Day 138

Knowing God as a Father

Wisdom Psalm 62:1–12
New Testament John 9:35–10:21
Old Testament Ruth 3:1–4:22


  • What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God
  • What were you made for? To know God.
  • What aim should you set yourself in life? To know God.

These are the questions J. I. Packer raises at the start of his influential book, Knowing God. Jesus said, ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father’ (John 10:14).


Psalm 62:1–12

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;
   my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

3 How long will you assault me?
   Would all of you throw me down—
   this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 Surely they intend to topple me
   from my lofty place;
   they take delight in lies.
  With their mouths they bless,
   but in their hearts they curse.

5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
   my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honour depend on God;
   he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
   pour out your hearts to him,
   for God is our refuge.

9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
   the highborn are but a lie.
  If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
   together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
   or put vain hope in stolen goods;
  though your riches increase,
   do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken,
   two things I have heard:
   “Power belongs to you, God,
12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
   and, “You reward everyone
   according to what they have done.”


Trust him, at all times

It is easy to trust God when things are going well. David urges, ‘Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in him at all times (v.8a, AMP). Trusting in God at all times means trusting him not only when things are going well, but also when things are not going so well. You develop character by trusting him when you are facing difficulties in your life.

Knowing and trusting God leads to:

  • Soul-rest

    In the midst of all your fears and anxieties you can find peace: ‘My soul rests in God alone… Find rest, O my soul, in God alone’ (vv.1,5)
  • 2. Salvation

    Salvation comes by faith in God: ‘My salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation… My salvation and my honour depend on God’ (vv.1b–2a,7a)
  • 3. Security

    Everything else in life is uncertain, and ultimately insecure, but God ‘is my fortress, I shall never be shaken… he is my mighty rock, my refuge’ (vv.2b,6b–7b)

Like Jesus, David contrasts the love of God with money: ‘Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them’ (v.10). When I started practising as a barrister, I wrote this in the margin of my Bible: ‘This is a vital message for me at this time. It was easy in student days not to think about money – but now that money has started to come in I find myself thinking about it more and more, talking about it more and more. The battle is fierce – the pull of the world is so strong. Either you set your heart on God or on money.’


Father, may my soul find rest in you alone. Thank you that you promise that I will never be shaken. I trust in you today.

New Testament

John 9:35–10:21

Spiritual Blindness

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

39 Jesus said,“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father —and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life —only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”


Enjoy life in all its fullness

I thought that becoming a Christian would mean the end to my enjoyment of life. In fact, I found the opposite. Jesus says he came that we might ‘enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)’ (10:10, AMP).

The man healed of blindness had no trouble believing in Jesus. When Jesus finds him and says, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ (9:35), he asks, ‘Who is he sir?... Tell me so that I may believe in him’ (v.36). Jesus replies, ‘“You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one you are speaking with.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshipped him’ (vv.37–38). In Jesus, the man realised that he had encountered God himself. You too can encounter God in Jesus.

Jesus explains how, through him, you can know God. He uses two analogies. First, he speaks of himself as ‘the gate’ (10:1). The Greek word ‘thura’ is perhaps better translated as ‘the door’. Jesus is the door for the sheep to come in and find salvation (v.9). He is the door to the Father. The door to knowing God is to know Jesus.

The second analogy Jesus uses is that he is the good shepherd. The Greek word for good (kalos) means ‘beautiful’, ‘noble’, ‘wonderful’. The sheep know the shepherd: ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father’ (vv.14–15). The background to this is that God himself is described as the ‘shepherd’ in the Old Testament (for example, see Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:11). To know Jesus is to know God.

  • Enjoy fullness of life
    In a relationship with Jesus, you find meaning, purpose, fulfilment, peace, forgiveness, and life in all its fullness.

  • Don’t let the devil rob you
    Jesus contrasts himself with ‘the thief’ who comes to ‘steal and kill and destroy’ (John 10:10a). The devil wants to rob you of your peace and enjoyment of life. Don’t let him.

  • Be assured of God’s love for you
    Jesus also contrasts the good shepherd with the ‘hired hand’ who, when the wolf attacked the flock, runs away because he cares nothing for the sheep (vv.12–13).

    On the other hand, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (vv.11,15). This is entirely voluntary: ‘The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord’ (vv.17–18). If you ever doubt that God loves you, you simply have to look at the cross: Jesus laid down his life for you.

    Jesus came to give his life on the cross to take away all the blocks that prevent you knowing and being in communion with God as your Father.

  • Learn to listen to his voice
    It is in the instinctive nature of sheep to recognise the shepherd’s voice. ‘The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice’ (vv.3–4).

    The more you get to know Jesus, the more you will get to discern whether it is his voice rather than the deceptive voice of the wolf.

  • Know that you have eternal life
    The one you know not only dies for you but he also rises from the dead for you. He has the power to take his life again: ‘I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again’ (v.18b). He gives you eternal life.

    Jesus later defines eternal life like this: ‘Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’ (17:3).


Lord, thank you that you love me so much that you laid down your life for me. Thank you that you give me life and life in all its fullness.

Old Testament

Ruth 3:1–4:22

Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor

3 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.

7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

9 “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”

10 “The LORD bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor. ”

15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town.

16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?”

Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”

18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”

Boaz Marries Ruth

4 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.

2 Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. 3 Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”

“I will redeem it,” he said.

5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

6 At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”

7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)

8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.

9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses! ”

11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”

Naomi Gains a Son

13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The Genealogy of David

18 This, then, is the family line of Perez :

  Perez was the father of Hezron,

  19 Hezron the father of Ram,

  Ram the father of Amminadab,

  20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

  Nahshon the father of Salmon,

  21 Salmon the father of Boaz,

  Boaz the father of Obed,

  22 Obed the father of Jesse,

  and Jesse the father of David.


Honour God in all circumstances

God honours those who honour him and do what is right – even when it is costly to do so and even through the trials and difficulties of life. We see how each of the main characters honours the LORD: Naomi (1:8–9), Ruth (v.17 and following), and Boaz (2:4,12; 3:10,13; 4:11). They are great models for us to follow.

The book of Ruth begins with Naomi despairing of the kindness of God (1:20–21). She then experiences many of the people around her displaying great human kindness. She experiences it in her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah (v.8), and in Boaz’s treatment of Ruth. Finally, she declares, ‘He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead’ (2:20).

Ruth obeys her mother-in-law in every detail. Naomi’s concern is wholly for Ruth’s wellbeing. Boaz is self-controlled, generous and honourable. Boaz’s life is obviously God-centred. His immediate reaction when he wakes up and sees Ruth is ‘The LORD bless you’ and ‘as the LORD lives’ (3:10,13).

Yesterday, we saw how Ruth honoured the Lord and did the right thing by being loyal to her mother-in-law. Today, we see how Boaz clearly wanted to marry Ruth, and felt it was the right thing, yet did not simply go ahead as he could have done on the basis of the end justifying the means. He was completely upright in the way that he approached the matter – abiding by the etiquette and traditions of the culture.

Boaz did not just rush ahead and get married. He went through the correct process. Humanly speaking he was taking a great risk and might have lost Ruth. But he trusted that the Lord was in control.

The Lord honoured this in an amazing and wonderful way. Boaz and Ruth were married and gave birth to the grandfather of King David (4:17). Indeed, Ruth, the servant girl, became an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5–6). In one sense, Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 4:14). He calls us his brothers and sisters, understands our struggles and acts to redeem us (Hebrews 2:11–12, 17–18).

We see the kindness of God throughout the book of Ruth. Behind the human kindness of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz lies the kindness of God.


Father, thank you for your amazing kindness to me. Thank you for redeeming me. Give me courage to honour you always and to seek to do the right thing even when that is difficult.

Pippa adds

John 10:10 is one of my favourite verses: ‘I have come that [you] may have life, and life to all its fullness.’

The Bible has great power. It was through someone showing me this verse many years ago that I first encountered a relationship with Jesus Christ.



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J. I. Packer, Knowing God, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1973) p.31.

The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel (commentary formerly known as Bible in One Year) ©Alpha International 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Compilation of daily Bible readings © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 1988. Published by Hodder & Stoughton Limited as the Bible in One Year.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.

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