May 13: Shipwrecked
Ruth 3:1–4:22; 1 Timothy 1:12–20; Psalm 73:11–28
“I am setting before you this instruction, Timothy my child, in accordance with the prophecies spoken long ago about you, in order that by them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience, which some, because they have rejected these, have suffered shipwreck concerning their faith” (1 Tim 1:18–19).
Paul had experienced being shipwrecked multiple times in his life, and in this passage, he metaphorically ascribes his experience to that of people who turn from faith in Christ. The imagery of being shipwrecked captures the spiritual state of aimlessness that results from a misguided conscience—one that isn’t grounded in faith. Among those who experienced this shipwreck were Hymenaeus and Alexander, former believers who became blasphemers. They had known the truth of Jesus but were now publicly opposing it (1 Tim 1:20).
Paul admits he had once been a blasphemer himself, but he was “shown mercy because [he] acted ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Tim 1:13). In contrast, Hymenaeus and Alexander blasphemed deliberately by turning from the faith and opposing Paul, even though they knew about God’s grace through Christ.
In Psalm 73, the psalmist uses similar imagery when describing those who wickedly turn from God: “abundant waters are slurped up by them.” The psalmist’s line captures the attitude of these wicked people. They ask mocking questions: “How does God know?” and “Does the Most High have knowledge?” (Psa 73:11). Although they acknowledge God’s presence on some level, they fail to respond. They act in deliberate disobedience.
Following God isn’t optional in either big or small decisions. Paul warns Timothy that this “fight” includes making daily choices that align with faith and a good conscience. Certainly we will fail in following Him—that’s precisely why we need His grace so badly. But deliberately acting against what we know, when we’re aware of His grace, will only result in being shipwrecked.
Are you making deliberate decisions against following God? How has this harmed your relationship with Him? How can you align with His expectations for your life?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Afterward Naomi her mother-in-law said unto her, My daughter, shall not I seek rest for thee, that thou mayest prosper? Now also is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maids thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley tonight in the floor. Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: let not the man know of thee, until he have left eating and drinking. And when he shall sleep, mark the place where he layeth him down, and go, and uncover the place of his feet, and lay there down, and he shall tell thee what thou shalt do. And she answered her, All that thou biddest me, I will do. So she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother-in-law bade her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunken, and cheered his heart, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn, and she came softly, and uncovered the place of his feet, and lay down. And at midnight the man was afraid and caught hold: and lo, a woman lay at his feet. Then he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore the wing of thy garment over thine handmaid: for thou art the kinsman. Then he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: thou hast showed more goodness in the latter end, than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, were they poor or rich. And now, my daughter, fear not: I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people, doth know that thou art a virtuous woman. And now, it is true that I am thy knsman, howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. Tarry tonight, and when morning is come, if he will do the duty of a kinsman unto thee, well, let him do the kinsman’s duty: but if he will not do the kinsman’s part, then will I do the duty of a kinsman, as the Lord liveth: sleep until the morning. And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she arose before one could know another: for he said, Let no man know, that a woman came into the floor. Also he said, Bring the sheet that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid them on her, and she went into the city. And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. And said, These six measures of barley gave he me: for he said to me, Thou shalt not come empty unto thy mother-in-law. Then said she, My daughter, sit still, until thou know how the thing will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he hath finished the matter this same day. Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat there, and behold, the kinsman, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by: and said, Ho, such one, come, sit down here. And he turned, and sat down. Then he took ten men of the Elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, will sell a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s. And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the assistants, and before the Elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, tell me: for I know that there is none besides thee to redeem it, and I am after thee. Then he answered, I will redeem it. Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must also buy it of Ruth the Moabitess the wife of the dead, to stir up the name of the dead, upon his inheritance. And the kinsman answered, I cannot redeem it, lest I destroy mine own inheritance: redeem my right to thee, for I can not redeem it. Now this was the manner beforetime in Israel, concerning redeeming and changing for to stablish all things: a man did pluck off his shoe, and gave it his neighbor: and this was a sure witness in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said to Boaz, Buy it for thee: and he drew off his shoe. And Boaz said unto the Elders and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. And moreover, Ruth the Moabitess the wife of Mahlon, have I bought to be my wife, to stir up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, and that the name of the dead be not put out from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. And all the peole that were in the gate, and the Elders said, We are witnesses: the Lord make the wife that cometh into thine house, like Rachel and like Leah, which twain did build the house of Israel: and that thou mayest do worthily in Ephrathah, and be famous in Bethlehem. And that thine house be like the house of Perez (whom Tamar bare unto Judah) of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman. So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave that she conceived, and bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, and his name shall be continued in Israel. And this shall bring thy life again, and cherish thine old age: for thy daughter-in-law which loveth thee, hath borne unto him, and she is better to thee than seven sons. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her lap, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, There is a child born to Naomi, and called the name thereof Obed: the same was the father of Jesse, the father of David. These now are the generations of Perez: Perez begat Hezron, And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz kept Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. Ruth 3:1–4:22
- Therefore I thank him which hath made me strong, that is, Christ Jesus our Lord: for he counted me faithful, and put me in his service: When before I was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and an oppressor: but I was received to mercy: for I did it ignorantly through unbelief. But the grace of our Lord was exceeding aundant with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus. This is a true saying, and by all means worthy to be received, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Notwithstanding for this cause was I received to mercy, that Jesus Christ should first show on me all long suffering unto the ensample of them, which shall in time to come believe in him unto eternal life. Now unto the king everlasting, immortal, invisible, unto God only wise, be honor, and glory, for ever, and ever, Amen. This commandment commit I unto thee, son Timothy, according tot he prophecies, which went before upon thee, that thou be them shouldest fight a good fight, Having faith and a good conscience, which some have put away, and as concerning faith, have made shipwreck. Of whom is Hymenaeus, and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme. 1 Timothy 1:12–20
- And they say, How doth God know it? or is there knowledge in the most High? Lo these are the wicked, yet prosper they always, and increase in riches. Certainly I have cleansed mine heart in vain, and washed mine hands in innocency. For daily have I been punished, and chastened ever morning. If I say, I will judge thus, behold the generation of thy children, I have trespassed. Then thought I to know this, but it was too painful for me. Until I went into the Sanctuary of God: then understood I their end. Surely thou hast set them in slippery places, and castest them down into desolation. How suddenly are they destroyed, perished and horribly consumed, As a dream when one awaketh! O Lord, when thou raisest us up, thou shalt make their image despised. Certainly mine heart was vexed, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I and ignorant: I was a beast before thee. Yet I was always with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou wilt guide me by thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and I have desired none in the earth with thee. My flesh faileth and mine heart also: but God is the strength of mine heart, and my portion forever. For lo, that they withdraw themselves from thee, shall perish: thou destroyedst all them that go a whoring from thee. As for me, it is good for me to draw near to God: therefore I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works. Psalm 73:11–28