Ruth 1-2 / Isaiah 44 / Jude
This is what the LORD says—Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."
Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.
Ruth is the message of loyalty and faithfulness not to where and what we came from, nor the people we used to be loyal to as friends, sons and daughters or fathers and mothers. The only loyalty is to the Father, if He has been revealed to us, to His life which we now live as we're being pulled out of that old life and delivered to the new family of all the humans who have loved the Father more than their life. Ruth left her Moabite family and heritage and became an Israelite when she married Naomi's son. According to her, she was pulled out of that life and delivered to the new, which was a permanent thing to her so that even the death of her husband meant that she didn't revert back to the old way. Now she lived in and to the better family; and she worshipped another God. Her vow to her husband was a vow to Naomi, and to the only true God.
I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.
Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.
Kindness, loyalty and faithfulness toward those who are of your true family is the consummate message of what God wants His true sons to understand. The things we used to be loyal to—ourselves, friends, flesh and blood family and all the ways of the humans—conflict with our loyalty to our new family so we cannot do both things. If we try we'll see that it's just a double minded life we're trying to live, and that doesn't work. It's what the Son understood from the Ruth story with which he was quite familiar. To love and take care of his true brothers whom the Father had chosen and revealed to him instead of his own family of flesh and blood brothers was no doubt a sour thing for many to swallow.
Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
They didn't know what the Father had revealed to the Son. They assumed it was according to what they would have been able to accept, what would benefit them since they were the Son's own flesh and blood brothers. The Father doesn't respect what the humans respect, nor does He do things as they would like them to be done, or honor those who are honorable amongst the humans—the responsible ones who obey all the human rules of respectability and honor. The humans can only look at those superficial kinds of things, not at the heart, which is what actually matters. It's more likely that the influence of James in the Jerusalem church was a totally human thing, tolerated by the spirit but not necessarily chosen. Paul, who disputed with him about things, was chosen by the Father and the Son, not the humans.
These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the LORD,
There has always been an increasingly mightier pull within the humans, Israelite or not, to only want to take care of themselves instead of finding out what God's dilemma might be; then once they know being spent as an offering to Him to fulfill His desire in a real way, all the way into the depths of that one's heart where his honesty is seen only by God. That is the picture of Paul, a single-minded man who once he did know, because the truth about the Father and the Son was revealed to him, left all he had to become a nothing to the humans, an outcast, unfamiliar, unrewarded by the humans. All because he knew in the depths of his heart what was true, and he responded to that knowledge with the action of truly responding and accepting what he got in the natural because it didn't matter to him. The only thing that mattered was doing the will of the Father, taking care—in the most obvious and direct way by following the example of the Son—of His sheep, the members of His true family. All because it was real to him, not just a bunch of theory.
The true revealing of the Father to the son is the only way for the life to be real, otherwise it can only be just a bunch of theory about what it might be like if it did happen. The thread that runs through all the generations of the humans, which effectively keeps an animosity intact between them and God, is the nature they're born into and learn to adopt and apply to their lives. In contrast there are those to whom God keeps promising, via the words of the prophets, to redeem from the miserable end of rotting in the ground as any animal would, becoming forever one with the natural creation by that process.
I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.
One will say, 'I belong to the LORD';
another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
Is this Israel? Partially, but not the natural form of Israel, existing as a group of circumcised humans. To God, true Israel was always only those whose hearts were circumcised, whose devotion to Him was stronger than to themselves. The importance of Israel populated by circumcised humans was as the copy, whereby God's true sons could learn the truth about Him and their spiritual birth, what He loved and hated via the words of the prophets. The first sons of God who were a direct result of Jesus' work came from the natural descendants of Jacob. After Jesus became One with the Father, many sons sprouted up like grass where water is all of a sudden available. All of a sudden, meaning in the thirsty land and dry ground, the desert where the humans—the mere animals who aren't God's sons—can't be found.
This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
After Jesus ascended, all of a sudden this new thing happened, that which had been predicted by God's prophets over and over again. All kinds of sons of God started sprouting up—because they were Jews? No, although some came naturally from Jacob. Others will "Take the name Israel" (they didn't have it before). Converted to Judaism and circumcised? With circumcised hearts they are the true sons of God, of which Israel was the copy. True Israel is God's intention from the beginning, at which natural Israel, by and large populated by humans, only pointed. Out of the temporary, dying creation, the race of humans who live and die like all animals do, He will pull out a sliver of people all His own, for His will, purpose and pleasure—to be members of His family which will be with Him forever. That is what became Paul's life, once the reality was revealed to him. His life is the image of the model son, whose life was modeled after an even better example.
I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Many sons were born and given the "Firstfruits of the spirit," just after the Son went to the Father. They "Sprung up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams," as per Isaiah's prediction. That is the miracle of what happened in the first century, though they were still waiting for something better to come—not in this world, ruled by the obstacle to what they yearned for.
Remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
As many sons quickly sprang up in celebration of the Son's work, the spirit also told them what was coming—the period of darkness when the truth of those sons would go into Babylon, and a darkness would cover the earth, as that truth would be removed from it. It would happen because of men, following their natural instincts (the dictates of their animal natures), would take the truth and make it for their own purposes, to fulfill their instinctual dictates to build themselves up and accomplish their will and purpose in the earth. Along with the truth, the life of God living in the bodies of men went away too, because the Father has been living with and enjoying the Son who is now with Him.
This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers.
The words of the Father's servants can all be summarized and found in the Son, by whose life they will be redeemed. Those are the words we keep repeating and reinforcing, because they were planted in us as seeds, and now they are growing, and will fulfill God's purpose, even in this tiny slice of the natural creation within which we're existing. God's servants and messengers past and present all point to him, and their predictions are fulfilled in him, because by him God's purpose and desire is being fulfilled. What He began and intended with Adam is the clue about what He's doing in the earth—to have His family of sons and daughters who will be with Him where He is, for His delight, purpose and pleasure; to love and receive love from.
When the Son, at whom all the prophets point, lived his life to God, accomplished his work, then went to the Father to become One with Him, he was the will and purpose of God. He continued to be, because he became pure spirit, as the Father always was; so he could live in the bodies of those who love him, and who are called according to his purpose—taking over the Father's work as a good Son is expected to do.
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
"Conformed to the likeness of his Son," denotes that God's true sons are not like the other humans because they are, as we keep reiterating in these writings, not mere animals. They can't be from the stock of humans and be sons of God too, which is a double-minded thing to even try to do and can't be done. It's simple, yet impossible to understand if one is a merely human, if the secret and hidden reality of the Father hasn't been revealed. That's how God keeps His inheritance untarnished by the billions of animals which spring up on the earth and live out their existences only to expire and become no more for His legitimate sons' sake.
Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
We are God's servants and messengers; our words will be carried out and our predictions will be fulfilled only because the great prophet lives in us to teach us the words of God. Those are the words we write down and include here, not as we stand by our own effort, or by anything we figured out, or made up from any knowledge we didn't possess. We know what's in us without that life—a pitiful, unclean, temporary existence in which we live and die solitarily unto ourselves, in our own little bubble of self-love as all animals do all the time. What is our message and prediction? That God will have His family, and they will all be gathered to Him, pulled from the dying race of animals and redeemed from the earth, their temporary inheritance—their little piece of ground they would otherwise rot in, forgotten forever.
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
We're not anything except a dead animal which has had the spiritual (secret, hidden) seed of life planted inside it, which is something we need to remember. It's by the nature of the Son, the spirit, the life of God who lives in us to teach us and keep us until we're redeemed. Otherwise we're merely abandoned to following our natural instincts because we do not have the spirit to guide us into the new and better way.
Our hatred for the ways of the animal nature grows as we become more filled with the awareness that it is the thing which keeps us barred from a knowledge of the Father. It gets in the way if we are a slave to it, and there can be no other relationship with it except as a slave. It cannot be our friend. We see how much it controls us, not just in theory but in actual terms—trying to get to the Father but being held back by the disease and uncleanness of our flesh, the things we are in a prison to.
Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
We are aware that we don't just get magically transported to that place that the land represents in the OT accounts. Rather, it's a long, drawn-out plodding along the path that leads to Him. Each day we get closer, as within each one there is a living and a dying, then another redemption from the death comes. Each time we know a tiny bit more, and are a tiny bit closer. Each day we have to patiently endure as we comprehend the futility of the old life, and learn to choose the new way to our new Father.
Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
They know nothing, they understand nothing;
No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say,
"Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?"