I waited until we started the first two chapters of I Samuel to write about the last two chapters of Judges and the tiny book of Ruth.
Ashes in Judges
The last four chapters of Judges are horrific. I’ve heard people get really angry, stating that an all good and all knowing God could not order or do that. Here’s the deal… God left men to their own devices. The key verse is the last verse of the last chapter of Judges, “Everyone did what was right in their hearts.” More than anything, the last four chapters of Judges reveal how foolish sinful humanity really is.
Let’s put that in context. The cycle in judges is sin, fall away, idolatry, call on God then ‘Here comes the Judge.’ Wash, rinse, repeat. Until the last four chapters. In these last chapters, there is no Judge who saves Israel, the problem is internal, and no significant external threat is mentioned. Instead, Israel moves into Civil War and the results are devastating. We are left with a nation trying to redeem a shattered tribe. The lesson is that humanity all by itself is capable of great evil when deciding in their hearts what is right and wrong.
Beauty in Ruth
Coming out of the deadly disaster of civil war, the Bible narrative shifts to Ruth. After brutal civil war and the cheapness of life on display, the tale shifts to a young gentile widow sticking with her mother in law. Realize something… In this story, a mother teaches a widow. In other words, Israel teaches a Gentile about God from a foundation of love, reinforced by loyalty. Then we have ephahs of barley, the night in the threshing floor, exchange of sandals. Very romantic and I love how God inspired Samuel (probably) to write this story. Yet, the story anchors to the title deed. Israel (Boaz) had to give up his inheritance to redeem a dead man’s land, rescue of the dead man’s widow (Naomi)… Redeeming Ruth so he could marry a beautiful gentile bride.
There is no better story than the good guy winning the girl… You see, Boaz is a type of Jesus, Naomi is a type of Israel, and Ruth the Gentile bride is a type of the Church. In the end, Jesus wins the bride, his Church. In the end, the ultimate man and son of God wins the beautiful bride, his church, by restoring her, redeeming her, and making her his.
To understand Revelation 5, and the title deed of the earth, requires a pre-read of Ruth. And the redemption brought to the throne room of God by the lamb who was slain, breaking of seals that bound the bride in a debt she could not pay, and elevation of the bride from worker in the field to rescued bride. Ruth is a story that begins in the ashes of heartbreak and widowhood but rises to beauty, redemption and prophecy.
Days of the Kings begins
From this story, Ruth bore Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. In the days of Jesse, Israel demanded a King and God gave them what they wished for… Saul from the tribe of Benjamin in the ninth generation after Perez. Recall that Perez is a son of Judah and Tamar back in the days of Jacob and Joseph. But that is a story for my next BLOG.
In San Antonio but missing my Rocky Mountain sunrises