The psalmist tells us not to misplace our trust by putting it in human beings whose thoughts and plans end when they die. Instead, the psalmist tells us to put our trust in the God of Jacob, the One who “made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them: who keeps truth for ever” (NIV).
In these ancient times, different nations each had their own god. The god of the Moabites was called Chemosh. The one of the Ammonites was called Molech. The Zidonians’ god was called Ashtoreth (1 Kings 11:5, 7), and the god of the Philistines was called Dagon (Judges 16:23).
But all these gods were mere works of mortals’ hands which could be burned, stolen, damaged, and even destroyed completely. This is not true of the God of Jacob, who is the creator of all things and cannot be destroyed. In fact, God does not change. (See Malachi 3:6.)
For many people in Paul’s day, the belly had become their god. (See Philippians 3:19.) We too in our materialistic world need to avoid the danger of embracing the new gods—new in comparison to the Ancient of Days, the Alpha and Omega, the Creator God.
If we are not watchful, money or possessions or power can become our gods. Putting our trust in these or any other created things is futile; they cannot save us or give us peace. But the God of Jacob is a Rock, a Savior, a Deliverer, and a Healer. Those who worship other gods worship them in vain. The Lord says, “My people have forgotten me, they burn incense to worthless idols” (Jer. 18:15, NIV).
“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy” (Mic. 7:18, NIV).
Ruth and Psalm 146 share a thematic connection. Ruth is a foreigner who decides to follow the God of the Israelites, and the psalmist praises God for being the trustworthy God who cares about the poor, the oppressed, and the foreigner. In Ruth, Boaz will demonstrate this kind of care for her. The New Testament readings focus on sacrifice. Hebrews teaches us that Christ was both the greatest high priest and the eternal sacrifice. A scribe in Mark receives praise from Jesus, for he understands that the sacrificial system is less weighty than the act of loving one’s neighbor. Ruth and this scribe are examples of those, named and anonymous, who have come before us in the faith.
Read Ruth 1:1-18. When have you left the familiar behind to set out into the unknown? Where did you experience God’s presence and help in that situation?
Read Psalm 146. When have you witnessed God at work in the world in a way that gave you hope about an otherwise seemingly hopeless situation?
Read Hebrews 9:11-14. How does the redemption offered in Christ’s death free you to worship the living God? What form does your worship take?
Read Mark 12:28-34. What does it mean to you to love your neighbor as you love yourself? How do you act on that commandment in your everyday life?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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