Today's Bible reading: Psalm 49, Ruth 2, 2 Timothy 2
Psalm 49 The Voice (VOICE)
For the worship leader. A song of the sons of Korah.
Some songs are described as “wisdom psalms.” Similar in theme to the short sayings of Proverbs or the reflective essays of Ecclesiastes, these songs offer practical advice to the worshiper of the one True God. In Psalm 49 we find a meditation on wealth and wisdom, but others describe daily activities (127–128; 133), encouragement when evil succeeds (37; 73), and the results of following God or wickedness (112). The purpose of these songs is to edify those who sing and those who hear, reminding them, and us, how to live life as God intends.
1 Listen up, everyone!
All you who reside in this world, give an ear!
2 Everyone—rich and poor,
young and old, wise and foolish, humble and mighty—
3 My mouth will overflow with wisdom;
the reflections of my heart will guide you to understand the nature of life.
4 I will tune my ear to the words of a proverb;
to the sounds of a harp, I will reveal my riddle.
5 Why should I be afraid when dark evils swirl about me,
when I am walking among the sin of evildoers—
6 Those who depend on their own fortunes,
who boast about their earthly riches?
7 One person can’t grant salvation to another
or make a payment to the True God for another.
8 Redeeming a life is costly;
no premium is enough, ever enough,
9 That one’s body might live on forever
and never fear the grave’s decay.
10 Everyone knows that even the wisest ones die,
perishing together with the foolish and the stupid.
For all die—beggars and kings, fools and wise men.
Their wealth remains behind for others.
11 Although they wish to dwell in fine houses forever,
their graves are their real resting places.
Their homes are for all future generations,
yet for a while they have named lands after themselves.
12 [No one, regardless of how rich or important, can live forever;
he is][a] just like the animals that perish and decay.
13 This is the destiny of those foolish souls who have faith only in themselves;
this will be the end of those happy to follow in their ways.
14 The fate of fools is the grave, and just like sheep,
death will feast on them.
The righteous will rule over them at dawn,
their bodies, their outward forms, rotting in the grave
far away from their great mansions.
15 But God will reach into the grave and save my life from its power.
He will fetch me and take me into His eternal house.
16 Do not be afraid of the rich and powerful
as their prestige and honor grow,
17 For they cannot take anything with them when they die.
Their fame and glory will not follow them into the grave.
18 During their lives, they seek every blessing and advantage
because others praise you when you’ve done well.
19 But they will soon join their ancestors, for all of time,
among the tombs of the faithless—a place of no light.
20 Anyone who is rich or important without understanding
is just like the animals that perish and decay.
- 49:12 Greek manuscripts read, “Anyone who is rich without understanding.”
- 49:13 Literally, selah, likely a musical direction from a Hebrew root meaning “to lift up”
The Voice (VOICE)
Ruth 2The Voice (VOICE)
2 Now Naomi’s deceased husband, Elimelech, had a relative in Bethlehem, an honorable, wealthy man named Boaz. 2 One day Ruth (the foreign woman who returned with Naomi from Moab) approached Naomi with a request.
Ruth: Let me go out into the field and pick up whatever grain is left behind the harvesters. Maybe someone will be merciful to me.
Naomi: Go ahead, my daughter.
3 Ruth left and went into the fields to pick up the gleanings, the grain that had been left behind by the harvesters. And so it was that the portion of the field she was working in belonged to Boaz, who was a part of Elimelech’s family.
4 As she was working in his field, Boaz happened to arrive from Bethlehem, and he greeted the harvesters.
Boaz: The Eternal One be with you.
Harvesters: May the Eternal bless you!
5 Then seeing Ruth, Boaz spoke to the young man in charge of the harvesters.
Boaz: Whom does this young woman belong to?
Overseer: 6 She is the Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from Moab. 7 She came and asked my permission to pick up the grain our harvesters leave behind and gather it all into sheaves for herself. Except for one small break she has been here all day, working in the field from the morning until now.
When God gives His law to the Israelites, He establishes a culture of generosity. Knowing there will be people such as widows, orphans, and resident aliens who will be too poor to farm for themselves, He set limits on how much each farmer should harvest from his own land. In Leviticus 19:9–10, farmers are told not to harvest the corners of their property or return to already-harvested rows to pick up any grain that may have been left. The remaining grain in the field is called gleanings, and those are left for the poor. In a similar law, Deuteronomy 24:19–22 explains that God does this to remind His people that once they were all poor and resident aliens themselves in Egypt. The gleaners face hard labor every day, so Ruth isn’t expecting the kindness Boaz shows her.
Boaz (to Ruth): 8 Listen to me, my daughter. Do not go and glean in any other field. In fact, do not go outside my property at all but stay with the young women who work for me following the harvesters and bundling the grain into sheaves. 9 Watch the harvesters, and see which field they are working in. Follow along behind these servants of mine. I have warned the young men not to touch you. If you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars my young men have filled for the harvesters.
10 Overwhelmed, Ruth bowed down before Boaz, putting her face to the ground in front of him.
Ruth: I am just a foreigner. Why have you noticed me and treated me as if I’m one of your favorites?
Boaz: 11 I have heard your story. I know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since your own husband died. I know you left your own mother and father, your home and your country, and you have come to live in a culture that must seem strange to you. 12 May the Eternal repay you for your sacrifices and reward you richly for what you have done. It is under the wings of Israel’s God, the Eternal One, that you have sought shelter.
Ruth: 13 I pray you will continue to look upon me with such favor, my lord. I am comforted by your kind words, even though I am not as worthy of them as even one of your servant girls.
14 Later during the meal, Boaz spoke to Ruth again.
Boaz: Come over here and have some of my food. Dip your piece of bread in the vinegar wine.
So Ruth sat down among the harvesters. Boaz also offered her some roasted grain. She ate as much as she wanted and even had some left over. 15 When her meal was finished, she got back up and returned to work. Then Boaz pulled some of the young harvesters aside and gave them instructions about her.
Boaz: Let her pick up grain from among the sheaves. Do not reprimand or humiliate her for gleaning where it is usually forbidden. 16 Instead, periodically pick out a stalk or two from the sheaves that have already been bound, and leave them for her to gather for herself. Make sure that no one gives her a hard time.
17 So Ruth worked in the field all day until the sun had nearly set. When she finished picking up the leftover ears, she beat her gathered barleygrains from the stalks with a stick. All that work resulted in over 20 quarts of grain. 18 Then she carried it back to the city where her mother-in-law saw how much she had gleaned. Ruth took out the leftover food from what she could not eat of her midday meal and gave it to Naomi.
Naomi (to Ruth): 19 Where did you go to work today? Where did you glean all this from? May God bless the person who gave you this kind of attention.
So Ruth told Naomi the story of all that had happened to her that day and on whose land she had worked.
Ruth: The man I worked with today is named Boaz.
Naomi: 20 May the Eternal bless this man. He has not given up showing His covenant love toward the living and the dead.
This man is closely related to us—he is a kinsman-redeemer of our family.
The kinsman-redeemer is the closest relative and has the responsibility to save his family members from any evil or hardship.
Ruth[a]: 21 That is not all he did. Boaz also instructed me to stay with his young workers for the remainder of his grain harvesting season.
Naomi: 22 It is best that you do as he says. Stay with his young women who bind the sheaves. They will keep you safe from the hostility and danger of working in another’s field.
23 So that is what Ruth did. She kept close to Boaz’s young female servants and picked up everything they dropped. She worked hardthroughout the seven weeks of the wheat and barley seasons until the harvest was complete in early summer. And this whole time she lived at her mother-in-law’s home.
- 2:21 Hebrew manuscripts add, “the Moabite woman.”
The Voice (VOICE
2 Timothy 2The Voice (VOICE)
2 But as for you, my child, be empowered by the grace that is in Jesus, the Anointed One. 2 Whatever you heard me teach before an audience of witnesses, I want you to pass along to trustworthy people who have the ability to teach others too. 3 As a good soldier of Jesus the Anointed, be ready to suffer with me. 4 Remember that soldiers on active duty don’t get wrapped up in civilian matters because they want to satisfy those who recruited them. 5 Look at it another way: if someone competes as an athlete, he won’t win the race and be crowned with the wreath if he breaks the rules. 6 And the farmer who exhausts himself in the fieldshould be the first to taste his harvest. 7 Think about what I am telling you, and let the Lord give you clarity on all of it.
Paul has mentored no one more privately and successfully than Timothy. Now he charges Timothy to pass the faith along to the next generation. Training leaders is priority one.
8 Remember Jesus the Anointed, raised from the dead, descended from David’s royal line. This is the crux of my good news! 9 This is why I suffer and why I am bound and chained like a lawbreaker. But God’s word is not in chains! 10 That’s why I endure everything for the sake of God’s chosen: so that they might experience salvation with lasting, eternal glory through Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King. 11 Here’s a statement you can trust:
If we died with Him,
we will live with Him.
12 If we remain with Him,
we will reign alongside Him.
If we deny Him,
we will be denied by Him.
13 If we are unfaithful,
He remains faithful,
For He is not able to deny Himself.
14 Remind others about these things that I’m telling you. Warn them before God to stop their useless bickering over words. After all, splitting hairs does no good; it only ruins those forced to listen to their meritless arguments. 15 Timothy, do everything you can to present yourself to God as a man who is fully genuine, a worker unashamed of your mission, a guide capable of leading others along the correct path defined by the word of truth. 16 Stay away from ungodly babbling because it will only lead deeper into a godless lifestyle. 17 Once these empty voices start to speak, Timothy, they infect and spread; and soon the body is consumed with its cancer.[a] Hymenaeus and Philetus fell victim to it, 18 and they walked away from the truth by claiming that the day of resurrection has already arrived. They are clearly disrupting the faith of some who are not well grounded. 19 Regardless of what they do or say, God’s foundation is strong and firmly in place, etched with this seal: “The Lord knows the ones who belong to Him,”[b] and, “Everyone who invokes the name of the Lord ought to stop doing what they know to be wrong.”
20 Look, in the mansions of the rich and powerful you will find everything from silver and gold serving bowls to wooden containers and clay jars; some are used for special occasions—where honor is important—others are used for more mundane tasks. 21 So tell them, if they will clean up their lives and purify themselves from dishonorable teachings that lead people astray, then they can become honorable vessels, consecrated and useful to the Master, made ready for every good work He has in store.
22 Timothy, run away from youthful desires. Instead, direct your passion to chasing after righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord with pure hearts. 23 Excuse yourself from any conversations that turn into foolish and uninformed debates because you know they only provoke fights. 24 As the Lord’s slave, you shouldn’t exhaust yourself in bickering; instead, be gentle—no matter who you are dealing with—ready and able to teach, tolerant without resentment, 25 gently instructing those who stand up against you. Besides, the time may come when God grants them a change of heart[c] so that they can arrive at the full knowledge of truth. 26 And if they come to their senses, they can escape the devil’s snare and walk freed from his captivity and evil bidding.
The Voice (VOICE)