Old Testament: Ruth 3 & 4
Poetry: Proverbs Introduction below
New Testament: Luke 19
Shalom! This is Stephanie Schlegel writing this week while my husband and youngest daughter are in Israel for a few weeks. 😊 We lived there for about 30 years and moved back to the States five years ago to care for his aging parents.
The passages for today are so fitting for my life right now, and I hope yours too. 😊 The Scriptures bring us so much hope and peace and sustain us, sometimes verses strike and encourage us more than other days. Overall, the faithful commitment in them isn’t disappointing!
When I met my husband (Bill Schlegel) in Jerusalem, he said he found his Ruth. A woman that would be willing to leave her home country and live with him in Israel where he wanted to stay. Both Boaz and Naomi call Ruth their daughter multiple times, and the LORD/Yahweh is acknowledged for having brought about events.
- People and elders said, “The LORD make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two pillars who built the house of Israel.” (4:11)
- “Because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this young woman.” (4:12)
- “The LORD gave her conception.” (4:13)
It is good to acknowledge that the LORD is the giver and sustainer of life. Ironically, these days I’m caring for my mother-in-law, like Ruth did. The women told Naomi “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative, and may his name be famous in Israel: And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” (4:14,15)
My mother-in-law has four sons, but she really needs a daughter-in-law these days, especially in rehab with three broken limbs, and I love her! Naomi had had two sons previously, but in her later days, she needed a daughter-in-law to care for her. In general, younger people (grandchildren) can be a restorer of life and nourisher in old age for the elderly. Maybe this week, think of an elderly person or relative you could visit and encourage them, even a neighbor. It can be a lonely time for them as they can’t move around as much. Hug them and speak words of encouragement to them in their days of old.
The passage in Luke 19 is also fitting! Jesus was in Jericho with Zacchaeus and walked up to Jerusalem. He walked past Bethpage and Bethany and came to the Mt. of Olives. Now when one reads those places it sounds fairly simple to walk them, but the walk from Jericho to Jerusalem, which I’ve done, is quite an incline! It took 8 hours to walk the 15 miles with a 3,400 ft elevation increase. Jesus probably walked this a dozen times in his life, including when he was a 12-year-old boy. So, I didn’t have much sympathy when our 14-year-old daughter texted me the other day that Abba (Dad) made her walk from Jerusalem up to the Mt. of Olives, which was less than a mile. Lol I told her Jesus walked multiple times from Jericho to Jerusalem, and not only that but all the way from Galilee to Jerusalem, which is about 80 miles and would’ve taken about 4 days to walk. So, I didn’t want to hear any complaining about a little hike up to the Mt. of Olives. Here’s a picture of her smiling at the top of it. 😊
“Now as he drew near the city, he saw the city and wept over it.” (Luke 19:41) This would’ve been a similar view Jesus would’ve seen minus most of the buildings, and it would’ve been the temple instead of the Dome of the Rock. “And he was daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes, together with the leaders of the people sought to destroy him” (19:47)
So, despite difficulties we may have in our lives, seek the peace of God and reach out to the encourage the broken. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” (19:38)
- Think of an elderly person or relative you can visit and encourage. What do you think you would find helpful and encouraging when you are older than you are now?
- How can you be a restorer of life? How is Jesus a restorer of life?
- What do we learn about the LORD in our reading today? What do we learn about His Son Jesus?
The book of Proverbs is a collection of “sayings of the wise” which was mostly written by King Solomon. According to Proverbs 1:2-4, the purpose of the book is, “for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young.”
Spoiler alert: Proverbs 1:7 gives the answer right away, where it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Solomon gave advice on many topics, some of which include.
- How to live life – Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
- Money – Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
- Hard work – Proverbs 6:6, “Go to the ant you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!”
- Alcoholism – Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”
- Compassion – Proverbs 21:13, “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.”
- Childraising – Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
- Revenge – Proverbs 24:29, “Do not say, I’ll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did.”
- Enemies – Proverbs 25: 21-22, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”
- Obeying God’s law – Proverbs 28:9, “If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.”
- Defend the poor – Proverbs 3:8-9, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
As you read through Proverbs, I challenge you to consider how you can benefit from applying these proverbs to your own life.