Archive for August, 2012

ISRAEL – Miracle of God

“I will keep My eyes on them for their good and will return them to this land. I will build them up and not demolish them; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord. They will be My people, and I will be their God because they will return to Me with all their heart. “(Jeremiah 24:6, 7 HCSB)

Anyone who has taken a careful (and honest) examination of History and God’s dealing with Nations must acknowledge that Israel as a Nation is the miracle of God in the earth. Their history as a Nation points to the divine reality.   As recorded in Scriptures,from the time of God’s call to Abraham (Genesis 12) and His covenant promise to raise up and deliver his people from slavery and oppression we note the “Hand of God” actively engineering their destiny. This did not occur overnight…God fulfilled His words to Abraham 400 years after his death! (Genesis 15:13-14)

After they are set free from Egyptian bondage, God makes Himself known to Israel and takes the entire Nation to be His chosen and special treasure in the earth (See Exodus 19:1-5). But there is a curious record weaved in the Hebrew scriptures (Which makes the reality of their divine inspiration all the more convincing)…They, as a people, time and again strayed away in their relation to the true and living God. Their history has been in the natural, a checkered past with the LORD.  But miracle of miracles; He never gave up on them as His people! At times He disciplined them severely, but in the end He has always kept a remnant for His own Name sake(Read Psalm 106).  I believe we are living in the most extraordinary time in history when we will witness God’s ultimate fulfillment of His word to His people.

THE SET TIME

The psalmist recorded that there would come a unique moment for Israel.

“But You, Lord, are enthroned forever.

Your fame [endures] to all generations.

You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,

for it is time to show favor to her-

the appointed time has come.

For Your servants take delight in its stones

and favor in its dust.

Then the nations will fear the name of Yahweh,

and all the kings of the earth Your glory,

for the Lord will rebuild Zion.

He will appear in His glory.

He will pay attention to the prayer of the destitute,

And will not despise their prayer.

This will be written for a later generation,

And a newly created people will praise the Lord.

He looked down from His holy heights-

the Lord gazed out from heaven to earth-

to hear a prisoner’s groaning,

to set free those condemned to die,

so that they might declare

the name of Yahweh in Zion,

and His praise in Jerusalem”. (Psalm 102:12-21 HCSB)

 

The prophet Jeremiah confirms the sovereign ways of God with His people.  In chapter 24 of Jeremiah, he is given a vision of “bad figs”, which were so bad they could not be eaten”. This was a metaphor representing the spiritual condition of many of God’s people who refused to walk in His ways.  But Jeremiah also saw “good figs” that were representative of a faithful remnant. God always preserves for Himself those who love and obey His word.  They are likened to a fruit of great delight to the King.(Read Amos 7;14-15)

FRUIT OF THE KINGDOM

God always desires that His people will bear fruit that bears witness to His Kingdom come in the earth. Yeshua (Jesus) said (hundreds of years after Jeremiah) to His disciples, “You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you, that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. (John 15:14-16 HCSB). Although many today are “seeking after gifts” from God, fewer are seeking the fruit of righteousness in their lives. Jesus said that we are like trees.  A tree is ultimately judged by the fruit it produces. Does the fruit in your life evidence of a good tree or a bad tree?  Yeshua(Jesus) said,”Every tree is known by his own fruit”(Luke 6:44a).  In other words, Don’t be fooled by people’s words, but judge them by the fruit of their actions. I am reminded of a story of a friend of mine who had gone down town to do some “Street Evangelism”. He carried a variety of gospel tracts in order to give them to people he met along the way. One day he came upon a man who was obviously in spiritual need. After greeting him and engaging him in conversation, he placed a tract in his hand, to which the man promptly handed back the tract.  My friend was a little taken aback at how quickly the man returned the tract… until he heard these words, “I can’t read your tract, but I’ll watch your tracks”.   My friend never forgot the incident. He realized that People don’t want to merely “read our tracts”…They want to see the fruit of faith and reality  in our lives.   Again, the words of Yeshua, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”. (Matthew 5:16 HCSB)

SOVEREIGN CHOICE & FREE WILL

Returning back to  Jeremiah Chapter 24. The LORD God gives 5 “I WILL’S” of His sovereign choice of His people Israel, which I believe are applicable to this hour.

(1) “I will keep My eyes on them for good”.

(2) “I will build them up”.

(3) “I will plant them (in their Land), and none will uproot them”.

(4) “I will give them a heart to know Me”.

(5) “I will be their God”.

God in His sovereignty has made known His choice and purposes for His people Israel; but He waits for their response.  In other words, He will respond because of their free choice to follow Him as their God.  He has declared, “I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord. They will be My people, and I will be their God because they will return to Me with all their heart. (Jeremiah 24:7b HCSB)

In this Season of “Teshuvah”(Turning or returning to the LORD), may we each make our choice for Him. May we be like those that the prophet Isaiah saw and declared, “The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward”. (Isaiah 37:31 HCSB)

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be shared free of charge provided that it is not altered from its original content. Address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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THE ROMANCE OF REDEMPTION(PT. 4)

“The elders and all the people who were at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is entering your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built the house of Israel. May you be powerful in Ephrathah and famous in Bethlehem.”(Ruth 4:11 HCSB)

In order for Boaz to marry Ruth he had to observe an age old custom in Israel in his day, removing any “contenders”. It was the kinsman redeemer who had the right to redeem (acquire by purchase) the land of a near relative. It was a legally binding transaction done at the gate.

AT THE GATE

The gate symbolized the place of authority of the elders where decisions and justice was to prevail. The gate was also the place where access to entrance was made into the city. Watchmen were posted at the gate to announce who was approaching the city; friend? foe? or the king?  Likewise, the LORD has His Watchmen, Elders of the Cities awakening to a new sense of alertness and responsibility to what comes into their city. Also how is business for His kingdom operating in cities and regions. Consider some of the following scriptures. “Doesn’t Wisdom call out? Doesn’t Understanding make her voice heard? At the heights overlooking the road, at the crossroads, she takes her stand. Beside the gates at the entry to the city, at the main entrance, she cries out”.(Proverbs 8:1-3 HCSB)  Here we see wisdom is personified as one who sits at the gate calling for those to seek her out to know God’s ways. Godly wisdom comes from godly leaders who can help us face challenges in our city and Nation.

“Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen on your walls; they will never be silent, day or night. There is no rest for you, who remind the Lord. Do not give Him rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem the praise of the earth. ” (Isaiah 62:6, 7 HCSB)  Here we see that one of the roles of the watchmen in these last days is to keep praying and reminding God of His faithful promises toward His people Israel. We must never forget that one of the great mysteries is that The LORD God created man in the earth to partner with Him in His divine plans. He has ever desired a special people for His Name sake. We are to be reminded that inspite of her past waywardness and “scattering” throughout the world that God has promised in His covenant faithful to “Gather His people back into their land”(Read : Jeremiah 31; Deuteronomy 30:1-6).  The “set time to favor Zion has come”. Let faithful intercessors lift up their voices and cry out to God to fulfill His words for His people, Israel.

THE PRICE OF REDEMPTION

When Boaz made known that the terms of redemption for the land of Elimilech included Ruth the Moabite…the near kinsman redeemer wasn’t willing to pay the price. “The redeemer replied, “I can’t redeem it myself, or I will ruin my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption, because I can’t redeem it.” (Ruth 4:6 HCSB).  He did not want his inheritance identified with a Moabite. Perhaps he thought about his reputation or image in the community. Or maybe his legal religious sensibilities got in there way, recalling that the LORD God had announced that “No Moabite was to enter His presence to the tenth generation”(Ruth incidentally was of the tenth generation). For Boaz the price was not too high a price to pay.  He would purchase the land of his ancestor raising up his brother’s name in the land and marry Ruth out of his love for her.  Yeshua (Jesus) likewise is our Kinsman-Redeemer. He came to redeem us on the earth from its curse and to purchase for Himself a Bride.  John the beloved wrote,”After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, Who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell face down before the throne and worshiped God, saying: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen. Then one of the elders asked me, “Who are these people robed in white, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white In the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His sanctuary. The One seated on the throne will shelter them: They will no longer hunger; they will no longer thirst; the sun will no longer strike them, nor will any heat. For the Lamb who is at the center of the throne will shepherd them; He will guide them to springs of living waters, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:9-17 HCSB) Hallelujah! Our Redeemer purchased us for Himself.

THE LINE of DAVID

God honored Boaz in redeeming and marrying Ruth the Moabite.  Through her He gave him a son whose lineage became a part of the lineage of David, the king, through whose lineage came Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. Matthew the writer of the Gospel to the Hebrews includes this lineage (Read Matthew 1:1-16), proving that Jesus was a direct descendant of David and a true son of Abraham.   Matthew also seems to be making another suggestive point for we Believers in Yeshua.  Ruth’s (along with “Rahab the harlot”) name is mentioned among the lineage, reminding us that they did not get there by their RACE but by the GRACE of God through faith in His Name.  Awesome God!

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

THE ROMANCE OF REDEMPTION(Pt. 3)

“Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, shouldn’t I find security for you, so that you will be taken care of? Now isn’t Boaz our relative? Haven’t you been working with his female servants? This evening he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on [perfumed] oil, and wear your [best] clothes. Go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let the man know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. “(Ruth 3:1-3 HCSB)

We noted the spiritual journey which Ruth the Moabitess made in following Naomi back to her homeland of Bethlehem-Judah. There was a visitation of God giving His people bread after a harsh famine depleted their food supply. We are hearing the wonderful news today from many quarters of the fact that many are turning to the Lord God, seeking for the true bread of life. John the beloved records an incident after Jesus had fed the five thousand men, along with the women and children. The crowds followed after Him to get more of a miracle of food. Jesus, discerning their true intent, redirects their focus to the purpose for which He had come into the world. “Don’t work for the food that perishes, but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.” For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always!” “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. (John 6:27, 33-35 HCSB)

TRUE BREAD

We are living in times of spiritual famine and malnourishment. The prophet Amos records in his day that a day like this would come. “Hear this! The days are coming for the declaration of the Lord God-when I will send a famine through the land: not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11 HCSB). This is not due to lack of Bible information in many places where people gather in the name of the Lord. Rather it is because the letter of the Word is often given with no giving forth of the Word of life, which can only come by the Spirit of life. Thus many have been trained in preaching and teaching as technique but they do not as Paul said “have the Mind of Christ”. Thus traditions apart from God are ministered, or that which comes from a “carnal mind” or natural reasoning. Jesus is raising up those who will be servants of His Word, ministering not in the confidence of the flesh, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. True bread can only be prepared when we have prepared ourselves by being in God’s presence; applying ourselves in prayer and study of the Scriptures by the help of the Holy Spirit our Teacher and Guide. He alone can make Jesus Christ known to us.

PREPARE YOURSELF

Ruth continued to work in the field of Boaz and he took note of her. Naomi, no doubt, took notice as well. And like a good Jewish woman began to play “matchmaker”, albeit her efforts were of the LORD God–the ultimate Matchmaker. She instructed Ruth to prepare herself to go down to the threshing floor where the barley harvest was being brought in. She was instructed not to go down merely as a hired hand, but as one who was seeking redemption, knowing that Boaz was indeed a kinsman-redeemer. Naomi’s instruction to Ruth are applicable for those today who desired to be noticed and sought after by Yeshua (Jesus) our “Kinsman-redeemer”. Peter said, “For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was chosen before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the times for you “(1 Peter 1:18-20 HCSB).

Like Ruth we can’t approach our Lord any way we choose. We must “wash ourselves” as Paul wrote, “Therefore, dear friends, since we have such promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, completing our sanctification in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1 HCSB) Again, like Ruth, we must “change our garments and anoint ourselves” as our Lord commands. “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes, so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see.” (Revelation 3:18 HCSB)

Spiritual preparation is a costly affair in this hour, but it is nothing compared to what it cost Yeshua, our Savior. He gave His very life as an expression of His love for us. This life is a call to prepare for our eternal state. Like Ruth, we understand that it is not merely to work in the field of the master, but to be married to the man of the field.

(c) Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

ROMANCE OF REDEMPTION(Pt. 2)

“May the LORD reward you for what you have done, and may you receive a full reward from the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”(Ruth 2:12 HCSB)

The Book of Ruth holds a unique place in the Scriptures for we Gentile believers. It is the only Book in the Old Covenant writings that celebrates the life of one who became a part of the Jewish community. Further still, she is listed in the very lineage of Jesus the Messiah. Matthew’s Gospel records, “Jesus Christ came from the family of King David and also from the family of Abraham. And this is a list of his ancestors. From Abraham to King David, his ancestors were:
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his brothers (Judah’s sons were Perez and Zerah, and their mother was Tamar), Hezron;
Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz (his mother was Rahab), Obed (his mother was Ruth), Jesse, and King David.
From the exile to the birth of Jesus, his ancestors were:
Jehoiachin, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim;
Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is called the Messiah.
There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David. There were also fourteen from David to the exile in Babylonia and fourteen more to the birth of the Messiah.” (Matthew 1:1, 2, 12, 17 CEVUK)
Perhaps Ruth’s celebrated place among the lineage of David had something to do with her heart of hearts. She was one who had heard from her mother in law (And friend) concerning the one true and living God. As a friend of Naomi she clung to her, purposing to follow and know her God. In Ruth’s story believe there is another endearing quality about her…
RUTH SERVED
When She arrived in her new homeland,Bethlehem-Judah, she didn’t just hang out with the local women or stay idle at Naomi’s house. Rather, she chose to employ herself for her mother-in-law and friend. She went out to the fields because it was the time of the barley harvest! She was serving with God’s people in the midst of the Feast of Shavuot(Pentecost). Likewise, those who were in the Upper room(Acts 2) were together “waiting on the Lord”. The very term “waiting” in the Hebrew language concept can be misunderstood. We must not think of the idea of waiting as inactivity but actively waiting in service. The psalmist understood this when he wrote,”I lift my eyes to You, the One enthroned in heaven. Like a servant’s eyes on his master’s hand, like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand, so our eyes are on the Lord our God until He shows us favor.” (Psalm 123:1, 2 HCSB)
Ruth served in the field and was noticed by the man of the field, Boaz.
“So Ruth left and entered the field to gather [grain] behind the harvesters. She happened to be in the portion of land belonging to Boaz, who was from Elimelech’s family. Boaz asked his servant who was in charge of the harvesters, “Whose young woman is this?” (Ruth 2:3, 5 HCSB)
It is easy to be noticed when you are serving the right One for the right reason.
Boaz’s name means “fleeting”. He quickly noticed this Moabitess in his field. I am sure that her outward beauty was appealing but that is not what captured his attention. Because news travels fast(Even back then!), he had heard that Naomi, one of his kinfolk had returned to the land and her personal property with a foreigner for a daughter in law. But when he saw how she diligently served in his field…he was taken with the virtue of her character. “So Ruth left and entered the field to gather [grain] behind the harvesters. She happened to be in the portion of land belonging to Boaz, who was from Elimelech’s family.
Boaz asked his servant who was in charge of the harvesters, “Whose young woman is this?” (Ruth 2:3, 5 HCSB) She was there gathering grain for Naomi and their needs. But God had in mind so much more. Boaz instructed her to stay and labor in his field, assuring her that she had no need to FEAR or WANT. Likewise, our LORD gives similar promises to those who will serve in His field. “For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His.” (2 Chronicles 16:9 a HCSB).
RIGHT PRIORITY
Ruth while serving was being prepared for her future in the LORD God. The scriptures teach us that if we are faithful in our service in His kingdom we will be rewarded in this life as well as in the life to come. The wise Solomon wrote, “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit in the field; and afterwards build thine house”(Prov. 24:27 KJV). When we seek to serve the Lord Jesus'(Yeshua’s) interest as our true priority, He our King takes notice of our needs. This is not because we ask but in confirmation that we have grown in our spiritual maturity. It is not about us, it is all about Him. In essence, He says, “You take care of My Family business and I will take of your family business”. That’s how it works.
Our Lord said,”So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:31-34 HCSB)

(c) Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher. All rights are reserved. This article may be copied and shared provided it is not sold or changed in any way from its original content.