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.)




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

 




Thursday Truth: Three Great Articles To Lead You into Truth 09-20-18

“If I speak what is false, I must answer for it; if truth, it will answer for me.” ~ Thomas Fuller

Thursday Truth: Three Articles To Lead You into Truth 09-20-18

If God Doesn’t Need Anything, Then Why Does He Command Us to Serve Him?

by Mark Altrogge

God doesn’t need our work.  

He doesn’t need our money, either. God can get everything done without a heavenly Kickstarter campaign. He didn’t ask for any help when he created the galaxies. He can get along just fine without our peewee contributions to the universe. Continue Reading


If the Holy Spirit Lives in Us, Why Can’t We Live Perfect Lives?

by R.C. Sproul

Let me suggest to you that we can live perfect lives. Now that may sound like the most outrageous thing you have ever heard, because one of the few things you’ll get both Christian and non-Christian to agree on is that nobody is perfect! Continue Reading


Lift High the Name of Jesus

Free Hymn of the Month from Getty Music & Blue Letter Bible

Each month Blue Letter Bible offers a free hymn from Getty Music.

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15 ESV)

Download the powerful hymn and read the story behind it:

Latest Free Hymn of the Month by the Getty’s

“BLB is very blessed to partner with Getty Music and offer you these wonderful modern hymns, which promote sincere, Bible-based worship in the hearts of God’s people.”


“Jesus Christ Himself is the final exegesis of all truth. He is all that we need to know about God, and He is all that we need to know about man.” ~ Major Ian Thomas

#ThursdayTruth: Three Great Articles To Lead You into Truth Click To Tweet




DEUTERONOMY ~ Dipping Our Toes into the Book of Deuteronomy

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

Book #5 ~ DEUTERONOMY

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV


Super Short Summary:

In Deuteronomy, God prepares Israel for entering the Promised Land and, through Moses’ final words, gives a picture of what the Christian life should look like.

Less Than Super Short Summary:

The curtain opens on Deuteronomy at the end of Moses’ life and the beginning of Israel’s new life in the Promised Land, the land of Canaan.

In Exodus, God had brought Israel out of slavery to Egypt, which gave us a picture of Jesus setting sinners free from slavery to sin.

In Numbers, Israel wandered the wilderness because of their unbelief. Even though God had promised to give them a land and His blessings to enjoy, they’d refused to believe Him.

Through Israel’s unbelief, God gave us a picture of Christians who’ve trusted Jesus to save them from sin and give them eternal life but refuse to trust Him for today’s challenges. Their fears and selfish pride keep them in a barren, wilderness-type life.

They never enjoy the full freedom Jesus promises to Christians who walk by His Spirit rather than by human effort. Bondage to fear and unbelief (often expressed by the less convicting word “doubt”) send them stumbling into sin and discouragement.

God provided for Israel in the wilderness, but He didn’t design the wilderness to be their permanent residence.

He brought them (us) out of slavery to Egypt (sin) for the purpose of bringing them into the Promised Land. There they could enjoy the fruit of His blessings (victorious Christian living).

All who refused to trust Him suffered loss. And Christians do, too. They will be saved from an eternity in hell separated from God, but they’ll miss out on God’s blessings in this life – the blessings of unshakable peace, joy in Christ, and much more.

Moses’ Final Words

In Numbers, God had told Moses he wouldn’t enter the Promised Land with the Israelites because he didn’t honor the Lord before the Israelites at the life-giving rock (Numbers 20:10-13).

In Deuteronomy, Moses was now 120 years old, but his eyesight hadn’t weakened, nor had his strength given out (Deuteronomy 34:7). Regardless, Moses’ apprentice Joshua would lead Israel into the Promised Land, not Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1-3).

But first, Moses had some final words for Israel – words they must always remember and never forget.

(The Hebrew name for Deuteronomy, Debarim, means the words.)

Always Remember, Never Forget

Moses began by reviewing Israel’s past since the time they’d left Mt. Sinai 40 years earlier. He reminded them of their rebellion and the painful consequences.

The rebels, however, weren’t Moses’ audience. Their children were. Their defiant parents had died.

But God’s promises lived on. Faithful to His Word, God was going to give the Promised Land to the children.

Before they entered, Moses made sure they remembered, through vivid recollections, how easily and often their parents had made empty promises to trust and obey God.

He then commanded this generation to remain faithful and obedient to God rather than to idols – worthless scraps of metal or wood, or anything they’d place over God.

He reminded them of God’s rules, regulations, and commandments (Deuteronomy 5), which were designed to lead them into right living and allow them to dwell safely in God’s presence.

The Shema

God then gave a command that later became a daily prayer for Israelites known as the Shema.

The word shema means to hear and listen in such a way as to elicit a response.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV

The Shema is still prayed today by orthodox Jews.

Jesus quoted it when asked what was the greatest commandment.

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” ~ Mark 12:29-30 ESV

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” ~ Mark 12:29-30 ESV

Warfare

To further prepare Israel for entering the Promised Land, Moses taught Israel how they must handle warfare.

They were to treat the people of the Promised Land (Canaan) differently than those outside it. The hearts of the people in Canaan overflowed with sin, making them ripe for judgment. God commanded they be devoted to destruction (Deuteronomy 9:4).

But those outside the Promised Land were to be shown mercy.

It can be hard to understand how a loving God could order entire cities to be devoted to destruction until you understand the depth of those nation’s sin and the mercy they could’ve enjoyed had they bowed to the Lord rather than raising their swords against Israel.

God is a righteous judge. The wonder isn’t how God could order Canaan’s destruction, but rather how He could have offered anyone extravagant grace and mercy.

Guard Your Heart

Toward the end of Deuteronomy, Moses addressed the condition of the Israelites’ hearts and alerted them to the many ways they’d be tempted to sin.

And he warned them that God would test them.

God would allow prophecies made by false prophets to come to pass in order to expose the true condition of the Israelites’ hearts. They needed to see for themselves when they saw their signs and wonders that they’d run after the false prophets’ idols rather than stay true to the one true God.

Everyone would see they didn’t want a true King. They wanted a Burger King. (Have it your way! Have it your way!

Blessing and Curses, Life or Death

Moses detailed the blessings God would pour out on them if they obeyed Him.

Astounding blessings! Surely Israel would faithfully obey so they could enjoy the many undeserved blessings the rest of their lives. (They didn’t!)

Moses also detailed the curses God would reign down on them if they disobeyed.

Terrifying curses! Certainly, they’d never risk forfeiting the great blessings by disobeying God and thus suffering the horrific curses. (They did!)

Regrettably, we’re not much different – if different at all. Too often we’d rather be our own god than serve the one true God.

Moses stood before Israel and commanded they choose. Life or death. Blessings or curses. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Life and blessings were the obvious choices, but – Spoiler Alert – Israel often chose shocking sin over life-giving blessings. (Just wait until we get to the book of Judges! Oh my!)

God predicted Israel’s rebellion. He gave Moses a song to teach Israel which would stand as a witness against them that they’d been warned (Deuteronomy 32).

Moses then pronounced a blessing on each tribe of Israel (Deuteronomy 33). God’s grace in action.

Farewell, Moses

As the book of Deuteronomy closes we see Moses, the leader and prophet God called His friend, walking up to the top of Mount Pisgah. There the Lord showed him the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died (Deuteronomy 34:5). He entered his rest and reward.

Hello, Joshua

Israel’s leadership passed to Joshua, who may have penned the final verses in Deuteronomy and this beautiful testimony to Moses:

“And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12).

 

 

 




Why Can’t God’s Highest Purpose Be My Comfort Instead of His Glory?

God's Glory is His Highest Purpose-not our comfort-and that's good news for us! (Jean Wilund via www.inspireafire.com)

Aha!

Ever had an “Aha moment?” Like when you discovered coffee is amazing. Or that you needed reading glasses.

We’ll probably experience lots of aha moments in heaven. For now, we have lots of head-scratching and wondering moments.

Jesus’ disciples had one. . . Read More


Read the rest of this post at InspireAFire.com. I’m blogging over there today!

God's Glory is His Highest Purpose-not our comfort-and that's good news for us! (Jean Wilund via www.inspireafire.com)