The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Month: February, 2015

Lent Devotional: Ruth 2:1-23

Ruth 2:1-23 (click here)
Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” (Ruth 2:10-12)

Reflection
Boaz showed Ruth grace…favor that she had not earned.

She wanted to know why? Why was she the recipient of such unwarranted kindness? Not only had she done nothing to earn it, but there were plenty of reasons for Boaz to withhold such grace…the primary one being that she was a foreigner, an outsider…she didn’t belong.

But Boaz showed Ruth grace…favor that she had not earned.

Why? He gave her a reason, and we might be tempted to think he is listing off reasons that she has earned his favor. He’s heard of all she has done, namely, the kindness she has displayed toward her mother-in-law. He even says, “The Lord repay you for what you have done.” Isn’t this the language of have earned something?

No. Boaz is showing Ruth grace…favor that she has not earned.

This can be seen in the final words of Boaz. His hope is that she be rewarded by the God of Israel, under whose wings she has sought refuge! You see, in leaving behind her family and her homeland to take care of her mother-in-law, Ruth was ultimately expressing faith and allegiance to the Lord. She trusted him to take care of her. God had given her eyes to see the refuge she could take under his wings. She was expressing FAITH. Grace comes to us, not via earning, but through faith!

God is showing Ruth grace through her faith…favor that she has not earned, but received by faith.

The “reward” of faith, the “payment” of faith, is grace! She trusted the Lord and he saved her via Boaz. She has been saved by grace coming to her through faith. It is the same for us. We, the foreigners and outsiders…God grants us eyes of faith to see the refuge we can take under his wings… and we throw ourselves on the mercy of God, trusting in him and him alone.

And God shows us grace through our faith…favor that we did not earn.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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Lent Devotional: Judges 2:11-19

Judges 2:11-19 (click here)
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals.

So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them.

Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. (Judges 2:11, 14, and 16-17)

Reflection
So quickly…so quickly we turn from the Lord.

The people of Israel had not been in the Promised Land long at all before they began turning from the Lord to serve the gods of those who had inhabited the land before them. Yet, the speed of their unfaithfulness is not the truly amazing thing. What is amazing is the speed of God’s faithfulness.

So quickly…so quickly we receive grace from the Lord.

Yes, the people of Israel experienced God’s just judgment as he turned them over to plunderers. But even in this he was being faithful to his Word, for he had promised this very response to such rebellion.

Yet, he never abandoned his people. He graciously raised up judges, warriors, saviors for this rebellious undeserving people. They would continue to quickly turn from the Lord and he would continue to quickly show grace.

This is our story…is it not? Oh how quickly we turn from the Lord, and yes, as his children we may experience his good, faithful disciplining hand…but even that is a great grace! Oh how quickly we receive grace from the Lord through the savior he has raised up for us…through Jesus.

We may be quick to turn from the Lord…but the Lord is quicker to turn to us in grace.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Joshua 9:1-27

Joshua 9:1-27 (click here)
Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.

Joshua summoned them, and he said to them, “Why did you deceive us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you dwell among us?

They answered Joshua, “Because it was told to your servants for a certainty that the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you—so we feared greatly for our lives because of you and did this thing. And now, behold, we are in your hand. Whatever seems good and right in your sight to do to us, do it.” So he did this to them and delivered them out of the hand of the people of Israel, and they did not kill them. (Joshua 9:15, 22, 24-26)

Reflection
This is one of the more interesting stories in the Old Testament, and it really doesn’t get that much attention because people don’t know what to make of it.

God had commissioned his people to take the land of Canaan. They were not to make peace with any of the lands inhabitants for they were all falling under the just judgment of God for their sin.

However, the Gibeonites deceived the people of Israel into thinking they lived far away. So, Israel made a covenant with Gibeon. They soon discovered the dishonesty of the Gibeonites, but remained true to the covenant they had made.

Covenant is the key.

Grace was extended to the Gibeonites through a covenant. The Gibeonites certainly didn’t deserve it… nor had they earned it. In fact, they were deceivers, liars, and tricksters. Why should Israel be bound to keep it’s word with such people?

Because it was a covenant and there was supposed to be no stronger promise than that.

God’s grace toward us in Jesus is known as the new covenant. It is a promise of God’s unmerited favor toward us, not because of us, but because of Jesus.

We certainly don’t deserve such grace… nor have we earned it. In fact, we could be called deceivers, liars, tricksters, and many other applicable things. Why should God be bound to keep his word with such people?

Because his grace comes to us as a covenant through Christ… and there is no stronger promise than that.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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