devotionRuth 1:11-18 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters:why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; 13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me. 14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. 15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. 16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines cleave as:

“To unite or be united closely in interest or affection; to adhere with strong attachment.”  

Love is not only a display of affection but is an action as well. When we love, we put that love on display through our actions, amen? You can’t love someone and not do anything for that person. It’s our natural desire to show our love through our actions.

Ruth showed that love toward her mother in law in one of the most wonderful ways.  Ruth “adhered” to her mother in law.  She showed her love and devotion by following her wherever she would go.  Ruth was willing to abandon everything she had learned as a child for the sake of her mother in law!  Ruth’s devotion went all the way to Naomi’s faith – Ruth wanted to follow her anywhere!

Would I have done this? In my brain, I would have thought that there were too many “what if’s” to worry about in a situation like that.  After all, how many women do you know would follow their mother in law and not their very own family?  It’s something to think about.  Naomi’s faith left such an impression with Ruth that Ruth wanted to follow her to an unknown place.  Is my faith that evident that others would follow me anywhere?

Ruth’s devotion to her mother in law produced great results.  Sometimes it takes years – even generations – to see those results. But Ruth was rewarded in her lifetime for such devotion and love.  It’s a great lesson for us. What we do now may affect our grandchildren. What we do now may not even show up for hundreds of years.  This was also true in Ruth’s life. Yes, she was blessed with a wonderful husband in Boaz.  But look at how it affected her future!

Mt. 1:5 Booz begat Obed of Ruth.  (Obed was David’s grandfather.)

God rewarded her love and devotion by allowing Christ to come from her Gentile lineage!  Our Saviour chose Ruth!  Wow!

Mt. 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Mt. 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Who would have thought that love and devotion would be rewarded in this manner?  I’m sure this went far and beyond Ruth’s wildest dream!

Think about it … what we produce now, spiritually speaking, not only has an effect on us but also on our families … and years down the road.  We don’t know what will happen but wouldn’t you like to be remembered for being devoted to the Lord in the same manner Ruth was devoted?  It’s never too late to start … jump in with both feet and commit your ways to the Lord.

Psalm 37:5-6 5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:39) Nothing – absolutely nothing – can separate us from the love of God! Amen and amen! I look at pictures of the Grand Canyon and see its depth and height and width – this is how I can bury this verse deep in the soil of my heart! Looking at this picture gives a whole new meaning to the vastness of God’s love and the emphasis His Word has on this love and how He never leaves us! Praise the Lord! If this does not bless you today, your blesser is broken!

Today’s hymn is about the love of God and its intensity. What a wonderful topic to cover, isn’t it? How can one be depressed or discouraged when there is a God that loves us like this and to this extreme? This type of hymn helps us to encourage ourselves – it encourages us to dig into the Word and be blessed beyond measure! Frederick M. Lehman is the author of these beautiful words! He was born on August 7, 1868 in Mecklenburg, Germany and died February 20, 1953 in Pasadena, California.

His family came to the U.S. when he was four. He grew up in Iowa and was saved at the young age of 11. It was the beauty of nature that brought him to Christ while he was out walking one morning. When I read this, it reminded me of Paul’s words in Romans 1:20: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: God can reveal Himself even to a child through His beautiful creation! Their tender hearts are so open to receive Christ.

Although Lehman pastored at Audubon, Iowa; New London, Indiana; and Kansas City, Missouri, he spent most of his life writing hymns. His first one was written in 1898 when he was a pastor in Kingsley, Iowa. He moved to Kansas City and assisted in founding the Nazarene Publishing House.

Today’s hymn was written in 1917 and published in 1919 in Volume 2 of “Songs That Are Different.” I’ll say his song is different! Cyberhymnal had this tidbit that simply amazed me:

The lyrics are based on the Jewish poem Haddamut, written in Aramaic in 1050 by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, a cantor in Worms, Germany; they have been translated into at least 18 languages. One day, during short intervals of inattention to our work, we picked up a scrap of paper and, seated upon an empty lemon box pushed against the wall, with a stub pencil, added the (first) two stanzas and chorus of the song… Since the lines (3rd stanza from the Jewish poem) had been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum after he had been carried to his grave, the general opinion was that this inmate had written the epic in moments of sanity. Frederick M. Lehman, “History of the Song, The Love of God,” 1948

The music to this beautiful hymn was arranged by Lehman’s daughter, Claudia L. Mays.

The Love of God
Frederick M. Lehman

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Refrain

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Refrain

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Refrain

My friend, if you are feeling alone in the midst of total chaos today, please know that there is nothing that can separate you from your Heavenly Father! He is right there – going through your trials along with you. Rom. 8:38-39, For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (38 ) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (39) This got me to thinking about the preciseness of this verse – Paul left nothing to chance – he included everything that a human being could think up in his quest to find the limit God’s love. There is nothing!

  • Death – The saved child of God will die but he cannot go to hell. It only serves to emphasize that We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Co 5:8 )
  • Life – The saved child of God cannot be separated from God no matter how he lives his life – it is not a license to sin but it proves to us that our sin is not what separates us from Him! Our sin hinders fellowship with God but does not remove our position in His family.
  • Angels – the devil is a fallen angel – he cannot separate us from God!
  • Principalities – No supreme power on earth can separate us from God!
  • Powers – No power whatsoever can separate us, including ole slew foot himself!
  • Things Present – No circumstances in the present can separate us.
  • Things to Come – No circumstances in the future can separate us!
  • Height – It just goes to show us (like in the picture above) that no amount of height can separate us! Visualize it in your mind’s eye.
  • Depth – Again, it just goes to show us (like in the picture above) that no amount of depth can separate us!
  • Any other creature – No creature can separate us! This puts to rest those who believe that you can choose to give up your salvation. God says that no other creature can separate us from His love. If your child divorced himself from you and your family, would that make you any less of a parent? Of course not.

Praise the Lord that our salvation is not dependent on anything that we do! Our salvation is totally dependent on God’s love and what He did for us!

~Psalm 147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

This same Creator … this same Shepherd … this same God who created us and loves us has great power! This same God who can move mountains can move the weight of mountains from your shoulders! Are you burdened with the cares of life? Are you struggling with cancer or a chronic illness today? Are you in the middle of a rough marriage? God understands. God knows exactly what you are going through and is waiting to help you.

Sometimes He helps without us even asking. He knows how much we can take and He never gives us more than we can handle. That is why He sends blessings our way to give us reprieve from our burden.

Turn to Him today … He’s waiting to lead you to the still waters so you can rest and drink. Let Him do the guarding … let Him do the fighting … let Him do the problem solving! Enjoy His peaceful rest.

~Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


~John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

If we want to learn about love, all we have to do is to turn to the Word which gives us the perfect example of love, Jesus Christ, our Saviour! How can we love as Christ loves?

~1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.

If every believer lived by this verse, can you imagine the impact Christianity would have on the world today? Paul gave us five attributes of love.

  1. Love is long suffering – patient:  How many times have we snapped at someone we love?  How many times have we been quick to judge?  When we are patient and long suffering, these reactions disappear.
  2. Love is kind:  Kindness doesn’t turn its back on those in need.
  3. Love doesn’t envy:  Envy only breeds contempt.  Therefore, if we begin to envy someone, we will eventually look at them with contempt.
  4. Love doesn’t vaunt itself:  Love doesn’t boast or display itself before all.  Love sits in the background and lets others take the credit.
  5. Love is not puffed up:  Love doesn’t get all puffed up with pride but rather is humble.

Christ taught His disciples how to love by example.  Then He performed the ultimate example and gave His life.

~John 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

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~Joshua 22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

The law in the Old Testament was no different that the law which Christ left for us to follow.

~Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

As a born-again Christian, our desire is to nurture our relationship with our Heavenly Father and become more like Christ. In so doing, our actions will speak and reflect this relationship. As we draw closer to the Lord, we have a desire to share that love with others. One who loves will not lie against another – one who loves will not steal from another. As a result, we are fulfilling the law that Christ spoke of: We draw closer to God and, in turn, reflect that relationship through our actions.

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Adrift upon life’s stormy billows,
True despair sets in as darkness falls.
The tempest raging, days turn to night.
Can peace be found amidst it all?

My heart is discouraged, my eyes dim.
It is exhausting to seek the cure.
But I know that His Word is my salve.
It is healing and peace, He assures.

A glimmer of hope, Oh soul rejoice!
The Shepherd’s hand wipes away my tears.
Each drop replaced with His light and peace,
His perfect Love casteth out all fears!

Kate Plourde
August 15, 2006

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