Bible Order: 2 Kings 1–4
Chronological Order: Psalms 6, Psalms 8-10, Psalms 14, Psalms 16, Psalms 19, Psalms 21
New Testament Only: Luke 14:25–15:7
Under God’s Wing
Today we read the book of Ruth – the whole thing in one sitting. Why is any book of the Bible in the Bible? Every book of the Bible points us toward Christ. We see in Ruth a picture of the Redeemer and the path of the Christian. Ruth was married to one of the two sons of Naomi, a woman who had been married to a Jewish man who had, for some reason, gone to live among the Moabites. Ruth was a Moabite. Her sister-in-law was a Moabite as well. As we saw in today’s reading the Jewish man and his two sons died leaving these three women absolutely desolate.
In those days a woman was not much better than property and had few rights to property. Without a husband or sons, and out of her father’s house, a woman typically lived in abject poverty. This is why Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem and why she told her daughters-in-law to go stay in Moab and find new husbands. As “foreigners” in Israel these women would have had limited prospects for marriage and without marriage they would be forever destitute and as Moabites they were even shut out from the congregation of Israel by the Mosaic Law. This is why Orpah eventually decided to stay in Moab; she would have to be a ostracized, poverty-stricken widow for the rest of her life. Most folks aren’t willing to make that kind of sacrifice.
Ruth 2:10-12 ESV
“Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”
While Orpah wasn’t willing to make such an incredible sacrifice, Ruth was willing to do so out of the love she had for her mother-in-law. It is this self-denial born out of love that led Ruth to a redeemed life. Ruth had given herself over to the God of Naomi – that is to say the God of Israel – she put herself under His authority. Becoming a member of the family of God has a great reward. Boaz “redeemed” Ruth, that is to say that he paid for the property that belonged to Naomi and made Ruth his bride in the transaction. This is what Jesus did for us; He redeemed you and me by paying for our sin and making us His bride. Have you ever noticed Jesus uses marriage symbolism at times to describe His relationship with His followers? In a way he is pointing us back to the story of Ruth.
Ruth became the wife of a wealthy man and she had a child who became the grandfather of King David. That’s right; Ruth was the great grandmother of King David and a mega great grandmother of Jesus the Christ! She went from abject, poverty-stricken widowhood to wealth, marriage, and children because she submitted to God and denied herself. As Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
Brothers, when we accepted Christ we too became children of the Living God. We have been taken under His wing – a wing under which we can take refuge. What is the proper response to this incredible love God has shown us? Our response should be like that of Ruth; self-denial out of our love for Him. It is in this state of humble, self-sacrificing love that we gain the richness of Heaven. Our lives today will still have troubles and turmoil. We do live in a fallen world, and we still stumble from time to time, so troubles will come. What we gain from Christ, however, is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) that makes life a pleasure no matter the storm surrounding us. Are those not among the most valuable of treasures?
Deny yourselves brothers out of the love you have for Christ. Nurture and grow the fruits of the spirit and you will gain the richness of life God intends you to have.
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 4/7/11)