Friday, April 26, 2013

The Book of Ruth

I thought I had mentioned on here before, that Ruth is probably my favorite book in the Bible.  Infact, I started to not even blog about it, because I was pretty sure that I already had at some point, but I went back through all my old Churchy post and couldn't find anything. So, maybe I'm delusional and only thought I had written about the book of Ruth. Or maybe I'm remembering discussing it with Strem on Myspace back in the day. Or maybe I'm remember one of the many conversations I've had with Gary on this book. Back when we were dating we studied it out together over the phone.

So, I love the book of Ruth, I think it's a beautiful story in and of itself. I don't know why Hollywood, never thought to make a movie out of it. I mean think about it, a woman far from home and her family, in a strange land, a widow condemned to a life of poverty, a man takes pity on her (and unless I'm mistaken) in time they fall in love, and he redeems her. They live happily ever after and are the great grandparents to a king. As great as that story is, it's even more wonderful when you see what God is trying to teach us about His relationship to us through this story.

One of the best known verses in Ruth is probably chapter 1, verses 16-17 "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." My mother and father used it in their wedding. Gary and I used it in our wedding. It's a really common wedding verse. I've sacrificed alot of my desires at least for the time being to follow Gary - living in Alabama near the family, teaching, etc. I think he's worth it. However, think of God our Heavenly Father, and Christ our bridegroom. Shouldn't we be willing to sacrifice all to follow him as Ruth followed Naomi? She left home, family, friends, her entire culture. Shouldn't we be willing to put behind us any that would hinder us from following Him, to lay aside the sinful culture of this world, and follow Him until death?

Boaz is a type and shadow of Christ. Boaz is also the name of the pillar in front of the temple later one. I think the significance is that a man/husband is to be a strength as the pillar, and just like the pillars in front of the temple lead you to the temple, a husband's conduct should point us to Christ. Boaz shows great love for Ruth in this book. She is amazed that he would be so good to her, since she is not an Israelite. Moab and Israel were enemies, and the Moabites invaded and fought against the Israelites in the book of Judges. He tells her that she has taken care of her mother in law and that is enough for him. God loved us when we were enemies, He took us in and made us his children. He is even more amazing than Boaz because not only does he not hold our past against us, but we didn't even have any redeeming qualities like Ruth.

Maybe my favorite part of this book is when Boaz says "let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her" (Ruth 2:16). You know the Lord provides for us in many ways, food both natural and spiritual to be sure, but also in giving us people along our journey that can strengthen and encourage us, the ability to give to others in service, and many other blessings we can't begin to deserve or thank him for. You know, that all of these things are given purposefully by him. He doesn't just fling grain out the way you feed chickens, and let us scramble in a free for all to get enough to survive. He purposes good things for us. Boaz could have been content to let her have the scraps around the corners of the field, but instead he instructed that they leave hand fulls of the good stuff specifically for her. God commanded that they leave the corners for the widows and the fatherless, but you know the crops in the corners aren't as good as the grain you harvest in the middle. I've learned from listening to Gary and watching the fields up here that the corn on the outside corners of the field have to compete with trees, grass, etc for nutrients, also that's where fertilizer and such is spread the thinnest, as a result grain doesn't grow as tall, produce as big of a head with as many kernels God is the same way with us, he gives us purposefully of the best stuff. Boaz even gives her additional barley out of what he had threshed, something he didn't need to do. (Ruth 3:15)

In the end Boaz loves and cares for Ruth enough that he gives up the right to his first born son in order to raise up seed for his dead kinsman. God gave up his first born, his ONLY son, to raise us up out of death into life. Should we not be willing to serve and follow God like Ruth loved and served Boaz?

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