The Redeemer’s Promise

mountain_4901c“When Ruth encountered Boaz, she held him to his own words. Boaz had said that she had come to find refuge under the Lord’s wings. That memorable night Ruth asked Boaz, as the redeemer, to take her under the protection of his wings. (The same Hebrew word is used as in 2:12, but most English translations render it as skirt in 3:9).” (C. Vanderwaal, Search the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 115. © 1978. Paideia Press).

The Wednesday night Bible study/prayer time at Trinity Presbyterian Church focuses on Ruth 3.

The Time Is Near

Rv2207We have cringed at attempts to predict the date of Christ’s return. Without making predictions, news of wars and increasing wickedness draw remarks like, “It really seems as though the time is soon.” Yes, we ought to be looking for Christ’s return, but remember also that believers in every age since the Ascension, have made similar remarks. What does Jesus say about his return in Revelation 22:6–11? What should you be doing? How should you live?

“In the truest and deepest perspective, you are safe and secure, protected by the Lord God Almighty and defended by the Lamb who has overcome. You are the sealed people of God, marked with his name. Whatever may occur between today and the great day of the wrath of God and the Lamb, you know that on the last day you will be able to stand without terror and with expectant joy.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 335).

“The change from prediction in Daniel to imperatives in Rev. 22:11 expresses awareness that Daniel’s prophecy is beginning to be be fulfilled in John’s own time and that genuine believers should discern this revelation and respond positively to it.” (G. K Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 1133).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

Immanuel!

Is0714This Friday evening’s 101 Bible Study in Astoria focuses on Isaiah 7. Call 971/238-6101 for details on time and location.

King Ahaz faces a political/military threat. He is convinced that the Word of God through the prophet Isaiah cannot fix it.

“Ahaz’ wickedness is seen in the fact that by his stubborn­ness he was in fact rejecting the very foundation of the covenant. God had promised to be a God and a De­liverer to His people. Syr­ia and Israel, therefore, will not overthrow the Davidic dy­nasty, for if they could suc­ceed in so doing, the prom­ises of God would be ren­dered void and salvation would not ultimately be ac­complished through the Messiah. . . . A son of David is willing to reject the covenant. God, therefore, must take over, and and give a sign of the greater de­liverance, as well of the proximate deliverance from Syria and Israel.” (Ed­ward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 1, pp. 283–284).

“. . . in the dealings of God with His covenant people will be found a profound and and su­pernatural promise of greater things to come. So, in our passage, the prophet, when he placed before the re­bellious Ahaz that strange picture of the mother and child, was not merely promising deliverance to Ju­dah in the period before a child then born should know how to refuse the evil and choose the good, but also, moved by the Spirit of God, was looking forward, as in a dim and mysteri­ous vision, to the day when the true Im­manuel, the mighty God and Prince of Peace, should lie as a little babe in a virgin’s arms.” (J. Gresham Machen, The Virgin Birth of Christ, p. 293).

Does God fix things? He doesn’t necessarily fix them according our diagnosis of the problem, but he is not distant from you. In taking upon himself our human nature, he became Immanuel. That is the ultimate ground for your hope.

 

 

Refuge under the Lord’s Wings

Ru0212“Ruth, who had vowed to Naomi that ‘Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God’ (Ruth 1:16), came to the Lord of Israel, under whose wings she sought refuge (Ruth 2:12). How striking! Here is a daughter of Moab acting like Abraham!” (Warren Gage, “Ruth and Gibeah,” The Westminster Theological Jounal, Vol, 51, No. 2., 1989, p. 374).

Yes, Ruth is a beautiful story. But it is more than that. Its account of God’s dealing with the Moabitess challenges you also to seek the protection of his wings, to come to the Messiah who would one day be born of Ruth’s line.

Tonight’s Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church focuses on Ruth 2.

The Garden-City

Rv2201“The difference between day and night, between the Sabbath and the workdays, has been suspended. Time is charged with the eternity of God. Space is full of his presence. Eternal becoming is wedded to immutable being. Even the contrast between heaven and earth is gone. For all things that are in heaven and on earth have been gathered up in Christ as head (Eph. 1:10). All creatures will then live and move and have their being in God [Acts 17:28], who is all in all [1 Cor. 15:28], who reflects all his attributes in the mirror of his works and glorifies himself in them.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, pp. 729–730).

“In that life [in the new heavens and earth], religion—fellowship with God—is primary and central. But that fellowship will be richer, deeper, and more blessed than it ever was or could be on earth, since it will not be disturbed by any sin, or interrupted by any distance, or mediated by either Scripture or nature.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 722).

“Revelation is designed not only to assure us of God’s final purposes, but also to increase our longing for him and the realization of his purpose. The sureness of that final bliss comforts the saints during times of temptation and persecution. It purifies our desires by directing them to God and his glory. And then the tawdry counterfeits of this world are seen to be what they are. We have eyes to see the beauties and joys of this creation as pointers to God and his goodness (Acts 14:17), rather than foolishly perverting created things into idols (Rom. 1:18–23).” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, p. 192).

The blessings John portrays are not only future, they are truly, though not yet completely, ours now. We already have benefits from the new heavens and earth, though we do not yet possess its fullness. As you trust the One who hung on a tree, you can taste of the tree of life. As you respond to the one calls you to come to him, you drink of the living water, and in turn, as part of the church which is connected to its heavenly head, you become a source of living water by the power of the Spirit whom he has poured out. As you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father! You will serve him in the new Jerusalem. Worship and serve him today.

Come to the garden-city. Eat from the tree of life. Drink the living water. See the very face of God in Christ and live!

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

Your God Will Be My God

ruth116cThe last five chapters of Judges form a pair of grim appendices to that book. The tiny, four chapter long, book of Ruth can be seen as a third appendix, or better a hinge or transition to the books of Samuel and Kings. The book focuses on God’s sovereign care, but also outlines the ancestry of David, and, above all, illustrates the vital work of the kinsman-redeemer.

“…Is Ruth simply functioning in this story as an example of loyalty and devotion to family? No! A thousand times no! Ruth clings to Naomi, Ruth vows to go where Naomi goes, to lodge where Naomi lodges because in clinging to Naomi, in embracing Naomi, in holding fast to Naomi, Ruth is clinging to God! She is clinging to the Kingdom of God. She is clinging to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. She can do no other. She has been apprehended by the grace of God.” (Bryan Schroeder, “The Faith of a Foreigner,” Kerux, Vol. 13, No. 2, Sept. 1999).

It is a sweeping, life-encompassing commitment the Lord expects from you. But with it goes the assurance that the Lord will be your God, never abandoning or neglecting you.

The Bible study this evening at Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC, focuses on Ruth 1. A time of prayer follows. You are welcome to join us.

 

The New Jerusalem

bride_17028c

“Revelation shows the lengths to which the Lamb has gone and will go to make us the holy city in whom he will dwell forever. Christ loves his church and binds himself to her with bonds that no enemy from without and no failure of ours from within can sever.” “When we glimpse the bride through the eyes of her Groom, it lifts our head in hope and calms our frustrated hearts for persevering love for one another.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 342–3).

“All Old Testament concepts shed their external, nationalistic-Israelitish meanings and become manifest in their spiritual and eternal sense. . . . [T]he New Testament itself has given to the particularistic ideas of the Old Testament a universal and cosmic meaning. (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 661).
“But in the new heaven and new earth, the world as such is restored; in the believing community the human race is saved. In that community, which Christ has purchased and gathered from all nations, languages, and tongues (Rev. 5:6; etc.), all nations, Israel included, maintain their distinct place and calling (Matt. 8:11; Rom. 11:25; Rev. 21:24; 22:2). And all those nations—each in accordance with its own distinct national character—bring into the new Jerusalem all they have received from God in the way of glory and honor (Rev. 21:24, 26). (Herman Bavinck, p. 720). Continue reading