Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for April 6, Ruth 1-4

Today's readings are Ruth 1-4. Tomorrow's are 1 Samuel 1-3.

In the Bible, the Book of Ruth appears immediately after the Book of Judges but the event in Ruth occur during the "time of the judges".

The Book of Ruth seems more about Naomi than Ruth. It starts out with Naomi and Elimilech and ends with Naomi. Elimilech is an anti-type to Moses. Moses led God's people to the Promised Land, Elimilech led his family out of it, Eventually Elimilech dies leaving Naomi stranded in Moab. This is where the Book of Ruth becomes a story of increasingly greater redeemers.

Naomi looses everything while in Moab and, feeling bitter, wants to return to Judah. Naomi needs to be redeemed. Ruth, a Moabite, makes a commitment to Naomi, promising never to leave her. When Naomi decides to return to Judah, Ruth goes with her. There she proceeds to take care of Naomi and her needs, working in the fields to feed them. In an odd way, Ruth is redeeming Naomi. 

But Ruth,even though she is described as a "worthy woman" (Ruth 3:11) is in need of redemption herself. She meets Boaz, who, literally and legally, becomes her redeemer. Ruth becomes part of the community, professes her faith in the one true God, marries Boaz and enters into the bloodline of the ultimate redeemer, Jesus Christ. 

The last scene pictures Naomi with her grandson in her lap, redeemed, restored and content. God has taken a bad situation, one filled with grief and loss, and redeemed it. He promises to do the same for us (Rom 8:28).

So, where does Ruth fit in with the narrative of the Bible? For one thing, it shows God's providential care of His people (Naomi) through non-Jewish people (Ruth). This is an important aspect of God's sovereign authority over all nations. But even more crucial is the concept that God can and will redeem Gentiles. Ruth is a prime example. The Moabites have been the enemies of the Jews. Yet, Ruth is accepted as part of the Jewish community and is made a full-fledged member. Ruth is "adopted" into the family of the people of God. A thousand years later than Ruth, Paul will write about redemption by adoption (Rom 8:15, 23; Eph 1:5). Eventually, we will see that she is included in the bloodline of Christ. Ruth's redemption is complete!

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