High Places


Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places.  1 Kings 3:3

Have you ever wondered about how churches and nations get led astray?  Have you ever read the term “high places” in the Bible and wondered what it meant?  Maybe you have wondered how all of this relates to you.

We see the term “high places” first in Leviticus 26:30, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.   God specifically told His people not to build high places in order to worship idols. One of the violations I think of is Solomon and his many wives.  He did what God told him not to do.  He married, not only outside his own faith, but also he married many women who did not follow the God of Israel.  These women built high places where they could worship their false gods.  He caved into their pressure and made sacrifices along with them.

This set precedence for the kingdoms of Israel and Judah for many generations to come.  After the kingdom split between Rehoboam, Solomon’s heir, and Jeroboam, an employee of Solomon, Jeroboam lived in fear.  He was terrified that when the people in his part of the kingdom went to Jerusalem to worship, that they would be influenced and would turn on him.  So he made high places, all set with golden calves, for his people to worship.  Only they weren’t really worshiping God.  They were worshiping idols.

People are lead astray for a number of reasons.  As Christians, we have to stay obedient, listening to God’s voice above all others.  Then we won’t be sheep to the slaughter.  Instead, we will be watchmen on the wall.

Heavenly Father,Forgive me for the times I haven’t been discerning.  I didn’t listen to Your voice and reaped the consequences.  Help me to boldly speak the truth in love when I see my people falling into idolatry remembering that I have been guilty and forgiven of the same thing.In Jesus Name, Amen

Journal:  How have you been led astray?In what ways have you seen your community led astray?What can you do to be a part of the solution?  What does a nation have to do, according to scripture, to get back on track?


The Great Sacrifice

Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:14-17 (ESV)

Ruth is possibly the most gospel-centric book in the Old Testament. If I was discipling a young believer, I would have them read this book second only to the book of John. It is a true story that God included in the Bible to help explain how He intended to save us. Since He created us, He knows how we learn best. Jesus used stories and parables so that His crowds of listeners could understand His message.

Have you ever made a sacrifice that caused you great pain? How about having to give something up, something precious, with no strings attached?  The book of Ruth ends with a huge sacrifice. Earlier in the story, Boaz agreed to marry Ruth to help redeem her first husband’s bloodline. Now, we see Ruth give birth to Obed and give him to Naomi to raise up.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would be able to make such a sacrifice.  I remember how I felt after both of my boys were born and it puts me in absolute awe at what Ruth was able to do. Obed would take Mahlon’s place in the family inheritance. Ruth would have to have another son to claim Boaz’s inheritance. Scripture does not tell us if she gave birth to any more children. What we do know is that Ruth, Boaz, and their son Obed are listed as the direct ancestors of King David and Jesus. This is another redemption of sorts. While Obed would be considered a descendant of Elimelech for inheritance sake, he is included as a child of Boaz and Ruth in the Bible instead of Naomi. Everyone is redeemed.

These gifts of love benefited the givers, even though they did not know it at the time. May we all have giving hearts like that of Ruth and experience the same healing as Naomi. The future of our descendants may be counting on it.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for giving us Ruth and Naomi. What you did in their lives gives us great hope. We are never so far gone that You cannot reach us. Show us the sacrifices that You have called us to make and give us the courage to face them. We do this because Jesus, both the Lamb and our High Priest, gave up everything up for us. And if that sacrifice is to offer forgiveness, help us to remember that we were forgiven by You. We have no right to withhold and through stones. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen

What is the greatest sacrifice that you have made in your life?
Do you feel that it was worth it?
Is God calling you to give up anything?
What would it take to be obedient?

She Chose Israel


So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Ruth 4:13

God’s best for us is not always the easiest choice. We often have to accept much bad along with the good.

Ruth had lived in Israel long enough to have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. She could have returned home, but she chose to stay. She could have chosen to convert but just live elsewhere. There are many Christians that love Jesus but really struggle with His followers. I’m sure I can be one of those difficult people that others don’t like at times. Being part of the Body of Christ is similar to being part of a family. We don’t get to choose who we are related to. It just is what it is. Continue reading “She Chose Israel”

It’s Public


“Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may be not cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”

At the time of our salvation, we change hands. Our redemption is proclaimed and celebrated in Heaven.

Back during Old Testament times, business dealings and transactions were as public as weddings. They happened at the town gate in front of the town leaders and before anyone else who wanted to watch. Ruth may have approached Boaz in the secret of night but Boaz completed the redemption in public. (Not unlike Nicodemus seeking Jesus .) Continue reading “It’s Public”