Archives for posts with tag: bkc

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”” (Ruth 1:16–17, ESV)

Naomi has nothing to offer Ruth.  If she travels back to Bethlehem she will in all likelihood not be married; they will live in poverty; they will spend the rest of their days struggling to survive as two widows with no means of support [husband or children].  Ruth fully understands this.  She is willingly entering into [what she thinks is] a life of suffering and deprivation.

In addition Ruth is turning away from her Moabite gods and fully embracing Yahweh, the God of the Israelites.  Is there any better description of this turning in all of the Scriptures than in Ruth’s simple words: Your God [shall be] my God? 

The Bible Knowledge Commentary comments here:

She chose life with Naomi over her family, her national identity, and her religious idolatry. In one of the most beautiful expressions of commitment in all the world’s literature she laced her future to that of Naomi. She confessed allegiance to the people of Israel (your people) and to the God of Israel (your God). Here was a stirring example of a complete break with the past. Like Abraham, Ruth decided to leave her ancestors’ idolatrous land to go to the land of promise. And Ruth did it without the encouragement of a promise. In fact she made her decision despite Naomi’s strenuous encouragement to do otherwise.

Ruth is an amazing woman and we haven’t yet learned how amazing since we’re only at the end of chapter one.  What looks like a choice of self-destruction into a life of deprivation…well, we shall see what God makes of it.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” (Leviticus 17:11, ESV)

The context of this verse is that God is forbidding the Israelites from eating the blood of animals.  One reason for this prohibition was that blood was used to make atonement for their lives. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says here:

(God has chosen sacrificial blood as the ransom price for a person’s life, so the life of a substitute is given up in death); therefore to refrain from eating blood is to show respect for its sacredness as a vehicle of atonement.

The Hebrew word that the ESV translates to make atonement is one of the most theologically important words in the Old Testament.  It signified something (animal blood) in place of something else (man’s own blood) for the forgiveness of sins.  The passage is clear here: it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

The point of all of this becomes strikingly clear in Christ Jesus and the writers of the New Testament, being Hebrew (except for Luke) and very familiar with Hebrew theology understood this well. Paul writes:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:7, ESV)

Without the rich symbolism of the blood of animals making atonement in Leviticus, this statement would make no sense at all.  No longer do we need animal blood to make atonement for our sins [which are many].  Our sins were paid once for all through Christ’s atoning death at the cross.  Or as the hymn writer put it:

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains:
E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die:

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save:

I am the Lord. I have spoken; it shall come to pass; I will do it. I will not go back; I will not spare; I will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord God.”” (Ezekiel 24:14, ESV)

The declaration of the Lord to his people who had forsaken him for idols.  It is direct and forceful and grim.  Perhaps if we list the statements in bullet form, the gravity of this verse will be clearer:

  • I am the Lord
  • I have spoken
  • It shall come to pass
  • I will do it
  • I will not go back
  • I will not spare
  • I will not relent
  • You will be judged

So prophesied.  So done.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary reads: “God had tried to cleanse His people from their impurities but they resisted all such efforts. Therefore they would experience the purifying work of God’s wrath. God’s patience had run out; the time had come for Him to judge. He would not hold back or have pity. God’s mercy prompts Him to withhold judgment as long as possible to enable people to repent (cf. 2 Peter 3:8–10), but He does not wait indefinitely. A time comes when God punishes wickedness.”

God is longsuffering with sin and with sinners, that is his nature; however, we would be foolish to think that God will endure sin forever.  He will not.  Lest we think that God is somehow different in the New Testament, the writer to Hebrews disabuses us of that notion:

For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:30–31, ESV)

Yes.  Yes it is.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12–13, ESV)

Suffering and trials should not surprise us.  This is the lot of followers of Christ on this earth.  It is not strange or unusual, it is to be expected.  The world does not want to hear the message of Christ, men prefer to continue in their sins and evil is evil.  This all leads to suffering for those who proclaim Christ.

What surprises the reader here is what Peter tells us to do about suffering.  Run?  Hide?  Return evil for evil?  No.  We are to rejoice because our suffering for following Jesus means that we are sharing in Christ’s sufferings which will ultimately lead to gladness and rejoicing when Jesus’ glory is fully and finally revealed, when evil is conquered and when Satan is tossed into the abyss.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary points out here:

“The New Testament is clear that those who take part in the suffering of Christ also will take part in His glory, when it is revealed (apokalypsei; cf. 1 Peter 1:7; 5:1). Peter presented this truth as a cause for future hope and present rejoicing while enduring persecution.”

 

For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.” (Hebrews 7:26, ESV)

The author of Hebrews runs down the list of the ways that Jesus is unique as the eternal high priest in stark contrast to the high priests who were in place only temporarily.  He was holy, the high priests of Israel were not; Jesus was innocent, not so Israel’s high priests; Jesus was unstained by sin, the high priests had to offer sins for the people AND for themselves; Jesus was separated from sinners, separated because he knew no sin; and Jesus is exalted above the heavens. The Bible Knowledge Commentary sums this up well: ” His character is utterly without blemish and He has been exalted above the heavens.”

I like the GNB translation:

Jesus, then, is the High Priest that meets our needs. He is holy; he has no fault or sin in him; he has been set apart from sinners and raised above the heavens.” (Hebrews 7:26, GNB)

Jesus said to her, “My daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your trouble.”” (Mark 5:34, GNB)

Jesus heals the woman who had been struggling with hemorrhage for 12 years.  With words.  Immediately.

Bible Knowledge Commentary: Faith, confident trust, derives its value not from the one who expresses it, but from the object in which it rests (cf. 10:52; 11:22).

 

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.” (Isaiah 26:3, HCSB)

Dependence on the Lord leads to trust which leads to perfect (BKC: complete/genuine) peace.