The Church Today…

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Tim. 4:1-8

This entire portion of scripture ties in together.  When Paul tells Timothy:

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day”

he is telling him to do exactly what he did in order to receive what he will receive from God at his death. In other words, there is no other way for a preacher to fight the good fight than to do what Paul tells Timothy to do here, i.e., to

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (v.2); and to

“watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” (v.5)

There is no short-cut to heaven.

More precisely, however, for our purposes today, let us zero in on verses 3 and 4; and, especially the phrase:

“For the time will come”.

In other words, the Apostle Paul is telling Timothy that it is not all times that people – God’s people – will turn their backs on sound doctrine in this manner. Even at the time when Paul was writing this there were false apostles, false prophets and all kinds of counterfeit preachers of the gospel. These people have been there throughout the entire history of the church, ever since Adam.

What Paul is talking of here is not a cranky preacher here and there; rather he is referring to something vastly monumental. He is referring to a time where the church as a whole (or at least most of it) will be overcome by the lusts of their flesh but, in order to keep a semblance of ‘church’, they will bring in preachers who will read from the Bible but who will preach/interpret scripture according to the lusts of the flesh. These preachers themselves will be men (and women) who have no heavenly agenda in them; their lives are centered on filling their bellies.

The Apostle here, by the power of the Holy Spirit, predicts a time in the future when God’s people will, wholesale and actively,

“not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (vs. 3-4)

The “they” Paul is talking of here is the church. The Bible explicitly says that God’s people will not endure sound doctrine! That’s incredible, to say the least.

Now, about the “time” that Paul is alluding to here. I very much doubt whether that “time” is not now. When you turn on Christian TV today, what do you see? Can you sincerely claim to find amongst all the teachings there any amount of preaching that has a bearing on the true gospel of Jesus Christ? Can you find there anything remotely related to Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 2:2:

“And I, brethren, when I came to you… determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”?

Sound doctrine is there, no doubt, but it is infinitesimal. Without a doubt, more than 90% of what you find on Christian TV are material, worldly teachings, much of it conveyed through so-called motivational teaching.

Even in third world countries like mine, all you hear on radio and television concerning the gospel is how to get rich or die trying; how to exorcise demons; tales of how people have been to hell (and heaven) and back; encounters with witches, etc. These are fables!

That means over 90% of the church is turning away from the truth and turning to fables.

I heard a preacher in the West say on TV, “Next is now!” She was preaching the false ‘new dimension/next level’ gospel.

I will take her phrase and use it here. The time Paul was talking of is now. At no other time have God’s people have had a sort of ‘herd mentality’ in running after materialistic teachings – “the good life”, etc.

That is why today – now – is the time to

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” and to

“watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

That is the way it has to be with us today.

The word “watch” here is filled with meaning. It means not just to watch in prayer, but it also refers to carefully living a Godly lifestyle.

These are the two things that will bring Christ back into a dying church, and a dying world.

[Below: The church today is not much different from these wrecked vehicles. But there is comfort in Jesus’ words: “I am the resurrection and the life”. Jesus can resurrect the church if we turn to Him and receive the revelation of the cross in our hearts]

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The Need For Sound Doctrine – Part 2

Sometimes the problem is not the mega-church and all it entails. Paul also told Timothy:

“1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (1 Tim. 4:1-3)

Sometimes the problem is “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. Imagine… God’s people literally being led by demonic forces! And when you hear the devil, don’t expect to see him in horns. Oh, no. What you will see is a priest or pastor or preacher who has probably even been to Bible school. And, actually, when you read this particular scripture, you will realize that the Bible is talking about mainstream denominations!

Take, for example, a ‘church’ that forbids people to marry, or one that forbids people to eat certain foods. The Bible here states that both these doctrines are doctrines of devils. And yet… false denominations and cults use these same teachings to deceive their members.

The Bible calls these doctrines of devils because they aim to found people’s faith on something else other than the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ.

The second thing – which is the subject of the second part of this series – is that you would think, as I had always thought, that the culprits in these modern-day charades are the greedy, worldly (and sometimes demon-possessed) preachers. We love talking about how these preachers are ripping off God’s people and how they are leading them into error. But lo and behold… the Bible has news for us! According to 2 Timothy 4:3-4, the real culprits are not these preachers. The real culprits are the people themselves, who have given these preachers the platform to deceive them. That is what the Bible says right here:

“…after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers”.

The whodunnit in this crime are the believers who attend churches where the cross of Christ has been stripped of its power (1 Cor. 1:17)!

False preachers’ tentacles reach far and wide. I have a brother right here whom I one day found letters in his office from a famous American preacher directing the brother to send to that preacher’s ministry a large sum of money in exchange for an upgrading of his status in the ministry’s roll of honor. He was told he would be sent a gold-edged certificate.

The letters had come in thick and fast. With each succeeding letter the demands got more strident. The last letter was an actual threat. Luckily, our man got to hear the gospel of the grace of God just in time, and he and his family were saved from an impending catastrophe.

Countless other people have not been so lucky.

Now, when we see or hear of these people being deceived and fleeced by these mega-preachers and other demon-possessed cultists, we are prone to sympathise with them. But God’s outlook is radically different. God’s outlook is that a blind man who accepts to be led by another blind man will fall into the same pit that his blind leader fell into. In other words, they shall both perish. It is not a matter of God pitying them or not. God has given them the freedom to choose the path they wish to follow.

And when you come to look at it in light of scripture, there is really no excuse for a person who has been born again by the Word of God to be deceived. God’s Word has the power to hold and to keep! We get deceived when we reject the truth of the cross.

That is why Paul charges Timothy to:

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

There is nothing ‘good’ about God’s Word. Notice the words Paul uses here:

“reprove, rebuke, exhort…”

The word “exhort” here means “warn”. There is nothing good about being reproved, rebuked or warned. They are all hard, difficult things to bear. But these are the things that constitute the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ. That is exactly what the cross comes to do in our lives!

When you accept to listen to a different gospel than this, it means you have changed course and you have begun chasing after other things. When you hear a gospel that does not lead you to deny yourself and to take up your cross and follow Christ, you are being deceived and you ought to ask yourself how you arrived there in the first place.

[In a homestead deep in central Tanzania, dinner is served!]

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A Lethal Exchange

1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 2 Cor. 11:1-4

I once worked in a big city and during the lunch break, I would go to a large church nearby to pray. The church building was almost as big as a football field and one could easily find a quiet spot to be alone with the Lord.

One day, I chose a particularly obscure corner and knelt down to pray. Uknown to me, in this exact spot a service was just about to begin! Soon after I began praying I felt people begin to mill around me, and I was forced to open my eyes and, upon seeing the fairly large crowd surrounding me, I arose from my kneeling position and sat down. I should have moved to another spot, but I didn’t. I was hedged in between people and so I opted to stay put.

Soon a priest appeared before us and he began to conduct a religious service. I quickly perceived that the service was a Communion service, for the priest was talking about the body and blood of Christ. Then, an incredible thing happened. The priest drew out a large silver cross seemingly out of nowhere and, holding it in both hands, he flashed it in front of the crowd and announced that this was Jesus! At a word from him, everyone bowed their heads and worshipped ‘Jesus’. I was seated right in front of the priest and I could see clearly that he was not happy with me because I refused to bow my head nor close my eyes. He was a white man and I saw his face turning bright red as he forcefully glared at me. Momentary, the entire service turned into a quiet but violent struggle between the priest and myself. But in my heart I knew that I would never bow down to an image.

Luckily, the service was brief and the minute it ended, everyone dispersed and I was left alone to continue with my prayers.

When the Apostle Paul first went to the Corinthians, however, he did not flash any silver crosses before them and tell them that that was Jesus or His Body. On the contrary, Paul revealed to them the Lord Jesus, just as the Lord had revealed Himself to him (Eph. 3:3). He says in 1 Corinthians 2:2 that when he went among them, he purposed to know nothing apart from “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” He preached to them the powerful gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ, the very gospel that had transformed him (1 Tim. 1:12-16). Paul surrendered himself to the Holy Spirit and allowed the Holy Spirit to minister life to the Corinthians. He did not rely on life-less signs and symbols.

When the gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is preached in the right spirit, it accomplishes the transformational work that God intends it to in the lives of men and women whom He has called.

Did you know there is the Spirit of the gospel? When people hear the right gospel, the gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ, taught in the right Spirit, they change. Thus the scripture is fulfilled,

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:1-2)

But there are other spirits also. When a different spirit is at work the power is just not there and people easily go back to their old ways of the flesh.

This was what happened to the Corinthians. Soon after Paul and his company left Corinth, false teachers and preachers, agents of the devil who had been lying in wait, came into the church and began teaching another gospel, of another Jesus, under a different spirit. The Corinthians made the cardinal mistake of giving heed to these new preachers, and the minute they did so, they were lost! They exchanged a lie for the truth. Even though they were still saved, yet, under the new gospels they were now hearing, they would never grow to maturity in the Spirit.

In my country, whenever you listen to a Christian radio or television station or program, it is very difficult to hear the truth of the gospel being preached. Preachers are busy teaching gospels that deal with the temporal life of this world. Today, within the church, we have gospels that talk of how Jesus will help you overcome all your worldly problems. They talk about how Jesus will bless you in your business, in your workplace; and how He will help you to overcome every problem in your life. In fact, there are some churches that are called the Overcomers, based solely on this premise.

One other word that I hear constantly within the charismatic church is “destiny”. There are people here in Africa who believe they have attained their “destiny” when, for example, they migrate to the United States. God has no problem with anyone migrating to the States, even permanently; but attaining such a goal has nothing to do with the gospel. That would make the United States heaven, which it is not.

Actually, this blog would not suffice to list the different number “other” gospels that are being preached today.

In one radio program in my country, a preacher solicits prayer requests from believers every day – for a fee. Such ‘prayer ministries’ are very popular in my country.

Other ministries that are equally popular are those that teach on so-called generational curses.

But what all these ‘ministries’ actually do is to deceive, to defraud, to exploit, and even abuse God’s people.

I love the Apostle Paul’s ministry. It was a ministry of the truth. There were no dark spots in his gospel. Moreover, it was not a powerless gospel. Jesus was fully at work, changing hearts and minds. When the Corinthians began allowing these other gospels into their midst, they had no idea of the treasure they were throwing away!

[One of my young neighbors]

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“Swift Destruction!”

1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 2 Pet. 1:21-2:3

Sometimes the King James Version of the Bible is a little foggy particularly for our modern times, so let us begin with a little grammar check on these verses.

“Privily” = secretly

“Pernicious” = harmful, evil, deadly, ruinous

“Make merchandise of” = exploit

“Feigned” = deceptive

There. Now, let us look closely at this portion of scripture.

The most important thing I want us to notice here is that God promises to bring “swift destruction” to a certain group of people within the church. The term “swift destruction” is so telling here, and we had better pay attention.

Now, notice the particular group that God promises to bring swift destruction upon: false teachers… who privily shall bring in damnable heresies”.

What is a heresy? A heresy is a teaching that takes God’s Word and uses it to negate what God has said. In fact a heresy actively fights against God and His Word. In that sense, it brings spiritual destruction to whoever is listening to it. A heresy destroys God’s people.

God is not bothered by the weak Christian who is struggling with sin. The Apostle Paul struggled with sin (Romans 7), and yet God loved and effectively used him. We all struggle against sin, but God is not angry at us.

But God is angry at false teachers within the church. Why? It is because these people destroy God’s church. God is very, very upset with is someone who would introduce into the church something to defend their fleshly desires and the carnal way of life they have chosen to follow. Yes, you might not know it, but there are preachers out there who have chosen to live a certain worldly lifestyle and they will go to any lengths to achieve their goal. There are others who are actively listening to demonic teachings.

Yes, there are preachers today who are doing exactly that. Unfortunately, they are too many to count. In all likelihood, they far outnumber the true servants of God. Moreover, they are doing it openly. They have no fear of God. Some are using the Bible to enrich themselves, and to throw God’s people off the track to the road of salvation.

But the church is God’s sanctity. You cannot play around with it. God cannot allow that. If you find the narrow road is too tough for you, you would be better advised to go back into the world – where you might have another chance of beginning anew – rather than play games with God’s church. God’s patience with that is pretty thin. That is exactly what the Bible is saying here.

Now, there are people in church who will defend anything. There are people who will defend these kinds of preachers to the death. But, pray, why not defend God’s Word? Who is that “important” person you are defending? Is he/she more important than God?

God says in His Word that He will not allow anyone to play about with the sanctity of the church.

Y’know, one time I took my children to a small farm i had bought, to farm. It was virgin land, and thick with overgrowth. Suddenly, some animal rose up from the bushes, and the commotion it made was so abrupt and loud that everyone nearly had a heart attack. But I remember what I did. Without thinking, I rushed ahead and instantly put myself between myself and the animal. I don’t think I am an exceptionally brave person, but on that day, I was ready to die to defend my children. Luckily, the animal lost nerve and ran in the opposite direction.

It is the same with God. God will not allow someone to destroy His church. He will swiftly destroy these fraudulent preachers. They bring reproach upon the church, and upon the Word of God. Today, in my country, I see a trend whereby the world is slowly disbelieving the church. The title “Pastor” or “servant of God” is associated with hooliganism, thuggery, and unending scandals. And it is the same with the terms “saved” or “born-again Christian”.

This is all a result of the heresies that are being introduced into the church. The church is no longer teaching the pure doctrine of Christ, therefore it has no power to convict the world. But the Bible says about the early Church: “And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them” (Acts 5:13).

Today the world scoffs at the church.

God will not allow that to continue happening on account of preachers who want to fulfill the lusts of their flesh. He says He will bring “swift destruction” upon them. They are the enemies of the cross of Jesus.

We need to fear God and go back to the message of the early church: the message of the cross of Jesus Christ, which alone can deal with all these carnal heresies that are tearing apart the church of God.

Heaps of Teachers!

Ezekiel 33:4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

It is a time to take Scripture seriously. In my next few posts I want to take some time to talk about the Apostle Paul, and the gospel that he preached. You might want to ask, why specifically Paul? Well, simply because the Apostle Paul had the true revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a fact which even the Apostle Peter affirms. If Peter could affirm something, we should be considering it doubly.

But before we talk about the life of Paul and the gospel that he preached I would like to discuss a word that is found in his writings. The word is “heap”. In order to get the right perspective let’s read the scripture in 2 Timothy chapter 4 verse 3 where this word is found: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;  but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

You can see that word “heap”, right in there. That means that in the days that Paul was talking about that this state of affairs would occur, there would be not one or two or even three preachers scattered here and there who would be teaching these false doctrines; no, Paul says there will be ‘heaps’ of them.

I am sure that if you begin counting from the top-of-the-range televangelists to the unknown preacher way down the rung, there are literally millions of preachers of the gospel today. I wonder how many of these are in that group of ‘heaps’ of false teachers, which is what Paul is talking about here – an accumulation of false teachers in the last days.

But it is clear from the strange doctrines coming from the pulpits today that there is an incredibly large percentage of preachers who are in that group.

But Paul says something else, that it is God’s people who will be encouraging these false preachers simply because they cannot endure sound doctrine! When you sit there and  someone is telling you to give because it will be given back to you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, and you are thinking in financial terms, what a lovely sermon!

It is no secret that in today’s version of Christianity, men and women are in it for their own personal gain – and the levels of lust after material gain are incredible. Just recently a pastor of a large congregation in my town bought himself a Hummer. This is a Third World country I am talking about. And don’t think I am being personal or subjective here. We are talking reality.

As Christians we should be very, very careful not to flow with the current. Christianity is not about masses… “Oh, y’know, I worship in a 5,000 member church, etc.” Jesus proved just that when one day He turned upon the Jewish masses following Him and fired one shot at them and they scattered like flies. Even His own disciples left Him. You can read about this in John chapter 6. The once-popular miracle-worker was left with 12 men who hesitantly decided to “endure” Jesus’ hard but sound doctrine. A few brave hearted women were there also, praise the Lord!

Now in our day we are witnessing a dangerous trend where there is only one message: God loves you and He will take care of you, and He wants to do you good. Today’s general Christian message is an adaptation of ‘Welcome to America’. Preachers filled with carnal lusts have dug into the Bible and found there are thousands of promises in there, all ripe and ready to be picked. People are listening to these teachings and they are jumping all over their seats in ecstasy, simply because preachers are promising them financial and material prosperity, good health, safety from all danger, etc., etc. Psalm 91 has been read to shreds, just because God’s people fear to die!

Can you imagine Jesus or the Apostles jumping up and down in their seats because a preacher has promised them financial prosperity? It’s not bad to be blessed financially, but after that, then what? The Apostle Paul says 1Cor. 15:19 that “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

People are itching for this kind of life, that’s all they want to hear. It is a poor Christian world indeed we are living in today.

Let us be mature and realize that God is not against material or financial blessings. He is not against us living a good, prosperous, healthy, and trouble-free life. He is not against us enjoying life. It requires maturity to acknowledge that and move on. The issue for the Church is: Is that the crux of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is that the core of this mighty gospel? Is that the bottom of the matter? Was that what Jesus came on earth to die for? Was that the message He brought? Was that what the early Apostles preached? Is this what we find in Paul’s letters?

We are living in dangerous times and it is time for Christians to take hold of their lives and locate the right place to put them in. Ezekiel’s words have more meaning to us than they did to the Israelites.

Naomi pt.2

We last saw how Naomi’s perseverance in suffering caused Ruth to see into God’s Kingdom, and how she desired to cleave to Naomi. Many doctrines have come up today that deny Christians the privilege of partaking of the sufferings of Christ – and the blessing that comes with this suffering.

Chief among these is the gospel of prosperity. I have heard preachers claim that it is actually a sin to live in deprivation or even to get sick. These type of “bless me” gospels just serve to promote the flesh in the Church. Christians cheer at these gospels without realizing the seed of carnality being planted in their lives.

But when we suffer for the sake of Christ, we reap a different harvest. Our lives enrich others, and we reap a harvest for the Kingdom.

Today I would like us to look at another aspect of Naomi’s faith as we study her suffering. When Naomi went back to the land of Judah, everyone came out to receive her saying, “Is this Naomi?” to which she replied, “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me” (1:19-21).

The saints we read about in the Old and New Testaments saw God at work in their lives. They saw the hand of God, not of Satan. We see Naomi acknowledging God in her suffering.  Yet, today we live in a generation where Satan is probably more alive in Christians’ lives than God Himself.

It is no secret that today Christians are seeing the devil behind every bush. Nearly every problem in the Church is attributed to the devil. Poverty, disease, unemployment, domestic and matrimonial problems, grievance of brother against brother, and even sin are all considered the devil’s doing. So is persecution. Christians cannot imagine God “deserting” them and leaving them in the hands of the enemy.

This belief in the devil has in turn opened the door for “sorcerers” of every sort to invade the Church. I don’t know about other countries, but in our country there are now preachers peddling every kind of sorcery within the Church: “blessed water” (and oil!), books into countless forms of “deliverance” and “lightning” prayers (against the devil) plus countless other ‘indulgences’ – all written and invented by preachers – are sold at Christian bookstores situated right at the entrance into the churches themselves. In church there are ‘apostles’ who specialize in “prospering” God’s people; and – the latest – there are preachers “cleansing” Christians’ “stars” (which is pure black magic)!

The other day, on Christian radio, I heard of a “mobile church” where, once you register (yes, you have to register, and there are 3 main conditions you have to fulfill for your membership to be confirmed) – once you are accepted into this cloud nine fellowship you will never need to tire yourself walking to some old church building; you only need turn the dial and you are on, right there on your couch!

These false teachers are promising God’s people all kinds of placebos, all of which are geared to convince the Christian that he does not need to suffer. “Promises” have been dug up from every tip of the Bible to prop up the desperate belief that a lack of suffering and a materialistically prosperous and comfortable life was the promise given to Abraham by God. But all this  ‘revelation’ is of the flesh, really, for the flesh does not contemplate suffering of any sort. And these gospels ultimately lead to disillusionment for the believer, to live in fear and defeat.

What the Bible actually says about our father Abraham is that he received the promise when he was “as good as dead”! (Heb. 11:12). In other words, Abraham never received that promise in the flesh! (We would have to remove a whole load of scriptures from the Bible to agree with these new age preachers).

Naomi did not say, “The devil has afflicted me.” She said “God has afflicted me.” Though she was sorrowful, yet she realized God was at work in her life, and she was ready to let Him have His way in her life.

Let me tell you that due to the nature and magnitude of her problems, Naomi could have consulted the Moabite sorcerers of her day. But she did not. She bound herself to her God – for good and for evil! At no one moment did she lose sight of the vision of the one living God who is in control over the affairs of men.

At Ruth’s marriage to Boaz and the subsequent birth of Obed, God would begin rewarding Naomi for her patient suffering and her trust in Him. But many, many years later, Naomi’s true reward was realized at the birth of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.