This is just awesome. The first 2.5 mins are mostly (awesome) engine sounds and then it's 8 minutes of high flying, sideways, spectator dodging Group B awesomeness. I really, really want to drive fast, sideways through the woods like this.
Do they still have racing like this?
A long time on-line friend from back when I actually was blogging, keith Brenton, posted this on his blog today:
The Brenton family needs your prayers, because we need two miracles.
Angi has been a little ill - digestive difficulties - since January and it got bad enough that she went to the doctor early last week. They did some blood tests and a CT scan Friday, 2/15. The preliminary diagnosis we got the next day from the scan is pancreatic cancer - a golfball-sized tumor near the bottom of the pancreas, and unfortunately, signs that it has spread to the liver.
The prognosis for this type of cancer is never good, and life expectancy if caught early is usually about nine months - less if other organs are affected.
She will see an oncologist in Asheville Thursday, one who specializes in this type of cancer, and we'll know more then.
This has been a shock for all of us, and we have been informing family members and friends. It has been especially difficult for our 16-year-old daughter Laura, who has been battling depression for some months. The day Angi's scan was taken, we were admitting Laura to the local hospital's ER for a comprehensive evaluation. We agreed (including Laura) with the evaluating team that she needed to be placed temporarily at a hospital which specializes in treating depression, and one of us was with her at the ER 24 hours a day until a bed opened up Monday evening 2/18, just 3-1/2 hours away. We have taken her there, and she'll be in that program to help restart her life about 5-7 days.
I shared this with my minister here to add Keith, Angi and Laura to our prayers and his response was "Wow. That's a lot to handle." Indeed.
Keith is a vocal champion for Jesus, not one to hold back from challenging those who's focus is other things. He and I hail from separate branches from the Church of Christ tree, each with plenty of opportunities for such challenges. As such, Keith has a thick skin (and a gracious spirit to compliment it), but I imagine these events are threatening to pierce it.
If you follow Keith on twitter, you'll be familiar with this near-daily tweet of his (and this one is from today):
It's 3:00pm EST - the customary time of prayer (Acts 3:1). Whom are you #PrayingFor today?— Keith Brenton (@keith_brenton) February 19, 2013
Too often I look at it and think "what a nice sentiment" but do nothing with it. Not tomorrow.
Won't you join me then, and now, in praying for Keith, Angi and Laura?
In response to Hooniverse's 4 part series of Thunderbird brochures (1, 2, 3, 4) in their R.A-S.H. series. R.A-S.H. stands for "Rusty's Archive of Showroom Hyperbole", so I've called this,
creatively, S.A-S.H. or Salguod's Archive of Showroom Hyperbole. Archive is likely incorrect as I'm unlikely to do this again, but i digress.
Since the R.A-S.H. posts were mostly taken on the 'bonnet' of his '98 Audi A4, I decided it only fitting to photograph this on the hood of my 1960 Thunderbird Convertible. Let's have a look at 'The World's Most Wanted Car'.
"Thunderbird - one of the great all-time automotive classics!"
This is year 3 of the first of the 4 seat Thunderbirds. The Squarebirds, as they've come to be known, were a resounding sales success. The '60 alone was the best selling T'bird until the '77 models came out, out selling all 3 years of the 2 seaters combined. However, until recently, the 4 seat T'birds, and the Squarebirds in particular, were the red headed step children of the Thunderbird universe. Even though the 4 seaters are gaining popularity and respect now, there's still a 2 seat vs. 4 seat divide in the T'bird world, even among parts suppliers. It was certainly one of the most desirable cars at the time, but to call it an all-time classic when new was certainly a stretch.
"Just say "Thunderbird"!
The very name evokes an image of glamour and spirit and distinction. This beautiful car comes by its beauty naturally. You won't find another car with lines so clean. So unaffected. So smart."
You want hyberbole? This is 1960, we've got hyperbole.
"Sports car roadability and luxury car comfort."
Yeah, if 0-60 in 10+ seconds, body roll and a floaty ride are "sports car roadability" and a tight-for-4 interior is 'comfort'.
"Fully automatic, the top disappears completely!"
Along with 75% of the already meager trunk space. Actually, and I'm biased here, but this is pretty cool. The predecessor to the system on the 4 door Continental Convertible, the 1960 T'bird's top goes down from the driver's seat, with a flip of the two windsheild latches (conveniently left out of the brochure) and engaging the switch. The deck-lid rises, the top goes down and the deck-lid closes, leaving a clean, finsihed appearance. No boot to fuss with. It's not a simple system with a hydraulic pump, 4 cylinders, 12 relays and numerous limit switches and solenoids. Should the system fail and you need to access the trunk, you jack the car, remove the wheels, drop the fuel tank and disconnect the hydraulic cylinders in back and the deck-lid latches through small access holes under the car. Thankfully, the system is actually pretty reliable if used regularly.
Decades before Photoshop, that top image is a retouched lie. They've used the split created by the lady's arm to stretch the rear seat leg room to about 3 times actual. Compare to the green interior below.
The bellman on the left is thinking "Lady, I'm not sure this is gonna close." Yes, the trunk is 5' 5" wide, but it's not deep enough for a full paper grocery sack to stand upright. This page talks about Thunderbird's 'compact' dimensions, but that only applies to the interior, it's nearly as long and wide as my 8 passenger Saturn Outlook.
Accessories "To add an extra measure of comfort and pleasure." Luxurious things like backup lights and a window washer. Check out the sliding steel sunroof, on an American car in 1960.
300 or 350 HP, but that's gross, not the now standard SAE net. As I said before, the base engine isn't particularly quick. It does feel quick, especially if you pay attention and put it in D1 so you don't start in second gear. Note, however, that you could get your 'luxury' car with a 3 speed stick - on the column. Note that there's nothing hiding those beautiful V8s and that the top image is actually a painting of the engine, not a photograph.
What strikes be the most on this page is how bad that top image is. Look at how blurry the people are. The image is so bad, that all the detail on the car - the grille, headlights, door cut line, quarter panel trim - is airbrushed in.
Oh, for the days of "15 Luxury Lounge" interiors, 56 different two tone exteriors and honest to goodness colors. Modern cars have maybe 10 colors and 6 of them are grey.
I hope the fellow Hoons at Hooniverse will forgive my
plagiarism borrowing of their format. I've always been a fan of auto literature (I have boxes of the stuff from all the shows I've been to) and enjoy the R.A-S.H. posts. With their 4 T'bird themed entries this week, it seemed fitting.
Disclaimer:- All photos were taken by the author and are of genuine original manufacturer publicity material, resting on the hood of a 1960 Thunderbird, currently in hibernation awaiting warmer days. All copyright rights remain in the possession of the manufacturer.
This past weekend I had the privileged of attending Saturday's races at Mid Ohio including the American Lemans race (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge), USF2000 National Championship race #1 and Pirelli World Challenge Championship race #1.
The weekend was sponsored by Honda (who did well this weekend, winning both prototype classes of the ALMS race and Sunday's Indy car race) and a buddy who works at Honda had tickets for the weekend and invited me to come along. It was the first race I had been to in over 30 years. The last race I attended, I believe, was also at Mid Ohio, the Champion Spark Plug Challenge race (IMSA?) in the late 70's or early 80's when I was in middle school, I think. Yeah, I'm old.
Anyway, in the spirit of the olelongrooffan from Hooniverse and his visits to the birthplace of speed, I kept my eye out for interesting cars in the parking areas of the track. We spent most of our time in the infield, wandering from corner to corner to take in the race from different vantage points. Along the way (and in the parking lot) we were greeted with a nice variety of nifty machinery.
First up was this very clean, and wonderfully brown, Lincoln Mark VII LSC. Judging by the BBS inspired wheels, this is a 1990-1992. I've always liked the looks of these.
I didn't bring my good camera, choosing not to lug it around, a bad move in hind sight. Instead I just snapped pics on my cell phone. It's got quite a decent 8MP camera, but it's still a phone camera and, as this shot proves, has limitations. Several came out like there was schmutz on the lens, but not all of them and I never cleaned the lens, so who knows. Anyway, I thought these two late model beauties from Stuttgart were worth an image, even if it is a bit fuzzy.
Just up the isle from the new and shiny Porsches was this clean, older 944. The 944 never did much for me growing up, no Porsches did frankly, but it was nice seeing this one now 20 some years old.
Another victim of the cell phone camera was this real clean 1959 MGA (I read license plates well). I must have caught the sun on the rear view mirror or something. Look how big that new Mini looks in comparison.
Honda's S2000 was well represented along the road toward the main bridge to the infield. As a Honda sponsored event, they were well represented period. In fact, I saw more Crosstours and CR-Zs here than I think I had everywhere else to date.
Several manufacturers were represented, both in official displays like the SRT display in the background (this was the first race for the new Viper GTS-R), or in owner's infield parking areas. This very clean early 60's Caddy was parked last in a row of newer Cadillacs. The wheel covers and extra wide whites are a bit too much for me.
I can't really blame the phone camera on this one, I was clearly in too much of a hurry to catch up with the group and moved the phone before the shot. I didn't realize it until we were down the road a ways. The car in question was worth including anyways. No, not the CRZ but the Europe only Focus RS Mk2 in Ultimate Green. There it was, hiding under the trees among the more common riff-raff in the infield. Man, I wish I had gotten a better shot.
This pristine early VW Type 2 T2 camper (Westfalia?) looked like it just rolled off the showroom floor, not like it had been driven from Indiana like its plates indicated. It didn't even look like it could have been driven up the dirt path through the infield.
This later Type 2 T2 was every bit as clean, if not quite as appealing as the older pop-top.
But the best was the awesome Type 2 T1 camper (or is it a Combi?) with what looks like a period roof top tent on a modern roof rack. My only disappointment was that they weren't up in the tent watching the race. They were parked right along the fence, after all (see the Porsche on the track on the left?).
When was the last time you saw a single XLR, let alone 5 together and 2 of them V-series?
This was only half of the Corvette area. There must have been 100 'Vettes, and all but this '59-'60 were late model, C4, C5 or C6 models.
This was an interesting car that I wasn't familiar with. A 1962 Porsche 356 notchback. Built, according to the owner, to give a bit more head room for the rear seat. Only built in '61 & '62, the first few were converted convertibles and later in life many got converted back, as the rag-top was more desirable. One of a couple thousand made.
Another blast from the past was this 928. I didn't even see the 300 ZXs right behind it. I wish I had, I would have gotten a shot of them too. Can you spot the surf board?
Oh, and yes there was a race going on, so here is a shot from each of the three races on Saturday.
This is the ALMS race, with a couple of the GT cars and a couple prototypes heading into the front straight. These were all impressive machines, watching the prototypes corner was a treat as they simply changed direction with no perceivable body roll. I loved listening to the GT cars, the Ferrari 458s and BMW 3 series had a wicked wail, but the Corvettes had a low rumble that you could feel. The Vipers didn't sound good at all, they sounded out of tune, and maybe they were, they weren't competitive at all.
These are the Mazda powered USF2000 cars heading into the esses after the long straight at the starting line. A series with one chassis and running sealed 2.0 liter Mazda engines, this one was all about driver talent.
This is the first lap of the Pirelli World Challenge race. The cars have just come off the starting line up to the left and are headed into the esses. This looked like it was going to be a great race with 54 cars on the track ranging from the Volvos and Caddy CTS-Vs you see up front to a couple GTRs, A8s, Camaros, Mustangs, a flock of 911s down to a Kia Optima, Mazdaspeed3s and Civics. There was even a guy campaigning a Solstice coupe. Unfortunately we had to go, so we only saw a couple laps. According to their website, a Volvo took the GT class, an Acura won the GTS class and Mazda (Go Zoom Zoom!) won the TC class.
All in all a fun day, even though it was real hot and we walked a lot. I hope to get back to another race before another 30 years goes by.
In Job 6:2-3 Job protests, "If only there was a way to quantify my suffering, you'd see there's a reason for my rash words." But in Job 6:3-4 he makes the same mistake as Eliphaz, ascribing the suffering to God rather than Satan.
Job repeats his earlier lament in Job 6:8-13, rather clarifies it. Instead of wishing that hadn't been born, he simply longs that God would finish what, in Job's view, He has started. Just crush me, he says, for what hope could I possibly have now?
Job's despair is great and clear, yet his friend Eliphaz has only responded with implied condemnation rather than compassion. Jon's plea here is again for compassion, though indirectly. In Job 6:14-17 he directly rebukes them for withhodling kindness.
He pleas in Job 6:24-27, continuing his rebuke, tell me what I've done wrong? Eliphaz has said that surely he must have sinned to have brought such suffering upon himself, but he hasn't named the sin nor accused Job of anything. Job says "what does reproof from you reprove?"
He challenges them in Job6:28-30, "look at me, ... let no injustice be done ... is there any injustice on my tongue?"
Eliphaz assumed there must be sin, and therefore accused Job. Yet he had found no evidence other than suffering. Often times as disciples or as parents, we can see a situation and think (what have they done." and go after them as if already guilty. But until we the facts of sin, we should hold our tongues.
Compassion should rule the day, not judgement.
Interesting to me that Eliphaz accuses Job of 'impatience'. He lost everything of value to him, save is wife, and he has sat in silence for a week. Doesn't sound like impatience to me.
The gist of Job 4 and the intro of Job 5 is that calamity doesn't come without sin, the just aren't punished, so surely Job has sinned. We know from our insight in Job 1-2 that Job was upright, called out by God as an example of righteousness. Yet God allowed Satan to attack him.
So this was not of Job's doing, and we see this in our lives as well. Hardship comes upon many people, most people frankly, and often it is not deserved. Callous religious folks will tell you it's due to a lacking in your faith or behavior, but the facts do not bear this out. People suffer and much of the time it is due to nothing in their control. To say otherwise is heartless and does injustice to their pain.
Eliphaz councils Job to seek God in his pain (Job 5:8-16), wise words, but there is an undercurrent of cynicism there (or maybe it's my own cynicism). He seems to be saying, "Go to God, you'll see, He'll set you straight." as opposed to "Go to God for comfort." His words speak of God's opposition to sinners and protection of the right and humble, implying that Job is certainly in the former since he was not protected.
In fact, in Job 5:17-27 he goes on about how God takes care of those he loves, even telling Job that folks with God laugh at destruction (v.22) and their offspring will be many (v.25), a bit callous to say to a man who has just seen destruction and the ruin of his offspring.
As I said earlier, there are religious 'councilors' that will try to tell you amid great tragedy and pain all the reasons that you have brought this on when there is no evidice to support it (notice that Eliphaz doesn't accuse Job of anything specifically, just implies that there must be something). Run from them. Seek those who will not shy away from confronting your sin when needed, but will comfort, care for and bandage your soul when wounded by the storms of life common to us all.
Jesus cared for the afflicted, over and over and mostly without comment on the reasons for their suffering. He simply cared for them.
Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
"Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope."Matthew 12:15-21
Jared Wilson talks about how the expanse of the Gospel is far bigger than anything we know, bigger than our traditions and expectations. It bursts forth, requiring us to change our ways of thinking and our expectatuions.
And it's founded, at least in part, on the joy of 'God with us'. The disciples had no reason to fast, for Jesus was with them (Mar 2:18-22), and He is with us too so, as Jared says, "those united to Christ are not to be typefied by grief but by joy". Indeed:
When we have this deep joy, we navigate seasons of suffering and brokenness with both the firmness of faith and the flexibility of it. We are able to confidently say, "This day" -- with all its troubles -- "is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24) Because we know that the joy is so deep, it will buoy our souls for all eternity.
It's a great post, go read the whole thing.
Job 3:1 starts "After this ...". The 'this' was 7 days and nights of just sitting. Sitting in his funk, in his sores, with his friends there, just sitting.
He waits a week to start his lament. I doubt it'd taken me that long.
Then, in Job 3:1-10, he doesn't simply lament all that has happened to him in recent days, no, so great is his sorrow that he laments that he was even born. All the good, all the joy, all the blessings in his life added together, and any that may someday come, are not enough to offset the pain in his heart right now. He curses the day that brought him into being and that ultimately lead to where he is now.
In Job 3:11-20 he wonders why, why was I brought into existence for this? Wouldn't it have been better to skip straight to death. In death evil is silenced and the weary and oppressed are at rest. There both the small and great have the same fate, a fate preferable to that which has now.
Why bother, he asks in Job 3:21-26, to give one in misery the light of day, when all he longs for is for his days to be done? Of what use is the day?
I can imagine that many in Colorado feel this today, as any victim of any tragedy would. The pain is so raw, so real, so great that there seems that there can be no escape. Daylight or night, it comes, no matter where they turn it is there, they want to run but know that it will still envelope them everywhere. While I can imagine such despair, I cannot imagine what it's like to live under it.
You can feel the depth of Job's pain here, and it makes me mindful to never trivialize or dismiss the pain of one who's suffering.
I decided to try to put my summary comments in italics to distinguish it from my comments. Thoughts? Beuler? :-D
Verse 1 says "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord." (It says it in Chapter 1 too). The 'son's of God' came 'presenting themselves', wow. but the implication here, and in verse 2, is that Satan is a party crasher here. He didn't belong with the Son's of God. Or is that just my assumption? Am I reading into this?
And God say, "Hey, have you checked out Job? You attacked Him without reason, yet he remains true." You can almost hear the "I told you so."
Satan challenges God that he wasn't allowed to go far enough. Surely, he'll curse God if his life was threatened. Fair enough, God allows Satan to attack Job himself, but no to death. God's confidence in Job remains high, and Job, though crushed, refuses to curse God.
Blaming or cursing God was not an option for Job. I don't think it was because he wasn't hurting or even that he didn't have questions, but that God was God, He is greater and his ways are greater. Whatever is happening, God knows and Job could trust him in it.
What is interesting here is that Job's suffering came, not from his sin or even the sin of others around him, but from God settling a bet with Satan. I'm certain that God knew what was going to happen here, but He wanted to prove to Satan that there were men who were faithful to Him regardless of circumstances. Satan accused God of gaming the system to produce followers, and God used Job to prove him wrong.
On one had it seems a bit unfair or cold, like Job is a pawn in this chess match between God and Satan. But that gives Satan too much credit. Satan likes to see himself as a worthy opponent to God, but he is not. Job here isn't simply a pawn, he is God's chosen instrument to humble and silence Satan. Looked at in that light, what an honor.
God is accomplishing His glory in our pain. Will we chose to at least accept that true and even embrace it that it may be accomplished even more? Not easy, for sure, and it may even seem unfair, but to God be the glory, bot ourselves.
His friends arrive an he is so stricken, they don't recognize him and no one can bring them to say anything for 7 days. For a full week, they simply sit with job and mourn with him.
Sometimes, all we can do for one another is simply be there, and that alone is of great comfort in the face of great suffering. Sometimes, as Job's friends will prove, words simply make things worse.
I'm going to try to make these QT posts a bit easier to follow without looking up each scipture reference. These always made sense to me as I wrote them, but looking back they are a bit like listening to one half of a phone call. I'd like these to be more readable, but I'm not sure I'll succeed or not. Let me know how I'm doing, assuming I still have readers.
Job 1:1-5 - Job's Character and Wealth
The Bible calls Job 'blameless and upright'. Was originally going to say that might be what the world would say, but I remembered that later (verse 8) God describes Job in that way. Still, we know that no one is good, not even one as it says in Romans 3 (itself a reference to Psalm 14, Psalm 53 and Ecclesiastes 7), so we know that Job is not perfect. He was devoted to God to the point that God took notice.
Interesting to me that his sons, in these few sentences, are portrayed as partiers and not necessarily concerned with God. Hard to be dogmatic, but it says not that they followed God or sacrificed to HIm for their sins, but that Job himself would sacrifice on their behalf, sort of just in case they had sinned.
Job 1:6-22 - Satan's attack
Satan and God meet and talk. The idea of Satan and God casually meeting and talking about the happenings on Earth is sobering and disturbing. I tend to think of God in a bit too much of a Deist way. He set the Earth in motion and is watching from afar, but not too active in it. I then apply the same to Satan, minimizing his work in the Earth to the point that it doesn't matter.
The picture we see here is that both are intimately familiar with the details of what happens here. God pointed Job out as an example of one committed to him, a bit like a Father bragging on his son. Satan knows exactly who he is and you can almost hear how ticked off he is that he hasn't been able to lay a hand on Job.
The interesting, and encouraging, thing here is that Satan is limited by what God allows him to do. Job was protected, and not until God gave Satan (limited) permission to attack him. God is in control, nothing happens that He is not aware of and approved of. God is pictured here as calm and secure while Satan is anxious and frustrated, eager to act but limited. Satan is frustrated because of the limits God as placed in front of him, but God isn't frustrated or anxious at all. Even when God gives Satan permission to attack Job, you don't see a bit of anxiety on God's part. He knows Job's faith and you get the impression here that this is to teach Satan a lesson more than Job.
But notice how swift and complete Satan's actions are. Immediately, Job is confronted,one after another with calamity. his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his camels, nearly all his servants (Satan conveniently left one alive from each tragedy so Job would get the message) and even his children, all killed.
Job's famous response - "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." - shows what God already knew - that Job had his priorities on straight. His stuff, even his family, was not the most important. God was.
Do I have such a priority? Am I easily flummoxed by the minor calamities in my life, or do I rest in God, mo matter what may come?
I found out on yesterday that a dear friend, George Wolfe passed away of complications from a fall. The news rocked my world. I've known George for over 20 years.
My first memory of George was from college, the summer I lived in a rented 3 story house with 14-16 college and single guys (not recommended, BTW). He and I were watching TV and he turned to me and out of the blue he said "Brother, I have to confess that I have an attitude with you now. I'm sorry, I don't know why, I have no reason, but I just do. I had to tell you to get it off of my chest, please forgive me." I had only become a Christian a few months before and I didn't quite know what to make of his surprising openness. I think I said something like "It's OK." or something equally profound. But that was George, a man with a heart bigger than his small frame could possibly hold.
Though I knew him well enough, we were never what folks might call close friends. He was just always around. I would see him regularly at various singles or campus events and at church services for 4-5 years until Maria and I were married and we moved to Detroit for my job.
That was over 19 years, 2 states and 5 residences and ago, yet George kept up with us and he'd send us 1-2 letters a year, hand written, 2-3 pages each. Peppered with scriptures and dripping with encouragement, it was always a highlight when a letter from George arrived. Along with news of his life, he'd remind me of how great our God was and exhort me to remember his blessings and not neglect my faith. He'd encourage me to be mindful of my duties as a husband and father to lead my family and raise my girls in the Lord, while at the same time praising me for how I was doing with them.
I was not nearly as good of a pen pal, but I did manage to write back a couple of times, telling him how encouraging it was to receive his letters. Encouragement was clearly his gift and I told him so. He wrote back right away, you'd think I had wrote him a check for a million dollars he was so thrilled that his letters were making such an impact.
If anyone in this world had the gift of encouragement, it was George. He was the kind of guy that was easy to overlook, but if you stopped and paid attention to him, you were the one blessed.
The world will be a decidedly dimmer place without George in it. Lord, give him a big hug for me, please, and George, save me a place at the table.
I posted on Twitter & Facebook:
Today in church we sang songs from 3 centuries, 2 each from the 1700s & 1800s, 3 from the 1900s so we can stay relevant.
I love the diversity of our music ministry. I'm a big fan of the old hymns, but new music is good too. I guess new is relative since our songbook dates to 1999.
The oldest song today was the one that moved me. Isaac Watts penned "I'm Not Ashamed to Own My Lord" in 1707 (it wasn't put to music for 130+ years!) and this verse helped tie together our works vs His for me:
Firm as His throne His promise stands, And He can well secure What I've committed to His hands Till the decisive hour.
Yes, we work, we obey, we follow and act based on His command. Obedience is not trivial, yet the best we can do is commit it to his hands. But that is enough, as he can and will carry it through to that decisive hour.
This is the communion lesson I gave at church this morning.
During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.Hebrews 5:7-10
There at the beginning of verse 9 is a curious phrase - 'once made perfect'.
How is it that Jesus, the Son of God, was made perfect?
Jesus was perfect before he came to Earth and he arrived here perfect, just as all babies are perfect. The Jesus we just celebrated last month, that baby in a manger, started like all other babies - pure, sinless, holy.
But human babies (as opposed to God babies) don't stay perfect. We quickly stray from that path. We sin, at first without knowing better, but eventually we know full well what we're doing. We all become prodigals, and so do our kids. We live our lives our way, convinced that we know what we're doing, though we do not. And we, and our children, prove this every day.
We are in a very real sense being made imperfect.
But Jesus lived the path we could not. When faced with choices to sin, he did not. Through 'prayers and petitions' and 'fervent cries and tears', he learned the obedience we refused to master.
In the process, he was made perfect.
The perfection he had before wasn't chosen or earned, it simply was. He had no opportunity for imperfection. So he had to come, he had to be tempted because it wasn't enough for Him to simply be perfect; in order to become our 'source of eternal salvation', he needed to be made perfect.
That's the real price of our sin - that a sacrifice that was simply perfect wasn't quite sufficient; it had to be made that way through suffering. In a very real sense, he had to earn it in order to offer it to us.
The above was the lesson as I delivered it this morning. A wise brother came to me after and said he liked it, but offered one small correction.
There perfection Jesus had at first was as God, the perfection he had to attain was as a human. It's not that the perfection he had was inadequate as much as it was incomplete.
In my last post I said I read Ruth 4, but I don't think I did.
In Ruth 4:1-6 we see Boaz meet the unnamed redeemer in public. He asks him to sit and also brings in 10 elders of the city to be witnesses of the conversation. I don't fully understand the conversation here, but I get the idea that Boaz knows the situation well and likely the individual. He knows that he will want to claim them, perhaps to increase his own wealth or prominence, but not out of concern for Ruth & Naomi. After all, if he had been concerned, wouldn't he have stepped up before now.
His self focused motives are further indicated by how once the full extent of what he will be required to do is revealed and how it will impact his own inheritance, he backs away.
Boaz shows himself shrewd here. He knows the person he's dealing with and he knows the situation well and he works it with the goal of protecting and providing for Ruth and Naomi.
Look then at the results. In Ruth 4:14 Naomi, who was self described up front as bitter, is now praised and called blessed by the women of the town. And Ruth becomes the Great grandmother of David, the most famous King of Israel and ultimately the ancestor of Jesus.
What did Ruth do to accomplish this? She stepped out in faith and remained true to Naomi. She stepped out in faith again when approaching Boaz. Boaz did all the heavy lifting here, he accomplished her redemption when she could not. Her redeemer wasn't willing to redeem, but Boaz was and made sure that it happened.
And so it is with us, we humbly approach the Lord in faith in our time of need and he acts on our behalf. The law that we hoped could redeem us could not, but Jesus made sure that we were redeemed. He, like Boaz, did the heavy lifting, we did nothing.
Ruth 3:4 - Can you imagine telling your daughter to go lie won at the feet of a man she has just met for the night?
I have to admit, I don't understand the cultural goings on here in Ruth 3. She seems to demand of him that he care for her in Ruth 3:9, and he agrees, conditionally. She spends the night with Boaz, innocently at his feet, and sneaks off in the morning before first light. It would appear to the casual observer that sin is afoot, and even today we would assume that a woman who goes out to meet a man and doesn't return until morning was up to no good. Yet both Boaz and Ruth praise her for her actions. Certainly they were noble, yet they have the appearance of impropriety.
I suppose she went out at some personal risk, but did so in faith that Boaz was the honorable man he seemed to be. He could have taken advantage of her or dismissed her as an unclean outsider, but he did not. instead, he praises her faith and promises to redeem her.
Isn't this like how we approach Jesus? We come, unworthy, unclean and with nothing but the faith that he will redeem us. He has no obligation to do so, and we have nothing appealing to offer. We approach the perfect, holy God of all creation in our rags and sin, risking His rebuke in hope for that which we cannot get on our own - redemption. And we find in Jesus, like Ruth did in Boaz, our hope fulfilled.
Some thoughts on Ruth 2:
Ruth sets out to glean, but not until she asks permission from Naomi. She gleans behind the reapers, so after they have harvested what they want, she gathers what's left behind. She's determined to provide, but respectful of both Naomi and the land owners.
She sets out at some personal risk. Boaz's and Naomi's comments indicate that some of the men in the fields would not be so kind to a lone woman working in their midst. yet she still goes out.
Boaz, even before he knows who she is, has heard of her and is impressed with her loyalty and work for Naomi. Once he knows who she is, he guarantees her protection and makes sure that she has grain to glean.
She is surprised that Boaz would take notice of her.
Naomi calls Boaz one of their 'redeemers'.
I see a parallel between Ruth / Boaz and Jesus' parallel of the sheep and the goats. Boaz recognizes Ruth's work when Ruth doesn't seem to think it's a big deal, much like Jesus' recognizing the sheep for their work for the poor that they didn't think was a big deal. Neither Ruth or the sheep did what they did out of duty. They did it because it was who they had become. The sheep had been adopted by the shepherd and had become like them, Ruth now adopted in to Naomi's family, belonged to her and identified herself with Naomi. As we saw in Ruth 1, it wasn't a matter of duty or obligation but of identity, and her work to care for the two of them was done in the same way. It wasn't any thing extraordinary, it was simply who she was.
Then, much like shepherd rewards the sheep, Boaz rewards her for her work by protecting her and providing for her. Not as a payment any more than the shepherd was paying the sheep in Jesus' parable, but because that is who Boaz was as well. He owed her nothing, yet gave her much because of who he was, exactly like Jesus does for us because of who He is. All that the good that we might do, as impressive as it may be even to the Lord, does nothing to earn us any blessings. We receive because of who he is instead.
Ruth 1:1 - I never noticed before that Naomi's family was from Bethlehem.
Ruth 1:13-14 - Naomi's grief is great, saying that "the hand of the Lord has gone out against me." and she urges her daughter's in law to go back home and start over. Her world has fallen apart, long from home and having lost her husband an sons. Her argument sounds fine - go back and start over, you are young and I have nothing left to give - and Orpah relents and returns home.
Ruth 1:15-18 - But Ruth isn't having any of it. Though Naomi is likely right, the odds are more in her favor if she returns home, she refuses to abandon Naomi in her grief. I have to believe that although Naomi knew it was right to urge them to go, she is relieved to have Ruth stay and not be alone. What could motivate Ruth to stay with Naomi and return to Judah with her? There isn't really anything of benefit for Ruth in going, the only reason i can see is that Ruth refused to abandon Naomi in her vulnerable state. She knew that Naomi needed her and she wouldn't leave her alone.
Ruth 1:21 - After 10 years, she returns to Bethlehem and is recognized, yet she is not the same. Naomi means 'pleasant' and based on the loyalty of her daughters in law, she seems to have lived up to that name. But she may have left 'pleasant', but she's returned 'bitter' and asks to be called such (Mara). She says that she has come back empty, but she forgets the blessing that is Ruth, who remained y her side.
Isn't that how we act? trouble comes and we think all is lost, there is nothing left. Yet God is still with us, Jesus is still interceding and if we payed attention,we'd see many more blessings around us.
Another thing to consider is Ruth. She's just made a long journey with a self described bitter woman. A bitter woman is no fun to be around, yet Ruth commits herself and remains true. Upon arriving, Naomi essentially dismisses Ruth's loyalty saying that she has returned empty.
Yet Ruth remains.
It occurs to me that we are Naomi and Ruth is Jesus. We complain about our circumstances and lament our fate, ignoring Jesus' faithfulness. Yet Jesus remains, supporting us, encouraging us,steadfast beside us, waiting for us to notice Him there.
Hebrews 13:2 - Back when I was in college, I spent an internship in NYC. Some brothers win the church affiliated with mine took me in and allowed me to stay with them for the 3 months I was there (that's a story in itself). One of my roommates was named Angel. He told me about how months earlier a young man who had just been baptized came to him in service and thanked him for the talk they had and how it had been instrumental in his decision to follow Jesus. Angel was sure he had never met him before, it must have been someone else. But the man insisted that on a certain subway several nights before he had run into him and sat down and talked about his decision, talking through it. Angel had never been on that train before, in fact I think he had been working that night. The man was certain it was Angel, however, an not someone else.
They concluded that it must have been an actual Angel that had met him.
Hebrews 13:5-6 -
be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say,I think many disciples of Jesus get far too worked up about what man can do to them. They are fearful of their finances or their job security or who might get elected next more than they are aware of Him who has claimed them. Our lives and our speech should point to the everlasting security of the Lord in all things more than the things of the Earth that we believe may or may not bring security now.
"The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?"
Hebrews 13:10 - "We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat." What a bold statement to make to an audience of Jews, and what a conclusion tucked into a simple sentence in the middle of these closing paragraphs. Those who cling to the old ways have no right to the blessings of Christ that we Christians enjoy.
Hebrews 13:14 - As I read earlier of those in the OT who looked ahead to the promised messiah but never saw what we have, I felt a bit of sadness for hem. Yet in this verse I see that we share in their view ahead of things promised but not yet seen. One day, both they and us will see in full.