Nuggets From the Book of Ruth (posted 5/19/10)

Posted: August 2, 2010 in Book of Ruth
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The scroll of Ruth is read in Jewish synagogues on Pentecost, which is celebrated Sivan 6. 

Below are some yummy nuggets I gleaned from my study this week. (It will be just a few nuggets because my entire study is so vast it could be made into a book. When I taught it years ago, the first 60 minute cassette was on the first verse)

The book has FOUR chapters. Four is the number of teaching, testing, trials. The fourth day God divided light from darkness. When you are facing trials you always have darkness before the light. Light is revealed knowledge, revelation. There are always seasons of testing, exposing the wrong to root it out. Four Hebrew children were tested for 10 days and found 10 times more wisdom and understanding at the end (Daniel 1). When you multiply 10 by 4 you have increased teaching, testing. Hebrew children in wilderness for 40 years (trials, testing), Moses on Mt Sinai 2 times for 40 days (learning), Jesus in Wilderness 40 days (trials ending with increased anointing). Ruth’s name is first mentioned in the 4th verse of Chapter 1.

Four things we get by studying the Old Testament (1) Instruction (2) Patience (3) Encouragement (4) Hope. This book is a study on how to stand in faith & see God’s faithful redeeming Hand at work.

Ruth is read in synagogues on Pentecost/Shavu’ot- the Fourth Feast of the LORD.

Only 2 books of 66 in our Bible are named after women, Esther & Ruth (both Gentile names)

Esther was a Jew that married a Gentile; Ruth was a Gentile that married a Jew.

Both books were times of lost hope and hard times. Both books show us how Gentiles come into the promise of God to Abraham through our covenant with Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer. (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Ps 72:17; Acts 3:25) 

Time line of the Book, between 1150-1100 BC, a period when judges ruled and there was marked oppression, lawlessness, violence, a time of spiritual confusion, compromise and apostasy. (Most likely the time was between Judges 3:9-20)Judges 17:6 & 21:25 state that everyone was doing “what was right in their own sight”. Judges 17:6, no true ‘house of God’ religiously, led to ‘no king’ nationally (18:1) and ended with national apostasy (21:25). It all goes back to the Church being the Church! 

The story begins with, “Now it came to pass in the days…”. That phrase only occurs 5 times in the Bible and always denotes some impending trouble, followed by happy deliverance. 

  • Genesis 14:1 days of Amraphel (name means sayer of darkness)
  • Ruth 1:1, when everyone did what was right in their own sight 
  • Esther 1:1, days of Ahasuerus (name means ‘I will be silent and poor’)
  • Isaiah 7:1, days of Ahaz (name means ‘he has grasped, possessing, possessor’– a weak man devoted to idolatry)
  • Jeremiah 1:3, days of Jehoiakim (name means Jehovah raises up)

From these , time frames and name meanings I see the progression (1) speaking words of darkness, unbelief, murmuring (2) lead to doing what you think is right instead of trusting God and being directed by the Word of God (3) leads to being silent and poor because faith always speaks faith (4) leads to oppression, being captured by the enemy (5) leads turning back to God and doing things His way, having our faith totally on Him and the finished work of Jesus who has redeemed us. 

First big mistake- leaving Bethlehem (house of bread) to go to fields Moab!!

First of all, a house denotes a warm enviorment; a field lies open and is unprotected. In Biblical writings, the empty field is an image that often precedes tradgedy.

Bethlehem is where Rachel was buried and was first associated with death and separation. But Bethlehem was also where all the sheep were raised for the Temple sacrifices (Passover lambs) and also where the wheat and barley fields were located for the Temple showbread. Bethlehem was a place where sacrifice begins.

Moab was a son of Lot by incest with his daughter. The daughter saw no hope of ever having children, thought her life was over, no more men left after seeing what happened to Sodom and got her father drunk enough to have intercourse with her.

Elimelech– sages say that he was a man of means, a man of stature. For Lot, His son Moab was a daily example of failure (I should have, I could have, I didn’t, I wish I would’ve) and much regrets. Moab became known for past mistakes, living in the past failures that haunt you and keep you captive, no longer going forth. It will take faith and courage to get out of Moab because the enemy of our faith wants us to lose hope and think you will never win, that your mistakes have taken you so far out of God’s plan that you have no hope, only sick at heart- lose heart.

Moabites were placed under a curse by the law of Moses because they refused to offer bread and water to the Israelites coming up to Sinai. (Deut 23:3-6)

To me, the Land of Moab represents the kingdom of this world and Bethlehem represents the Kingdom of God. We get to chose which kingdom we chose, but we cannot serve two masters or two kingdoms. (Matthew 6:35)

Elimelech brought his family into a place of bondage instead of trusting God during a time of famine. Elimelech was from the Tribe of Judah, the kingly tribe, warriors and his name meant ‘may kingship come my way’ or ‘God is my king’.

Naomi, his wife, name means ‘pleasant’ or  ‘my delight’

Machlon, son, name means ‘sickness, weak

Chilyon, son, name means ‘failing, pining’

Were the names changed in Ruth for emphasis? I Chronicles 4:22 speaks of Jokim, Joash and Saraph (only time these names were used) who had the dominion in Moab. It ends with ‘these are ancient things’ (things that are left best in the past). 

Within 10 years in Moab, Naomi’s husband died, 2 sons died and she was left with 2 Gentile (Moabite) daughter-in-laws. No more support and because they moved to a foreign land they gave up rights to their inherited land in Bethlehem. Much like the prodigal son, her only hope was going back to her father’s house. She heard (Targum says an angel told her) that there was bread in Bethlehem. She went back a bitter, broke and discourged woman. Ruth followed Naomi, only thinking of serving and taken care of this broken woman. Orpah chose to go back and live a life of memories of failure and memories of the three funerals.

When Ruth and Naomi (now called ‘bitter’) came to Bethlehem it was Passover time, barley harvest. Ruth humbled herself and went looking for food for Naomi went to the corner of the field. (Ruth was the best thing that ever happened to Naomi and the best thing that ever happened to Bethlehem) She was led by Almighty God to glean in the fields of a near relative, Boaz. (30 fold) 

Ruth now found favor because of her faithfulness in her assignment to take care of Naomi. Boaz now instructed his workers to leave her ‘handfuls of purpose’ in the field. Boaz was breaking a standard tradition in his day. Strangers were only allowed to glean from a small corner ‘after’ the harvest was already done. Boaz enlarged her territory and instructed her workers not to rebuke her, but to leave her handfuls!!! They were not allowed to remind her she was a cursed Moabite, not allowed to remind her she was poor, not allowed to remind her that she was a woman. (Satan is the accuser of the brethren and Jesus will not allow him to remind us of anything that is under the Blood!!) Ruth was not being blessed on purpose (60 fold). 

Now Naomi’s hope is returning and she is getting creative strategies that had to have come from only God! She instructs Ruth to go to Boaz at night, as a woman, not a worker. Ruth was to ask that Boaz ‘take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative’. She was asking him to marry her and get her promised inheritance back. The land was lost and only a close relative could get the land back, a Kinsman Redeemer. At the gates of the city business tranactions took place. Boaz received a surrendered sandle for another relative, giving him the land, Ruth and all inherited rights of family of Elimelech redeemed. (so much to this, too much for this message today) (Ruth had now come into 100 fold, her cup was overflowing)

Ruth and Boaz were married on Pentecost and became great-grandparents of King David. Ruth’s name became to mean ‘friendship‘. 

This Book should restore your hope 

  • Our past mistakes should be put under the Blood where it cannot stop us from going forth into our destiny
  • God can redeem everything last, back generations
  • Nothing is impossible for God.
  • In tough and dark times come the best testimonies of God’s faithfulness
  • Any lost dreams or hopes came be restored
  • Jesus Christ became like us, in the flesh, to buy us back off the slave block (I Cor 6:20, Gal 3:13, I Peter 1:18, 19)
  • God’s plans for us is for a future and a hope
  • Stay focused on your assignment and seek to meet other’s needs- not just be served, but to serve; God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him
  • There is no past, not situation, no circumstance that God cannot change
  • If you stay in the fields of Jesus He will not allow the enemy to keep bringing up your past to keep you bound in failure. “Oh, how He loves us so, Oh how He loves us, How He loves us so”
  • The times of the Book of Ruth are much like the days we are living in now. Much apostasy, many people falling into failure at thier own making. Those who trust in God shall be strong and do great exploits.

Last thought. David wrote of his memories of his great-grandparents, grand parents and parents in Psalm 37. The entire chapter speaks of the deeds of doing ‘righteous’ deeds, continually and without compromise. Psalm 37:25, ‘I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.’ (Amplified Bible reads ‘uncompromisingly righteous). David’s ancestors that he knew, never went to the enemy to get bread- always were fed by doing God’s ways. 

Everyone of us know ‘good’ Christian people who have failed but I can honestly say that everyone that I know that continues to stand on the Word and recieve correction are successful in everything they have been assigned to do. It may seem at times dark, but keep on holding onto the feet of Jesus. 

Naomi tried to turn Ruth back FOUR TIMES, but she said “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following you. For where you go, I will go…..” Lay out before the feet of your Kinsman Redeemer all night if necessary but continually say “you are my only hope“.

  1. muzacmercer says:

    I recently wrote a song about the Prodigal Son. This is my testimony of God’s amazing grace in my life. If you have a sec here it is. Thanks for listening

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