RUTH ~ How to Find Jesus in the Book of Ruth (Plus a Short Summary)

How to find Jesus in the Book of Ruth. Click to read a short summary of Ruth and a less than short summary with fascinating connections between the book of Ruth and Jesus Christ our Redeemer. (www.JeanWilund.com)


RUTH ~ Book #8

“Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!'” ~ Ruth 4:14


Super-Short Summary:

In Ruth, God uses an unlikely romance to spotlight His faithful promise to provide His destitute Bride a Redeemer.


Less-Than-Super-Short Summary: 

If you’re reading the Bible in order, you’re probably still numb from reading the book of Judges, where everyone did what was right in his own wretched and perverted eyes.

As we saw:

Joshua focuses on the Israelites conquering the Canaanites physically.

Judges focuses on the Canaanites conquering the Israelites spiritually.

Ruth focuses on the hope of God’s promise to provide a Redeemer for His destitute bride.

(I got those three descriptions from a great Bible teacher and my friend, Dede Gavlin. Thanks, Dede!)

While Judges enrages our hearts, Ruth lifts them with its unusual love story and reveals a hope that doesn’t disappoint.


The Destitute Bride (Ruth 1)

When we flip to the first page of the book of Ruth, we discover God had crushed the land of Israel under a famine.

(If you’re curious about why God would do that to His own people, check out the book of Judges. Trust me, you’d have crushed them, too.)

To flee the famine, Elimelech of Bethlehem took his wife, Naomi, and their two sons to sojourn—not stay—in the land of Moab.

(This was a strange choice since the Moabites were enemies of God.)

In the land of Moab, tragedy befell them. Thrice. (That’s old-fashioned for “three times.”)

1. Naomi’s husband Elimelech died

Painful, BUT, praise God, their two sons could care for Naomi.

The sons then married Moabite women — depsite God’s law forbidding Israelites to marry Moabites. Perhaps Naomi thought they could provide her with grandsons to care for her as well.

2. One son died

Tragic, BUT, praise God, Naomi still had one more son to care for her and his brother’s wife. And perhaps they could give her a grandson or two?

3. The other son died

Devastation.

Sure, Naomi and her two daughters-in-law were still alive, but they were now destitute. Utterly destitute. Neither daughter-in-law had even given birth to a child who could grow up and care for them.

Naomi looked around at her foreign home and helpless state. She had nothing left but God. (Which means she had all she needed, but she didn’t quite realize that yet.)


Hope (Ruth 1-2)

Word reached Naomi that the Lord had given His people food in Israel.

It was time to go home.

Naomi’s daughters-in-law set out with her, but Naomi urged them to return to their families in Moab and their gods.

Orpah hugged Naomi and left.

Ruth clung to Naomi. She refused to leave her.

 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. ~ Ruth 1:16-18, NASB

(Interesting Note: This passage is quite popular for weddings. I wonder how many realize this declaration of love wasn’t voiced to a beloved groom by his bride, but by a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law. Take that, mother-in-law jokes!)

Naomi returned to Jerusalem with an empty belly and a bitter heart. But she still had Ruth. Sweet, faithful Ruth.

Ruth rose early to glean—to scavenge pieces of grain dropped by the harvesters in the fields.

It just so happened that she found herself gleaning in the field of Boaz, one of Naomi’s rich relatives. (It so happened? Yeah, right. We can be sure it was God’s hand at work.)

Boaz learned of Ruth’s stellar reputation and kindness to Naomi. He, in turn, showed Ruth kindness. He gave her extra grain to share with Naomi and a doggy bag from lunch.

When Ruth told Naomi that Boaz owned the field, Naomi’s heart leaped, and her faith set down new roots because she knew something Ruth didn’t:

Boaz was their kinsman redeemer!


Education Intermission — Kinsman Redeemer

I interrupt this story for a quick lesson on the Kinsman Redeemer.

 

“The kinsman-redeemer is a male relative who, according to various laws of the Pentateuch [the first five books of the Bible], had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need. The Hebrew term (go el) for kinsman-redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues (Genesis 48:16Exodus 6:6) or redeems property or person (Leviticus 27:9–2525:47–55).” (quoted from GotQuestions.com)

 

The kinsman-redeemer could redeem property or even a widowed wife by marrying her and caring for her.

 

But only a family member who was willing and able could pay the redemption price.

He had to be free of personal debt.

 

Back to Our Story . . .


Ruth Gets a Redeemer (Ruth 3 & 4)

How to find Jesus in the Book of Ruth. Click to read a short summary of Ruth and a less than short summary with fascinating connections between the book of Ruth and Jesus Christ our Redeemer. (www.JeanWilund.com)Following Naomi’s instructions for appealing to Boaz as her kinsman redeemer, Ruth prepared herself as a bride.

Then she waited until he fell asleep on the threshing floor and lay down at his feet.

(I agree if this sounds strange to you. But it made sense in those days. Boaz slept on the threshing floor to protect the grain from thieves. And Ruth’s lying at his feet was actually a respectful way to say, “I’d like you to be my kinsman redeemer.”)

Boaz was both willing and able to redeem Ruth. Yay!

But there was a man who was an even closer relative than Boaz. This man must be given the chance to redeem Ruth. Ugh.

Boaz sat down with this other relative (along with witnesses), and just as he’d hoped, the man was able to redeem Ruth but not willing.

With much joy, Boaz redeemed Ruth and took her as his beloved bride.

Ruth, the Moabite, had once been an enemy of God. But through her faith in Him, she became a friend of God and her kinsman redeemer’s bride.

In time, the Lord blessed Ruth and Boaz with a son, Obed.

No longer destitute or without a family, the salvation of the Lord through their kinsman redeemer filled them with joy and peace.

Ruth and Naomi praised God as Naomi cradled her grandson and the women of Israel called her blessed.

The book of Ruth closes with a peek into the future and a fun fact:

Ruth and Boaz’s son Obed was the ancestor of King David, Israel’s greatest king, and of Jesus Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer.


Jesus, Our Kinsman Redeemer

How to find Jesus in the Book of Ruth. Click to read a summary of Ruth with fascinating connections between the book of Ruth and Jesus Christ our Redeemer. (www.JeanWilund.com)The kinsman redeemer is one of the Old Testament’s most powerful pictures of Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer.

Only Jesus could ever qualify to serve as our Redeemer.

  • Jesus was free of all debt. Born of a virgin, He was free of inherited sin.

The rest of us are born with sin. It’s passed down from our first father, Adam.

Despite Satan’s best but futile efforts to tempt Jesus in sin, He never fell for any of Satan’s lies. He remained debt-free of sin.

  • Which means, Jesus was willing and able to pay our redemption price through His death on the cross.

Out of His great love and riches, Jesus redeemed us.

  • All who accept Jesus as their Kinsman Redeemer become members of His precious Bride, the church (aka known as the family of Believers).

He bought us with a bride price much greater than the price Boaz paid for Ruth. He bought us with His own shed blood on the cross.


Today is the Day of Salvation

If you’ve not accepted Christ as your Kinsman Redeemer, today is the perfect day for it. Naomi’s husband and sons remind us we’re not promised tomorrow.

God alone knows the number of our days. Trust in your Kinsman Redeemer Jesus today.

(And please let me know when you do, so I can celebrate with you.)




There’ s Always Hope Because There’s Always God

There' s Always Hope Because There's Always God by Jean Wilund via InspireAFire.com (Romans 15:13)Hope

We all want it.

No, we all need it.

Without it, we die.

Suicide victims have one thing in common. They lost all hope.

The unspeakable tragedy is there was always hope because there’s always God. The God of hope.

CONTINUE READING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There's always hope because there's always God. #TheGodofHope #hope Click To Tweet




When You Can’t Even . . . Put Your But in the Right Place

When You Can't Even . . . Put Your But in the Right Place (via www.JeanWilund.com)


When You Can’t Even . . .

It’s a universal truth. Trials don’t like to be alone. They swarm in together like fire ants.

It seems they can’t patiently wait their turn. They invade our lives in unison.

Wham! A moose T-bones you on a dark road in the middle of the night 30 miles from civilization while on your way to comfort your best friend who lost her dog and her job right before her house fell into a sinkhole, and now you have to walk to get help because there’s no cell phone coverage, and an alligator is blocking your path and eyeing your juicy legs with plans to bite them off. They’ll do that.


Oh my! Oh my! I Can’t Even!

Okay. This exact scenario has probably never happened. But we’ve all experienced our own real-life version of Oh my! Oh my! I can’t even!

If you haven’t had a moment like that, hold on. It’s coming.

I don’t mean to be gloomy, but the darkness of trials will descend upon you.

Jesus promised.

“. . . In this world you will have trouble. . .” John 16:33

A few translations replace the word trouble with the word suffering.

When trouble and suffering come, what will you do?

What should you do?

Pray and put your but in the right place.


Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Moses and the Israelites knew plenty of trouble. For Moses, it started in the crib.

Egypt’s Pharaoh ordered all the Hebrew baby boys drowned in the Nile River so they couldn’t grow up and revolt against him.

In faith and desperation, Moses’ mother hid him in a basket and floated him down the river to safety (she hoped).

God saved Moses and, in an ironic twist, caused his attempted murderer to raise him with all the wealth and benefits of Egyptian royalty (Exodus 1-2).

But 40 years later, Moses killed an Egyptian slavemaster for whipping a Hebrew slave. He had to run for his life because Pharaoh now had a renewed desire to kill him.


But God, I Can’t Even!

Fast forward 40 more years. God spoke to Moses from a burning bush and grabbed his attention.

God said, “Pharaoh’s party is over. I’m sending you back to Egypt to tell him to let My people go.” (Actually, He said a lot more than that and with much more eloquence. See Exodus 3:7-8))

If the pharaoh who raised Moses had tried to kill him (his own “grandson”) over his slaying a single slavemaster, what would Moses’ demanding the millions of Hebrews slaves be set free get him? Dead most likely. Or so Moses feared. He wanted no part of God’s plan.


God’s Plans – God’s Power

God knew Moses’ fears. He guaranteed him He would free Israel by His own mighty hand.

“ . . . I will be with you . . .” (Ex. 4:12).re

“I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt . . .” (Ex. 4:17).

“I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it: after that he will let you go” (Ex. 4:20).

“And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians . . . so you will plunder the Egyptians” (Ex. 4:21).

Moses heard God’s promises with his ears but responded with his but in the wrong place.

“But behold, they will not believe and . . .[ blah blah blah]…” (Ex. 4:1).

In essence, Moses said, But God, I can’t even! The problems are too big and too many!”

What he should’ve said was, “The problems are too big and too many! I can’t even! But God!”

Putting our but in the right place reminds us God’s plans always come with God’s power.

God's Plans Always Come with God's Power (from: When You Can't Even . . . Put Your But in the Right Place (via www.JeanWilund.com)

Putting our BUT in the right place reminds us God's plans always come with God's power. I can't, BUT God can and He will. #Jesus #God #christianity Click To Tweet


But God Training Camp

As soon as Moses reached Egypt, the Israelites, Egyptians, and Moses entered God’s training camp – the Ten Terrible Plagues (Ex. 7-12).

After the tenth plague, the Egyptians begged the Israelites to go. They even loaded them down with silver, gold, and other treasures as parting gifts. Freedom gained!

But then Pharaoh changed his mind.

He sent an army of soldiers on iron chariots to chase them down and drag them back.

God had indeed brought Israel out of slavery, but it seemed He’d now led them into a trap.

On one side loomed the Red Sea, deep and wide. From the other, Pharaoh’s thundering army.

“Thanks a lot, God,” the people cried. “We’re doomed.”

But Moses had learned.

He had seen God reveal His power throughout Egypt in more than 10 epic displays.

Israel forgot and trembled. Moses remembered and believed.

Moses didn’t doubt in the dark what God had shown him in the light.

And he kept his but in the right place.

Israel cried out, “BUT GOD, we’re trapped!”

Moses declared, “We’re trapped! BUT GOD!”

Moses declared to Israel: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Ex. 14:13-14).

God parted the Red Sea, led the Israelites safely to the other side, and then brought the sea back down upon the Egyptian army.

Slavery swept away. Freedom maintained.


Big Problems Exist – So Does God

God doesn’t expect us to pretend our problems don’t exist.

But neither does He expect us to act like He doesn’t exist.

God is real and bigger than any problem you’ll ever face. Will you remember and believe?

Before you doubt God, doubt your doubts.


Never Doubt in the Dark What God Has Shown You in the Light (via When You Can't Even . . . Put Your But in the Right Place @ www.JeanWilund.com)

Never Doubt in the Dark What God Has Shown You in the Light


I Can’t Even, But God!

When trouble comes, put your but in the right place.

Don’t cry out, “BUT GOD! This and that and so much more!”

Cry out, “This and that and so much more! BUT GOD!”

BUT GOD is everything I need for every moment. He’s the Great I Am (Ex. 3:14).

BUT GOD shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

BUT GOD is a God who saves (Psalm 68:20).

BUT GOD is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6).

My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26).

When you cry out, be honest about your feelings. He already knows your every thought. Don’t pretend to feel stronger than you do.

But then remember. Remember who God is and what He’s done. And refuse to doubt.

Let the truth of God’s Word overwhelm your emotions, or your emotions will overwhelm you.

Let the truth of God’s Word overwhelm your emotions, or your emotions will overwhelm you. #God #Jesus #Christianity Click To Tweet

It’s probably not a universal truth that trials don’t like to be alone. But it’s quite true that if trouble swarms into your life, it’s okay.

Excruciating, but okay, because — and only because — we have this never-changing and storm-overwhelming truth contained in two powerful words:

BUT GOD . . .

Jesus promised we’d have trouble. He also promised we can take heart because He has overcome the world. 

“I [Jesus] have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart!
I have overcome the world.”
~ John 16:33

When You Can't Even . . . Put Your But in the Right Place (via www.JeanWilund.com)

Worry is momentary atheism crying out for correction by trust in a good, sovereign God. Suffering breaks self-reliance. ~ Randy Alcorn

Lord Jesus, I can’t—You never said I could—but You can, and always said You would. This is all I need to know. ~ Major Ian Thomas based on Galatians 2:20

When you can't even . . . put your but in the right place! BUT GOD! #God #Jesus #Christianity Click To Tweet

 




JUDGES — Dipping Our Toes into the Book of Judges

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JUDGES - Dip your toes into the book of Judes. A Super-Short Summary and Less-Than-Super-Short Summary (Welcome to the Bible series) via www.JeanWilund.com

JUDGES ~ Book #7

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” ~ Judges 21:25

Super-Short Summary:

In Judges, God reveals the stark reality that there’s no depth of evil to which mankind won’t sink unless God’s hand restrains us. It’s only because of His inexplicable love, grace, and mercy that we can receive salvation through Jesus.


Less-Than-Super-Short Summary: 

The book of Judges is exactly that: a book about the 12 judges of Israel and several despicable guys.

Judges opens with a dash of fleeting hope as Israel looked to God for guidance.

“Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” (Judges 1:1).

God chose Judah – the tribe through which Jesus would come – to lead them into battle.

Charge!

Like Jesus conquering sin and death, Israel defeated their enemy. But not all of them.

They failed to complete the conquest. (Jesus didn’t fail His conquest.)

They failed because they refused to obey God.

“But you have not obeyed MeTherefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you” (Judges 2:2-3).

Israel’s unfaithfulness thrust them into a vicious cycle that ramped up to a horrifying crescendo of pure evil.

There’s a reason most of the stories from the book of Judges doesn’t show up in children’s books. Not even Samson’s full story makes it past the cutting room.

Thankfully, God’s promises and power stand strong regardless of mankind’s worst moral failures and outright rebellion.

The Gospel in Judges

God used 12 judges to save Israel and give us a picture of Jesus as our Deliverer.

Unlike Christ, however, these judges weren’t perfect.

Judges shows Israel’s desperate need for a godly king to rule them and points to the perfect King, Jesus Christ.

Ring Around the Rosie, We All Fall Down

Early in Judges, Israel displays the vicious cycle they repeated – their ring around the wretched rosie until they all fell down:

        1. Israel chooses evil (Judges 3:7).

2. God lets them fall into the hands of their enemy (Judges 3:8).

3. Israel cries out to God (Judges 3:9).

4. God raises up a deliverer – a judge (Judges 3:9-10).

5. Israel enjoys peace (Judges 3:11).

What God reveals about the nature of man through Judges is downright depressing:

We are so much worse than we imagine, and we can’t save ourselves.

What He reveals about Himself and Jesus is straight up encouraging:

God is more forgiving than we can imagine. He sent His Son Jesus to be our perfect Rescuer and our Salvation.

A Glimpse of the 12 Judges:


(Click on the red names below to jump to a more detailed summary of each judge.)

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Judge #1 ~ Othniel

(Judges 3:7-11)

Israel ran after other gods. After life turned hard at the hands of their enemy, they cried out to God.

Enter Othniel, the first judge God appointed to rescue Israel.

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Judge #2 ~ Ehud 

(Judges 3:12-30)

The left-handed judge Ehud delivered Israel from the rotund king of Moab using a sleight-of-hand trick with a dagger, a sneaky escape, and some embarrassed guards.

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Judge #3 ~ Shamgar 

(Judges 3:31)

Shamgar saved Israel and killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad (a long stick with a metal tip used to control oxen).

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Judge #4 ~ Deborah 

(Judges 4 – 5)

Deborah (and a brave woman named Jael with a tent peg – yikes) saved Israel when Barak refused to fight the Canaanites without her.

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Judge #5 ~ Gideon 

(Judges 6 – 8)

God used the meek fleece-laying Gideon to save Israel from Midian (after whittling his army of 32,000 men down to 300) and give us a picture of the humanity of Jesus.

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Three Years of Trouble

(Judges 9)

Between Gideon and the next judge came three years of trouble that included the death of 70 of his sons. (I’m still trying to wrap my brain around having 70 sons.)

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Judges #6 & #7 ~ Tola & Jair 

(Judges 10)

Tola judged Israel for 23 years. And then he died.

Jair was a wealthy man who judged Israel 22 years. And then he died.

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Judges #8 ~ Jephthah 

(Judges 11-12)

Foolish Jephthah. He freed Israel from the Ammonites but made a vow that broke his father-heart.

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Judges #9, #10, and #11 ~ Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon 

(Judges 12:8-15)

Ibzan judged Israel seven years. And then he died.

Elon judged Israel ten years. And then he died.

Abdon judged Israel eight years. And then – surprise, surprise – he died.

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Judge #12 ~ Samson 

(Judges 13-16)

Samson, the most famous of the 12 judges, was also Israel’s final judge.

He delivered Israel from their enemies and suffered great personal loss because of his ungodly choices.

Nevertheless, he gave us some poignant pictures of Jesus.

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Israel Descended into Unspeakable Evil

The book of Judges ends with two stories that exposed how mankind can sink to the lowest of lows when we turn our backs on God, and He leaves us to ourselves.

Micah, the Levite, and Some Evil Men from Dan 

(Judges 17-18)

This first of the final two stories reveals that, apart from Christ, every man has a price. That price can be brutal because people can be.

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A Levite, His Concubine, and the Horror in Gibeah 

(Judges 19-21)

The final and most barbaric story reveals there’s no depth of evil to which man will not sink unless the Lord intervenes and restrains. (Warning: This story includes rape and body parts in the mail.)

Final Words For Today

The book of Judges closes with somber words and a final reminder of Israel’s (and our) deep need a godly king. (You’d almost think Judge’s final sentence was written about us today.)

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25.

By your grace, Lord, open our eyes to see our need for You. Give us faith to believe and to follow you as our perfect King.

Amen.

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More Detailed Summaries of The Judges:

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Judge #1 ~ Othniel 

(Judges 3:7-11)

Israel ran after false gods so God showed His righteous anger over sin and got their attention by letting the king of Mesopotamia defeat them.

It worked.

Israel cried out to God, and He raised up Othniel to set them free and to serve as their judge.

They enjoyed rest for 40 years.

And then Othniel died.

Return to Short Summary of Othniel


 

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Judge #2 ~ Ehud

(Judges 3:12-30)

Israel ran back to evil, so God allowed the King Moab to defeat Israel.

God then raised up the left-handed judge Ehud to deliver Israel from the rotund king of Moab.

Ehud used a sleight-of-hand trick with a dagger and a sneaky escape.

When the king’s guards checked on him and found his door locked, they assumed he was unavailable because he was attending to “nature’s call.”

They were wrong. He was dead.

Ehud then led Israel against Moab and defeated them.

They enjoyed peace for 80 years. And then he died.

Return to Short Summary of Ehud


 

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Judge #3 ~ Shamgar

(Judges 3:31)

Shamgar saved Israel and killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad (a long stick with a metal tip used to control oxen).

That’s all I have on Shamgar. God only gave us one sentence on him.

Return to Short Summary of Shamgar


 

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Judge #4 ~ Deborah

(Judges 4 & 5)

Israel leaped back into evil so God sold them into the hand of the king of Canaan.

Then God raised up Deborah, who led Barak (and Israel) in battle because he refused to go without her. Perhaps he wasn’t willing to take the calling for himself since she was God’s chosen judge.

Whatever compelled him to follow Deborah rather than take the lead, we know he did it by faith since he made it into the Hebrews Hall of Faith: Hebrews 11:32-34.

After Israel routed Canaan’s army, their commander hopped off his iron chariot and ran away. But he got stuck in a tent (yes, literally) by Jael, a brave Israelite woman holding a tent peg and a hammer.

Israel enjoyed rest for 40 years under this godliest of judges. She continually pointed Israel to God.

But then she died.

Return to Short Summary of Deborah


 

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Judge #5 ~ Gideon

(Judges 6 – 8)

Israel nosedived back into evil and worshipped idols, so God let them fall into the king of Midian’s hands.

The angel of the Lord visited fearful Gideon – the least of the least of Israel – and called him to lead Israel in battle. Through God’s power, Gideon was to deliver Israel.

Gideon gives us a beautiful picture of Jesus’s humanity. He came in the meek form of man. In weakness, Jesus delivered us through the cross. In divine power, He gives life (2 Corinthians 13:4).

Jesus was meek, but He wasn’t timid like Gideon. Analogies are rarely, if ever, perfect.

Gideon faced obstacles bigger than himself as an array of armies converged on Israel.

Gideon called Israelites to battle, but then he ran to talk to God. He wanted to confirm that God really was going to give them into Israel’s hands.

Gideon used a wool fleece to determine God’s will. Twice. (Judges 6:36-40)

God confirmed His promise to give Israel’s enemies into Gideon’s hands.

God whittled Gideon’s army of 32,00 men down to a meager 300 to ensure Israel understood that they couldn’t save themselves. He was giving them the victory.

Likewise, we can’t earn our salvation or make our own way to heaven. Christ alone is our salvation and the one way to the Father.

Gideon and his army enjoyed a rousing victory.

Sadly, Gideon let it inflate his ego.

Nevertheless, Israel enjoyed peace for 40 years.

And then he died. But not before he had 70+ sons.

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Three Years of Trouble

(Judges 9)

Abimelech, one of Gideon’s sons attempted to slaughter the rest of the 70 sons to become king.

One managed to escape, which then led to Abimelech’s downfall but not before he tramped over the people with much evil and treachery.

In the midst of his last heinous crime, a woman dropped a stone on his head, and his self-proclaimed rule of three years ended.

In the meantime, Israel had deepened their bent toward evil.

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Judges #6 & #7 ~ Tola & Jair

(Judges 10)

Unfortunately, there’s no more info on these two judges.

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Judge #8 ~ Jephthah

(Judges 11-12)

Jephthah was a mighty warrior from Gilead and the son of a prostitute. His half-brothers hated him. So he ran away.

As soon as the Ammonites rose up against Israel, Gilead called their warrior back home to save them.

God gave Jephthah the victory, but Jephthah made a stupid vow to sacrifice the first thing that walked out the door of his home upon his return from victory.

His daughter walked out to congratulate him.

Jephthah judged Israel only six years, and then he died.

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Judges #9, #10, and #11 ~ Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon

(Judges 12:8-15)

Ibzan had 30 sons and 30 daughters. He judged Israel seven years, and then he died.

Elon judged Israel ten years, and then he died.

Abdon had 40 sons and 30 grandsons who rode on 70 donkeys. Wealthy. He judged Israel eight years, and then – surprise, surprise – he died.

That’s all I have on them.

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Samson ~ Judge #12

(Judges 13-16)

The most famous of the 12 judges was also Israel’s final judge.

The popular children’s story paints the picture that evil Delilah tricked God’s innocent Samson into giving her the secret to his supernatural strength, but his hair grew back and allowed him one final display of his strength.

There’s truth in the children’s account. (Delilah was evil and God did give Samson a final victory.)

But there’s also plenty of missing pieces to the story, and at times the truth appears foggy.

Samson’s Lovely Locks

For instance, Samson’s lovely locks of hair weren’t really the secret to his strength. God was.

His luscious locks never held magical power. God was always the one in control.

Before Samson was born, God told his parents Samson was to be a Nazarite, dedicated to God from the womb. (https://www.gotquestions.org/Nazirite-vow.html)

Being a Nazarite vow came with many rules. One rule was that his hair should never be cut.

Jesus Sighting: The angel of the Lord visited Samson’s parents to prepare them for Samson’s birth (Judges 13:8-25). This was an appearance of Jesus before He came down in flesh as a baby born in a manger.

After Samson’s last girlfriend, Delilah, cut his hair, God removed the super-strength He’d given Samson.

And fortunately, the young children’s books also leave out the part where the Philistines then gouged out Samson’s eyes (Judges 16:20). Yikes.

Godly Samson? Not!

Also, contrary to the godly man we see in picture books, Samson wasn’t innocent.

Not only did he let himself be seduced by Delilah so that she cut his hair, but he broke at least two other Nazarite rules: no drinking wine, and no touching the dead.

John the Baptist was also a Nazarite from birth (Luke 1:13-17). He was faithful.

While Samson did great things for Israel, he was far from godly. He broke many of God’s rules through his wild, women-chasing years. And yet God still used him.

God isn’t limited in who or what He can use for His purposes. Sometimes He chooses to use even ungodly men like Samson. (That’s good news for us far-from-perfect ones.)

Samson judged Israel 20 years. And then he died a brutal death, but not before he saved Israel by stretching out his arms and dying.

When Samson stretched out his arms, he pushed down the two pillars that held up the building and killed more of his enemy than he had in all his previous escapades.

And although Samson was by no means a perfect model of Jesus, Samson’s death gave us a picture of Christ stretching out His arms on the cross and dying to save us from our enemies – sin, Satan, and death.

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Micah, the Levite, and Some Evil Men from Dan

The first of the final stories (Judges 17-18) reveals that, apart from Christ, every man has a price. The price can be brutal. It this story, brutal is an understatement.

Judges 17 opens with a man named Micah, who stole silver from his mom. After he returned the silver, his mom paid a silversmith to fashion an idol out of it so they could worship it.

Meanwhile, a Levite – one of God’s chosen priests – had gone out in search of a better life. Apparently being chosen by God to serve in His tabernacle and cared for by God wasn’t enough.

Micah offered the Levite ten shekels and a shirt to become his personal priest.

But then the tribe of Dan came along and increased his pay. They stole Micah’s silver idol and his priest. But at least they left him his life and his mom, which is more than they did for the quiet town of Laish.

The men of Dan slaughtered the unsuspecting people of Laish and set their city on fire.

Afterward, they set up Micah’s silver idol, and the Levite and his sons “served God” alongside it.

In the New Testament, we see Jesus’ disciple Judas had a price, too: 30 pieces of silver for the Son of God (Matthew 26:15).

But Jesus’ apostle Paul considered his life of no value for the opportunity to testify of Christ (Acts 20:24).

Praise God that Jesus was willing to pay the price for our sins so we don’t have to. He offered up His own life to God for the salvation of all who will believe (John 3:16, Philippians 2:8).

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A Levite, His Concubine, and the Horror in Gibeah

The most barbaric story of Judges involves a wretched Levite, his concubine, and some evil men in the city of Gibeah.

It’s so hideous I can’t bring myself to write the details. But you can read the story for yourself: Judges 19.

The horror reveals there’s no depth of evil to which man will not sink unless the Lord intervenes and restrains them.

After the men of Gibeah committed their heinous crime, which the evil Levite and his host allowed, Israel finally looked to God again.

God sent Israel out against Gibeah, but Gibeah destroyed 22,000 men of Israel.

Israel wept before God and sought His help again.

This time Gibeah destroyed 18,000 Israelites.

Israel finally understood how far they had turned away from God.

This time they wept before God, fasted and prayed, and offered burnt sacrifices to Him for their sin as well as peace offerings of thankfulness to Him.

God said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand” (Judges 20:28).

With Israel finally humbled before God and depending on His power alone, God gave them the victory.

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Related Posts

If you’re new to the Welcome to the Bible Series, catch up on the other posts by clicking this link:

Welcome to the Bible Series

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JOSHUA ~ Dipping Our Toes into the Book of Joshua

JOSHUA - Dip your toes into the book of Joshua. A Super-Short Summary and Less-Than-Super-Short Summary (Welcome to the Bible series) via www.JeanWilund.com

JOSHUA ~ Book #6

“Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” ~ Joshua 21:45

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY:

In Joshua, God gives Israel the long-awaited Promised Land through a spectacular series of battles and miracles. Joshua reveals that salvation is a gift from God by His grace, not as a result of a person’s worthiness or efforts.


LESS-THAN-SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: 

A Little Background

Ever since Genesis 15, God’s promise of a land for His chosen people dangled in some distant future like an engagement with no wedding date. In the book of Joshua, we finally see God fulfill the promise. Israel moved into the Promised Land.

Unfortunately, the move wasn’t as simple as hiring Two Men and a Truck to transfer their belongings out of their tents and into their new homes.

Fortunately, however, God was their Mover — and their salvation.

Israel Gets a New Leader

When the book of Joshua opens, God is speaking to Joshua, Israel’s new leader.

“Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan [River], you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel” (Joshua 1:2 ESV).

With great encouragement from God to be strong and courageous because He was with Joshua and would never leave him, Joshua assumed command.

FUN FACT: It’s not hard to see how Joshua gives us a picture of our Savior Jesus since the name Joshua means Yahweh is salvation. (Yahweh is God’s Hebrew name.)

ANOTHER FUN FACT: Jesus spoke Aramaic. His Aramaic name is Yeshu’a, which comes from the Hebrew name Joshua, which means God is salvation.

Rahab’s Red Thread

Sending spies into the walled city of Jericho was Joshua’s first act as leader.

The two spies snuck into Jericho where they met Rahab, a woman of the night.

Rahab hid the spies from the king and told them, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you” (Joshua 2:9 NASB).

She begged the spies to save her and her family because she believed in the Israelites’ God.

The spies told her to hang a red cord out of her window in the city’s wall, bring all her family into her home, and stay there when they come. They escaped out her window and reported back to Joshua.

Rahab and the red cord (or as I like to call it, the red thread) make a stunning picture of Jesus’ salvation offered to sinners by grace through faith, not personal merit or works.

Through the Jordan and Into the Land

Ready to take the Promised Land, Joshua marched Israel right through the middle of the Jordan River and into the land.

At the very moment the priest stepped into the flood-stage waters of the Jordan carrying the Ark of the Covenant, God heaped up the water on either side and made a straight path through the river.

The Ark of the Covenant was a holy box made of gold that contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s blooming rod, and manna. The ark’s cover was the Mercy Seat where God forgave their sin and His presence dwelled.

Joshua Meets the Commander of the LORD’s Army

In the Promised Land, Joshua met the Commander of the Lord’s Army—the Lord Jesus Himself (Joshua 5:13-15).

Most Bible scholars believe the Commander was Jesus because God’s angels never accept worship. But this Commander did. Worship belongs to the Lord alone.

Plus, the Commander told Joshua to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. This reminds us of when God spoke to Moses from within the burning bush and told Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:4-5).

The Fall of Jericho—But Not Rahab

After Joshua talked with the Commander, the dramatic events of the fall of Jericho unfolded (Joshua 6).

Israel marched around Jericho once a day for six days.

On the seventh day, they blew their trumpets and marched around the city seven times.

And the walls came tumbling down – every one of them – except Rahab’s tower.

God saved Rahab and her family and continued the beautiful picture of Jesus’ salvation by faith, not works.

From Stunning Victory to Shocking Defeat

After this stunning victory, Israel suffered a shocking defeat at the city of Ai (Joshua 7:1-9).

It was Achan’s fault (Joshua 7:10-26).

Achan stole items from Jericho that God had commanded they dedicate to destruction – gold, silver, and fancy clothing. They weren’t to conquer the Promised Land to build their wealth.

But Jericho’s shiny stuff dazzled Achan. He stole it and buried it in the ground in his tent when no one was looking. Except for God. Duh.

Israel and Achan learned a tragic lesson.

After they dealt with the sin, they dealt with Ai and God gave them the victory in dramatic fashion (Joshua 8). Imagine that.

Sneaky Gibeon

Joshua renewed God’s great covenant with Israel, and then they blew it. Again. Israel fell for a clever scheme set by men from Gibeon (Joshua 9).

The Gibeonites didn’t want Israel to destroy them, so they pretended to come from a far away country—a country outside the Promised Land. (Remember, God said they were to extend mercy to nations outside the Promised Land.)

They asked Joshua to make a treaty of peace with them. Their sneaky plan worked because Joshua failed to check with God.

Taking the Land

At this point, the conquest of the Promised Land marched forward in full force and many battles took place.

The sun stood still (Joshua 10:1-15), five enemy kings got trapped in a cave (Joshua 10:16-28), and Joshua and his army defeated the giants Israel had so feared before (Joshua 11:21-22).

Despite the many victories Israel enjoyed, they didn’t conquer all the land.

God promised to give them all the land, but they didn’t trust Him and take it all. God’s promises didn’t fail. Israel did.

And just as God warned, the remaining nations proved to be a stumbling block to Israel. Over time they drew Israel into the worship of false gods and other terrible sins.

Dividing the Land and A Civil War?

The book of Joshua then records Joshua dividing the conquered land among the tribes of Israel, including pastureland for the Levite priests.

As soon as the eastern tribes set out to take possession of their allotted land, trouble arose when they stopped along the way to build an altar.

The western tribes mistakenly believed the eastern tribes were making an idol for themselves rather than worship at the true altar (Joshua 22).

But cool heads and wise words averted a war.

Side Note: If the eastern tribes had chosen to settle inside the borders of the Promised Land rather than outside, none of this would have happened. (Kind of like when we Christians think we can live with one toe in “the world” outside of godly standards and think no harm could come of it. Hmmmm.)

Joshua’s Final Words

Before the end of the book of Joshua and the end of his life, Joshua presented a final charge to Israel’s leaders:

“Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, but you shall cling to the LORD your God just as you have done to this day” (Joshua 23:6-8).

(That was one long sentence – 83 words – and an important charge.)

Joshua then renewed God’s covenant with Israel once again and commanded them to choose whom they would serve:

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-16

About 25 years had passed since Israel first crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. It was now time for Joshua to join the Lord with his forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being 110 years old” (Joshua 24:29).

Stay tuned for what comes next: The book of Judges, where every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Oh boy.