This reading is Ruth 3-4.
My apologies for the delay in posting. I couldn’t access the Internet yesterday. I’m going to aim at posting 3 times per week – roughly Monday / Wednesday / Friday.
Today we wrap up Ruth. She appears to have given up on the prospect of marrying again until Boaz came on the scene.
When Ruth approaches Boaz in the middle of the night in chapter 3 verses 7-9, it seems rather odd. Some have questioned whether what she did was immoral. However, it appears to be a way of proposing to Boaz that he fulfill the role of “kinsman-redeemer.” This was a custom where relatives had the option to “redeem” widows and take care of them.
There was a closer kinsman-redeemer who had the first option to marry Ruth. He seemed interested in Ruth’s property until he found out that Ruth came with it.
The story has a truly happy ending when Ruth and Boaz marry. The local people laud Ruth by saying that as a daughter-in-law she is better than seven sons (a great compliment in that culture).
The book closes with a brief genealogy, noting that Ruth is King David’s great-grandmother. Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, descended from David. So this seemingly simple story shows how God used an unusual series of events to teach many lessons and to show how the union of Ruth and Boaz eventually led to the birth of the Messiah.
The next reading is Jude. It is only one page, but it has a lot of interesting messages. Take a few minutes to read it and then pat yourself on the back for reading a whole book of the Bible in one sitting!
This reading is Ruth 1-2.
There are many things at work in this seemingly simple story, so I’ll just pick out a few to comment on.
Naomi was obviously quite bitter about losing her husband and sons. In hindsight we can see how splendidly things worked out for her, but it is hard for us to understand the fear and pain she would have felt in that society. Widows often had no one to care for them.
Naomi had great relationships with her daughters-in-law, who had been married to her sons for over 10 years. Ruth had seen enough about the one true God that she had no desire to leave Naomi’s family.
The gleaning process was an Old Testament version of welfare, where landowners were instructed to leave some grain at the edges of the field so poor people could come pick it up. It was entirely legal to go on someone else’s property and do this.
I like how Boaz interacted with his employees. In our politically correct times, living out your faith at work is a constant challenge.
Ruth 2:4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The LORD be with you!” “The LORD bless you!” they called back.
It isn’t like you can walk down the hall at work passing out Gospel tracts. That would be ineffective and would shorten your career dramatically. There are many ways to encourage other Christians at work and to see where you can get involved where God is working in people’s lives, but you have to be intentional about it. I’ll write more on that on the 4Simpsons blog some other day.
Note how God in his sovereign will takes the free will decisions of humans and works them together to accomplish his mighty plans!
Feel free to comment on what stood out to you about the story.
The next reading is Ruth 3-4.
This reading is the book of Ruth. We’ll do an overview of the whole book today, then take a little closer look at it the rest of the week.
I heard a great sermon on Ruth when I was in Singapore a few years ago. It was humorous when the preacher kept saying, “Ruth 3,” only it sounded like, “root tree.” That was one of my all-time favorite worship experiences. The facilities would not have looked out of place in the U.S. It was a fairly large church. It was 95% Asian, of course, so it was nice to be the minority for once. There was an intensity about the worship that is hard to describe. Many people stayed afterwards praying in their pews. Singapore has religious freedom, but I imagine that many of those worshiping came from countries where they had been persecuted.
Synopsis: Ruth’s husband and father-in-law die, and she elects to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi. She eventually meets and marries Boaz, a distant relative. Boaz is attracted by Ruth’s purity and devotion. Ruth was very loyal to Naomi and sought after the one true God she saw in Naomi’s life. Throughout the book you’ll see how God does great things through the least likely people.
As you read it, try to think about which character(s) you are like. It may be a different character at different times.
Ruth trivia facts:
- Along with Esther, one of the two books of the Bible named after a woman.
- Ruth was from Moab, not Israel, yet God did amazing things in her life.
- She was the great-grandmother of King David and an ancestor of Jesus.
- Boaz was a descendant of Rahab, the former prostitute from Jericho.
Famous verse: Ruth 1:16 “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
The next reading is Ruth 1-2.