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The Clarion Herald

    From his youth Saul of Tarsus believed in God the Father Almighty -- Maker of heaven and earth. Following his encounter with Jesus, on the Damascus Road, he acknowledged His lordship and deity. And his Christian life was lived under the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit.
    It was the Holy Spirit Who called on the church at Antioch to separate Paul for missionary service, (Acts 13:2-4). Through the years of service that followed he was ever conscious of the Spirit's sovereign guidance in all his ways. And since he was a man-on-the-move, the Spirit sometimes led-by forbidding what he had planned, (Acts 16:6-10).
    At times the Spirit showed him what perils lay ahead -- without intending to turn him aside. Thus, he went to Jerusalem with a consciousness that "bonds and afflictions" awaited him there. An over-powering love for men, and sense of duty, made him indifferent to the dangers which others feared and insensible to the carnal protests of sincere friends who urged him to consider his reputation and physical safety, (Acts 20:22-23). He

was not deterred from doing what he believed right by the advance warnings of the Spirit. He drew his own inferences. Others thought the prospect of such dangers an indication that it was NOT GOD'S WILL for him to go, (Acts 20:4). To him the warning was an indication of the Lord's will (Acts 21:11-14). He accepted the information supplied by the brethren, but he did NOT yield to their warning. And the Lord's approval of his conduct is implied in Acts 23:11. This was true "walking in the Spirit", (2 Cor. 12:l8; Gal. 5:16, 25).
    The easy-going ways of the flesh, the path of self-consideration and comfort, Paul rejected -- choosing the path which the Spirit had revealed as stony and perilous. It was the route he thought his Lord would take. He had no fear of pain and no ambition for praise. He would, rather, suffer with Christ -- both from outward hardship and such inward agony of spirit as all God's true servants know. For this task he found sufficient grace, consolation and patience "in the Spirit".
    This servant of Jesus was possessed by the Spirit (Acts 13:4), and so commended himself in the Spirit (2 Cor. 6:6) that his conscience bare him "witness in the

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

Holy Ghost, (Rom. 9:1). He longed to see others so possessed of the Spirit (Eph. 5:l). He recognized God as the One Who gives and supplies men with the Spirit, (I Thes. 4:8; Gal. 3:5). His first question to the little group at Ephesus was: "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" (Acts 19:2). Of course, they had not. Apollos had been quite sincere in his preaching and baptism (Acts l8:24-28), but he was only John's disciple and, thus, not divinely authorized to administer scriptural baptism. Peter, on Pentecost, had stated two conditions that must be met: "REPENT .. and be BAPTIZED ..... and ye shall RECEIVE the gift of THE HOLY GHOST" (Acts 2:38). Giving attention to the apostolic word, they were baptized "in the name of the Lord Jesus". And when the apostle laid his hands upon them they received the Spirit.
    Paul ever stressed the spiritual bankruptcy of any effort to "merit" divine approval or to obligate God

in any way. However sincere one be in his effort to "attain unto the righteousness of God" he must utterly fail. Only such acts of genuine faith as are both inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit, for the glory of Christ, are acceptable to God. Would He approve our lives and labors?     E.G.


Judge not the workings of a brain     And of a heart thou canst not
What looks to thy dim eyes a stain,
    In God's pure light may only be
A scar, brought from some well-won
Where thou would'st only faint and

The look, the air, that frets thy
    May be a token, that, below,
The soul has closed in deadly fight
    With some infernal, fiery foe,
Whose glance would scorch thy
      smiling grace,
And cast thee shuddering on thy

The fall thou darest to despise --
    May be the angel's slackened
Has suffered it, that he may rise
    And take a firmer, surer stand;
Or, trusting less to earthly things,
    May henceforth learn to use his
-- Adelaide Proctor
"Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving ... even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

(A study in Ruth 1)

    Two Old Testament books are unique in that they alone bear the names of women. One is Esther -- a Jewess who married a Gentile king and preserved her people from destruction. The other is the book of Ruth -- a Gentile who married a Jew and, thus, became the ancestress of our Lord according to the flesh.
    The book of Ruth is cast in the time of the Judges -- a period of instability and trouble in the land of Promise, (Judges 2:16-19). It was a time of famine in the land "flowing with milk and honey" -- even in Bethlehem (the house of bread). Such famine had been threatened as a judgment against sin, (Lev. 26:l8-20; Deut. 28:l5-l8, 35-48).
    As warfare and confusion reign in the covenant land, the spotlight of the divine word is turned on the family of Elimelech. And in this book is one of the most beautiful love stories ever told.
    Hebrew names are always significant. ELIMELECH (my God is king) is the husband. NAOMI (my amiable or pleasant one) is the wife. As for the names of their sons there has been much controversy. MAHLON (joy or song) was the oldest. But some insist that the proper meaning of his name is "sickness". CHILION (ornament, or perfectness) was the younger. Some insist that his name really means "consumption". If their names carry the more delightful meanings they suggest the joy and blessedness of the family

into which they were born. If, however, the more discouraging meanings are correct, they probably suggest something of the sad state of affairs in the covenant nation.
    Of the other main characters in the story: RUTH (delightful companion) becomes the wife of Mahlon. ORPAH (a fawn) marries Chilion. And BOAZ (steadfastness & strength) is the kinsman-redeemer whose graciousness preserves the seed of Elimelech, and whose marriage to Ruth is blessed in giving to Israel the glorious "house of David" -- Israel's most beloved King -- and of whose seed Messiah was to come.
    The family of Elimelech were natives of Bethlehem; this is what is meant by their being Ephrathites. And a great famine has overwhelmed the land of Israel. In this situation Elimelech made a foolish decision -- probably involving ignorance more than sin. A man of wealth and honor, he took his family and migrated to the land of Moab -- probably intending to return after the famine had ended. But it was a move away from many things of vast importance -- from friends and loved ones, home and homeland, the sanctuary and dwelling-place of his God.
    It is true that Abraham and Isaac removed themselves from the land under similar circumstances, but they were only sojourners. The Israelites had now been settled and established in the land; here was the place of blessing for them. The nation had sinned grievously, and though some were more guilty than others ALL must pay the consequences. There is no way to escape divine judgment.

    Every man ought to be concerned for the needs of his family. Failure to do so is great folly and sin. But to stress this to the total neglect of their spiritual needs is insane. How much better it would have been had Elimelech been content to suffer the lot of his neighbors and remain in the covenant land -- submitting to the righteous judgment of God.
    It was not long before Elimelech died -- a stranger in a strange land. Death came so suddenly -- so much sooner than anticipated. His dreams did not come true; his good intentions were never translated into action; his life-plans were never completed. How often is this
the case with men! (James 4:13-15; Luke 9:24).
    The death of Elimelech left Naomi and their two sons stranded. Would they see God's hand in this, and return to the covenant land? Or would they continue a life of relative ease in Moab -- not realizing that the portion of this people is different because they receive it all in this life, (Jer. 48:ll)? They did NOT return. Instead, the sons married Moabitish women -- something that would have horrified a faithful Israelite. The Moabites were the offspring of Lot, Abraham's nephew, whose oldest daughter got her father drunk (following the destruction of Sodom), lay with him (against his knowledge or consent), and bare a son -- justifying her action by saying that she must raise up one to preserve the seed of her father, (Gen. 19:30-37). It was Moabitish women with which the men of Israel had committed whoredom at Peor, (Num. 25; Psa. 106:28-31). Both Mahlon and Chilion died childless -- leaving three lonely widows in Moab, (vs. 5; Isa. 51:17-20).
(To be Continued)
    Such super-spiritual high-mindedness as makes one feel qualified to prune the brotherhood involves a dangerous presumption. The scriptures identify this as carnality. If persisted in it will: grieve the Spirit of holiness, destroy the spirit of unity and lead to one's own rejection & severance from the sphere of covenant-fellowship wherein the fulness of spiritual blessings are avai1ab1e! Let LOVE reign!