If you use Facebook, we are posting these each day on our page there, and we will also post these here each day. We welcome your thoughts here or on Facebook.
Day 77 – Thru the Bible
Today we read all of Ruth (don’t worry, it’s only four chapters long) and continue Psalms.
Here’s a video that looks at Ruth.
Video – Read Scripture: Ruth
Ruth 1 – Although the times of the judges were dark, when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6), God still was calling to Himself a believing remnant. Through Elimelech’s decision to take his family to Moab (whether right or wrong), God would work to fulfill His promise to Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). This story is an important piece of the overarching story of redemptive history. The last word in the book will make this abundantly clear.
Naomi hears that the Lord had shown favor to His people by ending their famine in Judah. She starts on the return journey from Moab with Orpah and Ruth, but then considers their situation and pleads with them to turn back. She grieves that her own circumstances have affected them so disastrously, feeling that the Lord’s hand was against her.
But death of loved ones is ultimately the result of living in a fallen world; it comes to all. Far from being against her, the Lord is working through Naomi’s grievous circumstances to bring into the world One who ultimately will redeem her and all His people from death forever.
How does the New Testament reveal how God will conquer death? Hint: Colossians 2:13–15; 2 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 21:4.
Ruth insists on staying with Naomi, and declares her faithful, loving commitment to Naomi, her people, and her God until death. Ruth is willing to leave her native country and its worship of the pagan god Chemosh to become a part of the people of God in the land of Judah—despite poor earthly prospects there. In these ways, Ruth not only demonstrates the reality of her faith in God by her actions, she also becomes a living demonstration of His covenant love to Naomi.
Naomi only sees what she’s lost. Her grief blinds her to what God has provided: in His grace God had given her a husband, two sons, and two daughters-in-law. She is returning to Bethlehem with one of them, and with Ruth her life is anything but empty. God’s timing is also gracious and full of hope as they return at the beginning of the barley harvest.
Ruth 2 – By introducing Boaz here, the author prepares us for what is coming so that as the story unfolds we will recognize the overruling hand of God administering His gracious plan.
Biblical law provides grace for those who struggle by instructing reapers to leave a portion of the field unharvested. Ruth does not presume this will apply to her, but in hopes of finding “favor” (often translated “grace”), she asks permission. She finds favor with Boaz, who has heard of her faith in the Lord and her faithfulness to her mother-in-law.
Ruth is overwhelmed by such grace given to “a foreigner”. As a Moabite, she would have been considered an enemy of God’s people and forbidden to enter the assembly of the Lord. But as one who put her faith in the Lord and His covenant promises—ultimately fulfilled in the Jesus—she is a child of Abraham by faith.
How does this same truth apply to us under the New Covenant? Hint: Romans 4:13–16; Galatians 3:7–9.
Boaz continues to shower his favor on Ruth. When Naomi sees the large amount of barley and the leftover food that Ruth brings home and learns that Boaz is the generous landowner who has taken notice of Ruth in this way, her bitterness and despair dissipate. She prays blessing on Boaz and praises the Lord for His covenant kindness that never forsakes His own.
Naomi reveals to Ruth that Boaz is a close relative, one of their redeemers (goel). For them such a goel holds the promise of help, protection, security, and redemption—a future and a hope.
How is the same true of us when we hear that there exists a Redeemer who may save us from our spiritual poverty and hopelessness, who can take away our guilt of sin and its wages of death and give us right standing before God, bringing us into his very family? Hint: Romans 6:23; 8:16.
Ruth 3 – Naomi’s hope gives birth to a plan by which Ruth may ask Boaz to enter into a levirate marriage with her and take on the duty of being their redeemer. As strange as it may seem to modern readers, there is nothing questionable or unseemly in the plan; we are assured repeatedly of the quality of Boaz’s and Ruth’s character. Few reputable scholars believe the phrase “uncovered his feet and lay down” indicates that a sexual sin was committed or that anything more was intended than a sign of service and devotion.
When Boaz awakens and asks her identity, Ruth’s delicate request that he marry her reflects the same language that he used of her taking refuge under the God of Israel’s wings. In this way, she is asking Boaz not only to marry her but also to become a demonstration of the Lord’s covenant love.
In response to Ruth’s proposal, Boaz assures her that he will do everything to make sure that she has a redeemer. Although he is not the first in line to fulfill this duty, he promises to investigate as soon as possible whether or not the nearer relative is willing to do so; if not, Boaz promises to be that redeemer.
How does the New Covenant assure us that we have a Kinsman-Redeemer? Hint: Hebrews 12:2; Ephesians 2:4–7.
Ruth 4 – Boaz tells the next of kin the whole situation including the requirement to marry Ruth, in order to continue the family line. This is more than the relative can accept (whether the cost is too high because of an existing family or insufficient funds or some other reason, we do not know), and he yields the “right of redemption” to Boaz.
Boaz is the only one who has the willingness and the ability to redeem Ruth.
How does this point us to the One who was under no obligation to redeem sinners, and could have left us all to our just condemnation, but willingly took on human flesh and paid the required redemption price: death on a cross? Hint: Romans 6:23; Philippians 2:5–11.
The story of God’s people has always been one of human frailty and God’s overriding grace (2 Corinthians 12:9–10). Contrary to our natural instincts and the way the world intuitively operates, God delights to draw near to and magnificently use those whom the world considers weak, needy, helpless, and marginalized.
After a son is born to Boaz and Ruth, the very women who renamed herself Mara (“bitter”) after she returned “empty” from Moab, now celebrates with them. They bless the Lord, who has provided a redeemer, and who has restored Naomi’s life and nourished her old age through Ruth and her son.
Like Naomi, so often we look at our outward circumstances and feel bitter toward the Lord because we cannot see beyond our situation to what he is doing or why. Yet, as he did for Naomi, God still provides for us a Redeemer, who is the Restorer of Life and nourishes us by His faithful loving kindness as He works out the plan for our lives and for our part in the proclamation of His gospel.
This final genealogy that terminates in David, the royal forefather of Jesus, reveals marvelous aspects of God’s gracious nature that may be hidden to modern eyes. First, it reminds us that grace flows where the world may see only shame or cause for rejection. Boaz’s father was Salmon, who married Rahab, the harlot who saved the spies at Jericho (see Matthew 1:5). Boaz continues the line of Judah by marrying Ruth, a Gentile woman from one of Israel’s ancient enemies, Moab. And Judah, though privileged to be prophesied as the head of the line from which the messianic King would come (Genesis 49:10), initiated the line by impregnating Tamar, his widowed daughter-in-law who he thought was a prostitute. He thus fathered twins (Genesis 38) whose illegitimacy would have kept his seed from citizenship in Israel until the tenth generation (see Deuteronomy 23:2)—represented by Boaz. So the line of Christ is replete with scandalous grace.
Thus, this genealogy shows us the Lord’s sovereignty over our private and seemingly ordinary decisions, such as Ruth’s decision to go with Naomi and worship the God of Israel. Little did she know when she set out from Moab that day that she would become great-grandmother to Israel’s King David, ancestor to David’s Greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Kinsman-Redeemer of all of God’s people.
While there may be things that God is doing in your life that are “hidden” to you, how does this story help you keep your trust in God’s sovereign grace?
Psalm 77 – In times of soul disturbance, we must seek God. Though Asaph refers to himself nine times in the first four verses and to God only twice, God seems pleased that at least Asaph is still praying. When he does focus on God, he makes six complaints, all basically asking if God has rejected his people. The rest of the Bible answers unequivocally that, “the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for Himself” (1 Samuel 12:22; Romans 11:2).
After he unloads his heart, Asaph begins to calm down and submit his will to the Lord. By doing so, a believer will gain a more patient perspective on God’s future redemptive plans (2 Peter 3:9; James 5:11). Remembering God’s past deeds will also build confidence in God’s justice by revealing three of God’s attributes: His holiness, greatness, and care. These attributes of the Lord are finally given flesh-and-blood reality in Jesus of Nazareth.
Asaph’s final comfort is that God “led [His] people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” How did the Lord do this? “Your way was through the sea.” This is an allusion to the exodus, when God opened the Red Sea to deliver His people. Then as now, God performs miracles to deliver His beloved people.
How is this ultimately seen in the greatest miracle of all—the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, for sinners such as us?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.