Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

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Written by Peter Langbroek
"Everyone say cheese!"



Tell me, boys and girls, what does that remind you of? Picture taking, right? Perhaps you had a family picture taken on Mother's Day or Father's Day. I'm sure you enjoy looking at them. I'm also sure you enjoy looking at photo albums, especially the ones your grandparents have. You never thought your grandma could be so young! And there you see relatives that have long since died.

I sometimes regret they didn't have cameras during the Bible times. How would you like to see a picture of Abraham? And yet, I do believe there are pictures in the Bible. It even has an incredible photo album!

First, I'll show you a picture. An old woman sits, looking fondly down at a swaddled baby on her lap. Behind her are her friends, sharing her joy. The womanÕs hair is grey and her face is weathered from years of work in the fields. Her wrinkles are etched, revealing a life of pain and hardship.

She is a widow who lost her husband and two sons in a country called Moab. Because of a famine, the family had left their hometown, Bethlehem, and gone to Moab. There, her sons had grown up, married two Moabite women, and died. When she had returned to Bethlehem, her friends had tried to comfort her. In her grief she had told them not to call her Naomi, meaning pleasant, but Bitter (Marah). Her future had looked very grim.

But now, no longer bitter, this old woman cradles the baby boy in her arms and she lovingly looks at him. Behind her, looking down, stand her friends, basking in NaomiÕs joy. They rejoice and praise God with her, saying:

Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better than seven sons, hath born him (Ruth 4:14,15).

And a faithful, loving, God-fearing daughter in law she is! Ruth is her name and she is a Moabitess. When Naomi had told her to return to Moab, she had clung to her and vowed her faithfulness to her mother in law, her country, her household, and her God. She had fulfilled her vow immediately, working hard to glean the barley fields. Her good name as a woman of great character and love had spread far and wide.

Now, looking down at the baby boy, Naomi sees God's care in giving blessings and honour. The husband who had married Ruth is Boaz, the owner of the barley field where Ruth had gleaned. He also was a near relative of Ruth's deceased husband, a man, who according to GodÕs laws, could marry her. When Naomi realized this, she had praised God, saying: "Blessed be the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and the dead!"

Now Ruth and Boaz are married. God had given them a son whom Naomi's friends named Obed (worshipper or servant of God).

What a tender moment and what tender picture! Read the book of Ruth for a sweet picture of the tender love of God! This is a picture!

Now for the photo album. For that we have to turn to Matthew 1. Notice, first, its title: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of AbrahamÓ (Matthew 1:1). Now let me show you six pictures in that photo album:

"Abraham begat Isaac...Ó (vs.2)

"And Salmon begat Boaz of Rachab...Ó (vs.5)

ÒAnd Boaz begat Obed of Ruth...Ó (vs.5)

"And Obed begat Jesse...Ó (vs.5)

"And Jesse begat David the king...Ó (vs.6)

"And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called ChristÓ (vs.16).

What a photo album! There we have the Saviour and Lord, born into the family of Boaz. The little baby, whom Naomi looked at so fondly and who she raised with all the love of a grandmother, was none other than the baby who would father a king. And Jesus, the promised Messiah, was conceived into that familyÑJesus, Who would save His people from their sins! (Matthew 1:21)

Boys and girls, the Gospel is the Good News of the family of God. It is the family of whom God is Father. It is the family whom God has adopted by the price Jesus paid on the cross. This inheritance, Jesus, the son of Obed, redeemed for all who believe.

I will give you one more picture of this family, a future picture:

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb (Revelation 7:9,10).

Do you long to be in that picture?

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