Text covered: Deuteronomy 23:12, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel 28:19
Memory verse: Joshua 1:9: ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’
Reading Status: ‘Green’ for caught up and on time!
I am so happy to say that I am caught up in my reading! I am also happy to be out of the Books of the Law! I know they are all there for a purpose and are important (God would not have included them if they weren’t) but they can be a challenge to diligently read through.
I am a relationship guru. I love interactions with friends and those around me. We learn so much through these interactions: how to deal with others, things about yourself (both good and bad), what you believe and don’t believe and so much more. We also learn who we want to be around, those we like and dislike. For the most part, we choose to surround ourselves with those who encourage us, share similar beliefs and those who will not be a negative influence on us.
And that brings me to Ruth. I love this book of the Bible. I have never read it from beginning to end until now; if you haven’t you probably should! I had also never let the fact that Ruth was a female sink in. Of course I recognized she was female but I had never considered the importance and significance of this fact. Think about it: she has her own book in the Bible, our guidelines for life.
In no way am I a women’s activist; I believe it is God’s plan for the man to be head of our households (both family and church family). But as a female I know it can be hard sometimes when we read the Bible and hear about all of the wonderful, and not so wonderful, men that God used. We rarely see any women mentioned and it sometimes leaves me wondering ‘Where do I fit in?’. The point is this: females are just as important to Him and He uses each and every one of us to fulfill His plan. Ruth had a story to tell and in just a few, short chapters God reveals to us what a woman of faith, integrity and commitment should look like.
God used Ruth is such a mighty way. Her story seems simple: she becomes widowed at a young age, steals the heart of another good man and said man cares and provides for her for the rest of her years. The outline sounds simple; sure there was heartache but the Lord provided, right? But it is in the paragraphs that fill in the outline that we find that her life was anything but simple. They reveal to us that it was her faithfulness and commitment to God and trust in her relationship with her mother-in-law that carried her through many dark and ugly valleys.
I want to be like Ruth. I also want to surround myself with Naomi’s; women of God who seek Him first and help make His truths evident to me through the long journey of life. Naomi’s who have ‘been there, done that’ and can rejoice in my joy and cry in my sorrow, knowing from experience that the Lord will restore us if we seek Him. Naomi’s who encourage me in my faithfulness and trust in the Lord. Naomi and Ruth were both loved and provided for by God, just as you are loved and important to Him.
I learned a new word this week: kinsman-redeemer. Knowing the meaning and symbolism behind titles such as these in the Bible helps us to see the bigger picture and God’s omni-presence in each and every one of our lives. I am not confident in my own ability to convey to you the meaning and importance of this word so here is the explanation from The Life Application Study Bible (NIV):
‘A kinsman-redeemer was a relative who volunteered to take responsibility for the extended family. When a woman’s husband died, the law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10) provided that she could marry a brother of her dead husband. but Naomi had no more sons. In such a case, the nearest relative to the deceased husband could become a kinsman-redeemer and marry the widow. The nearest relative did not have to marry the widow. If he chose not to, the next nearest relative could take his place. If no one chose to help the widow, she would probably live in poverty the rest of her life because in Israelite culture the inheritance was passed on to the son or nearest male relative, not to the wife. To take the sting out of these inheritance rules, there were laws for gleaning and kinsman-redeemers.
We have a kinsman-redeemer in Jesus Christ, who, though he was God, came to earth as a man in order to save us. By his death on the cross, he has redeemed us from sin and hopelessness and thereby purchased us to be his own possession (1Peter 1:18, 19). This guarantees our eternal inheritance.’
Ruth found her kinsman-redeemer in Boaz. Boaz loved and provided for both Ruth and Naomi, carrying on the name of Naomi’s dead husband’s family. The lineage of Boaz is recorded in the last few verses of chapter 4. Here we see that Ruth was the great-grandmother of David. If Boaz had not taken on the responsibility of Ruth’s family name and property David would not have been born. If David had not been born Jesus would not have been born. If Jesus had not been born our Messiah would have not come back to be our Kinsman-Redeemer. I don’t even want to think where we might be today if the Messiah had not come back to redeem us.