were being exposed to the heretical theology that there is no real resurrection from the dead. This false teaching was having a bad influence on the Corinthians’ behavior. That’s why Paul tells them in today’s verse, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” It is impossible to be around evil people and not be contaminated both by their ideas and their habits. The apostle goes on to urge those believers who hoped in a resurrection to be a positive influence on others and lead them to the truth.
This glimpse at the situation in Corinth proves that sound doctrine matters and does affect how people live. We see all around us today what results when there is no belief in a resurrection. People become short–sighted and live as they please because ultimately nothing keeps them accountable. This is all the more reason for us to hold firm to the truth of the Resurrection, live in its hope, and proclaim it to others.
Suggestions for Prayer: How is the pursuit of holiness coming in your life? Pray that the Lord would increase your diligence and help you especially in an area of weakness.
For Further Study: Read 1 Peter 1. List all the verses that refer to God’s plan for Christ’s death and resurrection. ✧ How does the existence of such a divine plan strengthen your hope? ✧ Write a theme sentence for the chapter.
Numbers 5; Psalm 39; Song of Songs 3; Hebrews 3
Self-discipline is normally a good thing. Indeed, Christians believe that God has given them “a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7). But certain forms of self-discipline are ignoble, even dangerous.
For example, the Stoics in the days of the apostle Paul thought that it was the part of wisdom to live in harmony with the way things are in the world, and that this entailed living apart from the “passions,” in perfect accord with reason. Motivated by high moral principles, they prided themselves in living above the emotions, above deep personal commitments that could bring suffering. At one level, such “stoicism” is admirable. But it is a long way from the personal commitments that the Gospel mandates, complete with the vulnerability and suffering that are a part of this fallen order. In fact, that is the problem with the Stoic worldview: its view of the world and what is wrong with it is so far removed from what the Bible says that it defines what is good in ways that owe more to a certain kind of pantheism than to anything else. So from a Christian perspective, even if there is something admirable to Stoic self-discipline, it can never be judged genuinely good. Some self-discipline merely puffs people up with the pride of resolution.
Another kind of questionable self-discipline occurs in the opening verses of Psalm 39. David has resolved not to speak. It is not entirely clear whether his self-disciplined resolution not to say anything, especially in the presence of the wicked (39:1), is motivated by fear that otherwise he is in danger of joining them, or more likely out of fear that if he speaks he will let slip something that might be dangerous in this company, or simply out of some misplaced conviction that it is enough to keep silent and not lend them support. Clearly, however, it was a moral resolve, in some ways commendable—and wholly inadequate. For as he kept silent, he did not even say anything good (39:2). One way or another he was trying to beat sin by disciplined silence.
David learned a better way. He speaks—but in his speech he addresses God (39:4ff.). He is aware of life’s fleeting passage, and concludes that, in the end, we have nothing to look for except to put our hope in the Lord (39:7). God alone can save us from our transgressions and enable us to escape the snares of opponents (39:8). Resolute silence in the face of the mystery of providence is no way forward (39:9); it is a false self-discipline, an ugly defiance rather than a cheerful submission to God’s “discipline” (39:11).
Numbers 5; Psalm 39; Song of Songs 3; Hebrews 3
If the end of song 2 finds the beloved and the lover fervently expressing their mutual devotion to each other and the exclusiveness of their love each for the other, Song 3 begins with the woman, the beloved, almost frantically searching for her lover. Many commentators have suggested that chapter 3, and perhaps the entire unit of chapters 3–6, is a dream sequence. That may be right: “All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves” (3:1, italics added), the beloved says. In the first panel (3:1–5), the beloved searches for her lover, and simply assumes that because she knows the man for whom she is looking, everyone else should too—including the night police officers (“the watchers”). She finds him and brings him to her mother’s bedroom (3:4), signaling official consummation.
The coherence of the next panel (3:6–11) is disputed. The best guess is that “this” in 3:6 (feminine Hebrew pronoun) refers to the woman. She is being brought up from her dwelling in the country to the court—and in Solomon’s carriage, a gloriously designed and luxurious vehicle. Solomon himself is present, and “the daughters of Zion” watch and “ooohh and aaahh” as the couple make their way to their new home. This then leads to the extravagant language of the lover in chapter 4.
Whether or not this is a dream sequence (I am inclined to think it is), one thing abundantly clear is that the language of love is the language of mutual praise and mutual invitation. Anything less will stifle love. If the language of praise and invitation operates only one way, for instance, it will tire in time or leave the speaker feeling servile or perhaps desperate. If the language of love is the language of praise but not of invitation, it may never breed intimacy—a good relationship but not good sex; if it is the language of invitation but not of praise, it may degenerate into mutual gratification but not mutual edification—good sex but not a good relationship.
Many of us who are married and who reflect on the language of Song of Songs are slightly embarrassed at its sensual abandon. But that may say more about who we are than about what God wants us to be. Like everything else that God made good, marriage and sex and intimacy can be trivialized and sensationalized and brutalized. But God made them good. Believers are bound, so far as their transformed natures can take them this side of the new heavens and the new earth, to display God’s goodness in every arena to which he calls us. We who are married ought, intentionally, to develop the language of mutual praise and invitation.
April 28 – Jesus and Non-Retaliation: Liberty
“‘Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two’” (Matthew 5:41).
The concept of liberty is much cherished in the United States and other democratic nations. The Declaration of Independence famously speaks of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Patrick Henry of Virginia used the bold oratory, “Give me liberty or give me death!” These sentiments were derived from biblical principles, although sometimes altered from those ancient origins.
God’s intention from the beginning was for mankind created in His image to live in perfect liberty, both spiritually and physically. But the Fall ruined this ideal and introduced such corrupt concepts as slavery and subjugation to totalitarian governments. Democratic governments have tried, although imperfectly, to protect the liberty of their citizens—sometimes even extending such freedoms to foreign visitors and immigrants. However, civil liberties should not supersede our duties to righteousness or our obligations to display a faithful witness.
Jesus here makes the analogy between surrendered liberties and the Roman law that could force civilians to carry a soldier’s pack for a mile. Except for facing them in battle, Roman troops were not as despised by their opponents as when those people were obligated to carry the troops’ packs or other equipment.
Yet our Lord teaches that we should be willing to go the extra mile for someone else—even at the expense of our cherished liberty. In so doing, we are worthy ambassadors for Christ, realizing that in Him we have an eternal liberty that can never be taken.
Who in your life regularly asks you to go the second mile for them? What is your usual response to their demand for your time and energy? How do you strike the balance between being sacrificial and maintaining boundaries that help you protect other godly priorities?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, http://www.moodypublishers.com.
Reading for Today:
Ruth 1:16 And your God, my God. This testimony evidenced Ruth’s conversion from worshiping Chemosh to Yahweh of Israel (see 1 Thess. 1:9, 10).
Ruth 2:12 wings…refuge. Scripture pictures God as catching Israel up on His wings in the Exodus (Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:11). God is here portrayed as a mother bird sheltering the young and fragile with her wings (see Pss. 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 63:7; 91:1, 4). Boaz blessed Ruth in light of her newfound commitment to and dependence on the Lord. Later, he would become God’s answer to this prayer (see 3:9).
Psalm 52:1 mighty man. A reference to Doeg, the chief of Saul’s shepherds, who reported to Saul that the priests of Nob had aided David when he was a fugitive (see 1 Sam. 22:9, 18, 19).
Luke 19:40 the stones would immediately cry out. This was a strong claim of Deity and perhaps a reference to the words of Habakkuk 2:11. Scripture often speaks of inanimate nature praising God. (See Pss. 96:11; 98:7–9; 114:7; Is. 55:12.) See also the words of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:9; note the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Matthew 27:51.
Luke 19:41, 42 Only Luke recorded the weeping of Jesus over the city of Jerusalem. Christ grieved over Jerusalem on at least two other occasions (13:34; Matt. 23:37). The timing of this lament may seem incongruous with the Triumphal Entry, but it reveals that Jesus knew the true superficiality of the peoples’ hearts, and His mood was anything but giddy as He rode into the city. The same crowd would soon cry for His death (23:21).
DAY 28: Why is the “kinsman-redeemer” a prominent part in the story of Ruth?
In Ruth 2:20, the great kinsman-redeemer theme of Ruth begins (cf.3:9, 12; 4:1, 3, 6, 8, 14). A close relative could redeem 1) a family member sold into slavery (Lev. 25:47–49), 2) land which needed to be sold under economic hardship (Lev. 25:23–28), and/or 3) the family name by virtue of a levirate marriage (Deut. 25:5–10). This earthly custom pictures the reality of God the Redeemer doing a greater work (Pss. 19:14; 78:35; Is. 41:14; 43:14) by reclaiming those who needed to be spiritually redeemed out of slavery to sin (Ps. 107:2; Is. 62:12). Thus, Boaz pictures Christ, who as a Brother (Heb. 2:17) redeemed those who 1) were slaves to sin (Rom. 6:15–18), 2) had lost all earthly possessions/privilege in the Fall (Gen. 3:17–19), and 3) had been alienated by sin from God (2 Cor. 5:18–21). Boaz stands in the direct line of Christ (Matt. 1:5; Luke 3:32). This turn of events marks the point where Naomi’s human emptiness (1:21) begins to be refilled by the Lord. Her night of earthly doubt has been broken by the dawning of new hope (cf. Rom. 8:28–39).
When Boaz negotiated with another relative about the settlement of Elimelech and Naomi’s estate in Ruth 4:1–12, he referred to a law established by Moses in Deuteronomy 25:5–10. That law set out specific actions to be taken by the surviving family if a married son were to die without a son to inherit or carry on his name. Another (presumably unmarried) man in the family was to marry the widow. The first resulting child would inherit the estate of the man who had died.
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.
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