The marketers and sellers in today’s world, in order to make us part with our cash, are telling us to enjoy, indulge, pamper and put ourselves first.
We are constantly being fed the line that sometimes it is a good thing to put ourselves first and forget the others. As if we sinful people needed any encouragement to indulge in love of self and egocentric behavior.
If we look to the scriptures we see that this has ever been the line of attack that Satan invariably uses.
He flattered our first parents with the idea that they were being deprived of opportunities and experiences and pleasures by God by denying them the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
In the parable the younger son feels that he is being repressed and denied good things by his father and seeks through gaining his inheritance to find freedom and “the good life” but instead finds that many of life’s so called pleasure are fleeting and in the end not worth the having.
Sad to say that the Church is not devoid of those who would tell us that we can have it all and be free of many of life’s problems by professing Christ and jumping on their particular bandwagon of philosophy.
The devotees of this sort of teaching find too late that even the “Christian” must take “the rough with the smooth” and often a great deal more of the former.
We are told by the scriptures again and again that self denial and tribulation are part and parcel of the Christian life. They are unavoidable but in the overall scheme of God’s purposes they are a gateway to true and lasting blessing; if encountered in the same manner as Christ, the apostles and their successors did, by faith, prayer and patience.
How ironic it is that for every one person who teaches the scriptural truth about self denial and the certainty of earthly suffering, we have so many others who will seek to pursue the same line as the enemy of the Saviour and his saints.
Emperor Pedro the second.
The 58 year reign of Brazilian Emperor Pedro the second was one of the high periods of Brazilian history. It marked thanks to his influence a period of political stability, respect for freedom of speech, vibrant economic growth and a parliamentary system which worked well.
Against staunch opposition he pushed through the abolition of slavery and was a sponsor of culture, learning and the sciences. (Quoted from Wiki)
Despite all this Pedro was overthrown and exiled by a military coup devoid of any popular support.
In view of Brazil’s subsequent history many have looked back at that period and regarded the removal Pedro and all he stood for as a false and retrograde step with long term consequences for the well being of the nation.
We to can look back at our history and lament the false steps we have taken which have resulted in failure and disappointment and long term consequences. Yet we can no more change the past than change the colour of the sky.
We seldom know when we are well off; we are ever looking away to things that seem bigger and better.
Contentment with all the blessings and good things that God bestows is a blessing in itself and something we should all seek for.
The story of Ruth.
While there are many profound and deep things found in Scripture there are also many simple and plain histories recounted with morals, lessons and spiritual importance, among these is the book of Ruth.
Placed as it is in the time of the Judges, this story stands in incongruity to the idolatry and national disobedience that characterized this time in Israel’s history.
It may be speculated that this story occurred during one of the “revivals” of true religion and obedience to God that punctuated the apostasy and anarchy which characterized succeeding generations throughout this period but we do not know for sure.
The Book of Ruth stands as an oasis in a spiritual wasteland and a fruitful tropical island in an angry sea.
We Christians of today may only give a passing look at this simple story and think of it as only a romantic tale but we thereby miss a great deal of spiritual truth.
Upon a closer examination we might learn a great deal more than we expect.
Philip Mauro entitled his work on the book “Ruth the satisfied stranger”.
There is no doubt that this devoted Moabitess, as well as being a progenitor of King David and thereby according to the flesh through the Davidic line an ancestor our Lord Jesus Christ, was also a first fruit of the Gentile believers who would be grafted into spiritual vine and Church of the firstborn.
After losing and leaving so much she found even greater and truer blessings among the chosen people of God by coming to dwell in the land of promise.
She by simple faith and devotion entered into the hope of the future Messiah and Saviour and became an example of what those of like faith would also find who would likewise come.
Even if isolated from the rest of the scripture, the lessons of the book are useful and helpful.
However when placed in its Biblical setting and context, in knowledge of future events, this little book takes on a new importance in understanding the manner and means of God’s working in history and through the lives of believers.
God not only works in the large scale but also works in the small and mundane.
He works in the long term and not contingently meeting things as they arise.
Also I would point out that while we moderns are revolted by the sacrificial system attendant on the Old Testament worship of Israel’s God yet when compared to the vain and debauched worship of the heathen who “knew not God” it was not without attraction.
Ruth being a Moabite was probably familiar with the Moabite worship of Chemosh and the vile rites associated with it: this added to the character and witness of Naomi made Israel’s God and His worship attractive and compelling.
Would that we all by our life and witness made Christianity attractive to those outside.
In Christ we find all that is eternally satisfying, yet we still have the old desires for fast satisfaction and worldly pleasure, so it is a constant battle to be forever seeking the better things of God and His kingdom.
Ruth’s marriage to Boaz and subsequent bringing Obed the grandfather of David into the world is not merely a “Happy ever after” ending as a fairy tale would have it.
It shows forth the overruling providence of God in the deliverance and eternal well being of those who place their trust in Him coupled with the unfolding of His eternal plan and providence in the election and Salvation of a people for Himself through the saving work of His Son Jesus Christ.