Tuesday May 1, 2018
Title: Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - an excellent wife and an excellent home.
All of us were exiled from the Garden of Eden. Israel was exiled to Babylon and then later exiled to the nations of the world. Exile is a major theme in the Bible narrative and the instance of it in history is a picture of every creature, for every one of us has been exiled away from God. Christ came so that He could show us the way home.
GEN 11:1 Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.
GEN 11:2 And it came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
GEN 11:3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly." And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.
GEN 11:4 And they said, "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."
GEN 11:5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
GEN 11:6 And the Lord said, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.
“nothing will be impossible” is in reference to projects designed to foster unity. They will simply build structures and create governments in the hope of creating unity.
GEN 11:7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."
GEN 11:8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.
GEN 11:9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.
Our first great structure as independent mankind was the Tower of Babel. The intent was to make a city and a tower that represented the name that we gave ourselves, so that, the trend of disunity within each of us would be overcome and we would be unified. The fact that we tried to do something without God to maintain unity reveals that we were already broken within. Each of us as fallen creatures were already disunified within ourselves making unity with one another impossible and only creating conflict with each other and within our own souls.
When God confused out language and scattered us, He was only speeding along the inevitable, and He was creating more fertile fields for the gospel. Unity in man would not come through his attempt at remaining bonded to his fellow man.
Inwardly, unity was destroyed by sin and independence from God. Man sought to build a home that would unify his inward self.
Man’s error in the plain of Shinar was to think that outward unity, having a shared name or structure, would heal his inward conflict and sinful isolation and separation from God and his fellow man. Man will only have isolation in his present fallen state. Mankind continues to fix himself in the same way. It is a home of his own making.
Consequently, the undertaking, dictated by pride, to preserve and consolidate by outward means the unity which was inwardly lost, could not be successful.
God’s intervention was not to so much to punish man for this attempt, which his pride definitely warranted, but to help him to see that his solution was vain.
Only God has an eternal name and therefore inward unity.
Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses,
Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, … ?
Everyone born into this world eventually feels this inward brokenness and lack of unity. He lacks unity within himself and with his fellow man. The whole cause is his disunity with his Creator.
All of us try what they did in Babel, but usually on a much smaller scale.
We have each made for ourselves a home in which we tried to get along reasonably well and find happiness and peace, but those desired things never came to us.
We built our own homes, which are really our own lives. What each of us thinks is going to bring us peace, security, and happiness varies over a wide spectrum, but all of it is doomed to failure. Some think it is a type of personality or a profession, some think it is tied to fame or success, others think it is found in being left alone, or in family, or in wealth or entertainment or in lusts fulfilled. We have all attempted our own tower of Babel.
Ironically, all of us lived in an exile of our own making, and so many still do.
It fascinates me to consider the isolation of man from God and from his fellow man. It is so plainly revealed how he attempts to correct it, but no matter what he does to connect with his neighbor and with God, he eventually crawls back into his lonely, self-made abode.
Fittingly, after writing about the isolation of man, I almost immediately came across an article entitled: “New Cigna study reveals loneliness at epidemic levels in America.” Cigna is a global health service company who recently conducted a survey exploring the impact of loneliness in the United States.
One of the most interesting things that the study found was that heavy use of social media did not seem to have a significant impact. Roughly the same amount of people who did and did not use social media were lonely and without meaningful relationships.
Some other points that were determined in the study:
*Only around half of Americans (53 percent) have meaningful in-person social interactions, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family, on a daily basis.
*Generation Z (adults ages 18-22) is the loneliest generation and claims to be in worse health than older generations.
The study found that people who have meaningful, daily relationships are healthier mentally and physically. Unfortunately, however, the study did not ask or seek the connection of religion to the issue. Cigna offers solutions that are entirely worldly. These will not work and only serve to give people hope where there is none.
Home is not a place. Home is Christ.
Even when Israel (Judah) returned home from Babylonian captivity, nothing much changed in their home or their homemaking, for they continued in their old ways and matured this ungodly way to the point where they were able to crucify the Lord of glory.
The Son of God went into exile along side us so He could show us the way home.
Man was to rule the earth. The best of us failed. Christ became a man and so became the only one qualified to rule. Man was to spread out over the whole earth and fill it, and as he did so he was to remain unified to his fellow man in brotherly love, in which all worshipped the one true God, loving Him and so loving one another. Yet the first brother murdered his own kin.
Christ not only unified us to the Father through His cross, but He unified us to one another.
Christ unified us to the Father and made us a home in heaven, which exists in our hearts now. He also unified us with one another in the royal family of God.
We can see how asinine and out of character it is for us to cause division or to not commune with God consistently. We are to be unified in love. We can see how important this is. When we are not, we are like Babel, like fallen man, like alone, isolated, afraid man. Christ has set us free!
JOH 13:31 When therefore he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;
JOH 13:32 if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.
JOH 13:33 "Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You shall seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, I now say to you also, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.'
JOH 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
JOH 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
JOH 13:36 Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered, "Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you shall follow later."
JOH 13:37 Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You."
JOH 13:38 Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a cock shall not crow, until you deny Me three times.
JOH 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
JOH 14:2 "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
14:3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
14:4 "And you know the way where I am going."
One would think He was saying that we know of some secret pathway through a hidden door that will take us to heaven, but He is not.
Thomas steps up and states what all of us would have wanted to say:
JOH 14:5 Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?"
JOH 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
His way, His truth, His life clothing us, today, right now, is our home. Someday sight and faith will be the same, but until then, we must walk by faith, if we do, we see our beautiful home.
This is why the believer is to have a heart full of peace and joy by just being; for he is clothed with his home everywhere he goes. “I am with you to the ends of the earth.”
He said to the disciples that they could not follow Him to where He was going, but that He would return and receive them to Himself. He returned to them in resurrection body and promised them that the Holy Spirit would come upon them and that they would be clothed with Him. They asked in anticipation, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Not quite yet My friends.
They spent many years after this chained to this world. Were they homeless as aliens and strangers in a world that was no longer theirs?
He uses the same word in vs. 23 as He did in vs. 2. In My Father’s house are many “dwelling places.” This seems to be in heaven only, but in vs. 23, “We will make our abode with him,” is certainly speaking of now, in time.
Don’t miss this.
The abode, made for you by Christ in heaven, exists in the heart of every believer who loves and obeys the Lord.
JOH 14:7 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."
JOH 14:8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."
JOH 14:9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, 'Show us the Father'?
JOH 14:10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
JOH 14:11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves.
JOH 14:12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.
Jesus was just warming up during His first advent. He would empower the church to continue to the work to its completion.
JOH 14:13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
JOH 14:14 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
JOH 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
JOH 14:16 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
JOH 14:17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.
JOH 14:18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
JOH 14:19 "After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live [resurrection], you shall live also.
JOH 14:20 "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
JOH 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him."
JOH 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?"
JOH 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.
“abode” - mone = a place to stay (used also in vs. 2). The condition is loving Him and so keeping His word. The soul could not look like a home of Christ’s making if these did not abide in it.
Every believer is in Christ and Christ is in him. Jesus desires that we be at home in our heavenly abode while we sojourn in this world. The soul is made ready for the love of Christ at the moment of salvation. The world cannot know Him or His Holy Spirit, but the believer has been made new. We don’t earn this heart or soul by our doing His will.
If I may use the analogy, the will of Christ decorates the home already made by God. God gives us a heart that loves His will. Though we struggle at times with temptation and sin, we have been set free from it. We have laid aside the old man and put on the new. Everything is in place for us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
JOH 14:24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.
Before they made it all the way home, Jesus Christ put His home in their hearts. Though we are not in heaven, believers have their true home in their hearts.
Christ is at home in our hearts through faith.
Home is not just a place it is a way. It is a way of life that is quite opposite of what we thought made our place in this earthen family before we came to know Christ.
No matter where we are, in a place called home or in exile, without Christ there is a feeling of alienation and longing for something more. Even as Christians we find this longing surface in ourselves, and when it does, we long for a closer relationship with Christ.
This is why Jesus appealed to the outcasts when He was fulfilling His ministry, the sinners and tax-collectors in Israel. He told us that if we were poor in spirit, insulted, persecuted, and outcast that we were blessed. We were blessed because He gave us His kingdom in response to our faith.