Ruth: 3:1-9; a study on chesed – our Lord’s use of the word.
Title: Ruth: 3:1-9; a study on chesed – our Lord’s use of the word.
The love of Christ is needed by fallen men. The mercy of Christ is needed by fallen men. And then, only with that, could they follow His law (law of Christ, law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus).
Mat 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners?"
Mat 9:12 But when He heard this [everything whispered will be shouted from the rooftops], He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.
Mat 9:13 "But go and learn what this means, 'I desire compassion[eleos], and not sacrifice,'for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
We have seen the principle of obedience over sacrifice, and that is just what chesed or eleos is, obedience to the law of God in loving one another as He has loved us. Samuel said that to Saul. David repeated it in Psa 40. I have come to do Your will, O God.
Ironically, chesed demands sacrifice, but not sacrificing something or someone else, but yourself, your own heart, your own life.
The Pharisee would boast of his tithing, his offering of money, his many offerings of animals, but these are external to him. He gave what he could afford to, but he never gave of himself. He never set aside his own happiness so that someone else could benefit. He never sacrificed himself, and that is just what mercy is. I pray that we all would see this with crystal clarity. Do not put it off.Do not wait. There are abundant opportunities all around you. Lose your life that you may find it.
Christ flat out insults their learned reputations. “Go and learn what this means…” This is not a foreign saying to them. They eat, sleep, and breath the Torah, the prophets, and the writings, and this quote is right out of the scroll of the later prophets which they have practically memorized, especially this popular line.
It is shock for them to be addressed in this way by anyone, let alone a humble rabbi from a nowhere place like Nazareth, which is all they see Him as.
God says that He desires chesed in us – sacrificial mercy.
Joh 15:8 "By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
Joh 15:9 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
Joh 15:10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.
Joh 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
Joh 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
Joh 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
Joh 15:14 "You are My friends, if you do what I command you.
Joh 15:15 "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Not just any mercy, but His mercy. In the church we have the Holy Spirit within us to make this a reality. Chesed/eleos would well sum up the fruit of the Spirit, for every part of that fruit would fit under the heading of this word, much like agape love, which is its sister. We are blessed if we know it and do it. We must stick out necks out there and do it in trust and faith.
“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.”
Sacrifice would well refer to overt rules that anyone may follow. It would refer to going through some motion of conduct simply for the sake of doing it, but without inward love, compassion, or mercy. We do follow rules, but we do them as those who are alive and our rules are much more like characteristics of that life than they are actions alone. I would do for you and sacrifice for you because the love of God is filling my heart rather than just doing the same thing in the vein of following a procedure like a recipe.
When our hearts are filled with love, our mercy is actually premeditated as well as spontaneous.
Heb 10:19 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,
He is the way, new and alive.
Heb 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
Heb 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
We’ve got to follow the way if our hearts are going to have a clean conscience rather than an evil one, and we have been handed everything we need to do it.
Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
Heb 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
Heb 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
Is being a believer, in OT Israel or as a Christian in the church, only adherence to rules? We do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but do we withhold mercy from those who do?
Our Lord does not stand aloof from the sinners as the Pharisees did. He did not participate in their unfruitful deeds of darkness, but through His mercy He exposed them for the darkness they were and in mercy He extended salvation to all of them.
We do not participate in sin, but do we extend sacrificial mercy to those who do? Do we extend sacrificial mercy to all of our Christian brethren? The workers are few and so there are an abundant amount of opportunities.
The gospel is the cure for sin. We carry it. Should we avoid the sick? “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.”
Jesus didn’t become a tax-collector, nor did He participate in the sins of the sinners who attended Levi’s dinner. They served Him their best food, and He brought mercy and devotion to the table. Due to His own chesed, Jesus was willing to lay down His life and suffer horribly so that everyone there could have life and victory over sin and death.
Can we imagine Jesus looking in the eyes of every man He saw knowing that He was going to die in the place of that man?
The duty of keeping aloof from the polluted, in the sense of "having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness," is obvious enough; but to understand this as prohibiting such contact with them as is necessary to their recovery, is to abuse it. This was what these pharisaical religionists did, and this is what our Lord here exposes.
Mat 9:12 But when He heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.
Mat 9:13 "But go and learn what this means, 'I desire compassion [eleos], and not sacrifice, 'for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Jesus says, “Go and learn what this means,” and He quotes Hos 6:6.
Hos 6:4What shall I do with you, O Ephraim [Northern kingdom]?
What shall I do with you, O Judah [Southern kingdom]?
For your loyalty [chesed] is like a morning cloud,
And like the dew which goes away early.
Hos 6:5 Therefore I have hewn them in pieces by the prophets;
I have slain them by the words of My mouth;
And the judgments on you are like the light that goes forth.
Hos 6:6 For I delight in loyalty [chesed] rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.