Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Deu 25:5,6
"If brothers are living together and one of them dies without
a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband's brother shall
take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The
first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name
will not be blotted out from Israel" (Deu 25:5,6).
The next of kin (Heb "gaal" or "kinsman-redeemer") had the
duty of preserving the family by marrying the widow of a deceased brother if he
had died childless. Under such a law, the continuity of the family was
maintained, even though its continuance may have been threatened by folly or
disaster. The duty of Preserver of the Family is clearly linked with the duty to
redeem the land inheritance.
In the Book of Ruth, the wealthy Boaz, acting as the "gaal",
made it possible for Ruth -- the Moabite widow of a Jew -- to have fellowship
with Israel, and a covenant relationship with God.
The Lord Jesus, as our "gaal", has done likewise for us who
are Gentiles: "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been
brought near through the blood of Christ" (Eph 2:11-13). "This mystery is that
through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together
of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus" (Eph
Reading 2 - Song 5:16
"He is altogether lovely" (Song 5:16).
The power and beauty of Christ is this: that there is nothing
out of harmony with the whole, that there is nothing to detract from the beauty
of the whole. No danger of flaws discovered later, to cause disillusionment.
Nothing to fear from the unsparing microscope of intimate familiarity: the more
minutely we examine him, the more beautiful he is revealed to be -- this is an
unfailing characteristic of all of God's creation, but never of man's
inventions. This is the pattern God has set before us -- the ideal to which He
wishes us to strive -- and the ultimate to which He will finally elevate His
Paul therefore prays that the ecclesia, collectively and as a
single unit, may "all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son
of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of
Christ... speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who
is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held
together... grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work" (Eph
"This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem"
Here is a further deepening and enlarging of the picture. "My
friend" is perhaps the fullest, richest, and most inclusive term by which the
Bride may describe her Husband... and he is her "friend", even as he himself
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life
for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call
you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I
have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have
made known to you" (John 15:13-15).
Reading 3 - Acts 20:35
"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard
work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said:
'It is more blessed to give than to receive' " (Act 20:35).
"Be big. Most people are small: small-minded; small-hearted;
small-thoughted. The children of God are called on to make the supreme effort to
grow up from mankind's natural, infantile, self-centered smallness. Think
eternity, not peanuts. Devote your life to giving, not getting. The getting will
come in God's good time -- eternally: 'heaped up, pressed down, shaken together,
running over' -- divine good measure. Relax into goodness and largeness of
heart. Let the little minds burn themselves out in anxious seeking and fear of
being shortchanged. Have no fear that you are going to lose something unless you
constantly consider your self-interest and fret about your fair share. You
cannot possibly lose if you are in track with God. He gives abundantly to all.
He will see you do not lose -- eventually and eternally -- if you have the faith
and the patience to wait" (GV Growcott).