Summary: Let's begin a journey and discover some great and wonderful truths about God through this wonderful book about a woman of great faith and obedience!
Date Written: June 26, 2012
Date Taught: June 27, 2012
Church: OPBC (Wed Night)
Title: A Study in the Book of Ruth
Text: Ruth 1:1-5 (read passage)
Even the best laid plans can go awry and leave us in a desperate situation. Let’s look at the story told here in the book of Ruth as we begin our study…
The story is a simple story, but there are so many things we can learn from such a simple story… This story is about a woman in the history of Israel whose life made such an impact that her faith and obedience led God to place her in the Bible.
Now this book does not identify an author, but traditionally authorship has been ascribed to the prophet Samuel, who wrote this book in the second half of the 11th century BC. [1050BC or later…]
Historical Setting: The events in the book occurred at a dark time in Israel's history - in "the days when the judges ruled" (1:1), according to the historical introduction.
This was a period when the nation lapsed again and again into worship of false gods. What a contrast this is to Ruth, who remained faithful to GOD, although she was a Moabite by birth - one considered an alien by GOD's Chosen People...but as we find out one God would be pleased with because of her faithfulness!
Purpose and Theology: (HBH)
The story provides a transition from the patriarchs to the monarchy. Ruth married Boaz and their son Jesse father King David…
The story of Ruth shows how GOD sovereignly achieves His purposes through the faithfulness of His people. The book speaks about GOD indirectly through the prayers and blessings of the story's characters. Although the book reflects a strong belief in GOD's lordship over history, it equally convinces readers that human decisions and actions play a significant role.
The book teaches that GOD's will is sometimes accomplished by common people with uncommon faith. This book has simple people going about everyday affairs serving God in their everyday lives.
The theological emphasis of Ruth can be summed up by two key words - kindness (hesed) and kinsman-redeemer (goel).
The word kindness indicates a covenant faithfulness and it occurs 3 times in the prayers and commendations spoken by the characters (1:8; 2:20; 3:10). There is an implied contrast between the story's characters, who are righteous, and those of Judges, who "did as he [they] saw fit" (Judg. 21:25).
This story teaches that GOD rewards the faithfulness of His people. GOD accomplished this by using Boaz as the family's "kinsman-redeemer" (2:20; 3:12-13; 4:1-10).
Kinsman-redeemer refers to a relative who helped a troubled family member so that the family was not dispossessed of land or left without an heir (Lev. 25:25-34; Deut. 25:5-10).
The story corrected the Jews when they made the worship of GOD exclusively the prerogative of Israel. God is sovereign so RUTH did not impress God to ‘earn’ her way into Scripture, but God is faithful and God wants us to see the picture of Ruth’s faithfulness and obedience in a time of great difficulty in her life… this serves as an example for us today as believers…
Let’s look at her story as we read v.1-5…
1In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him.
1:1 In the days. This is a standard Hebrew formula for opening any historical book. The period spoken about here… the period of the judges in Israel was notorious as a time of spiritual shakiness and turning away from God. This was a time of men seeking their own desires and abandoning the covenant of God!
Famine. All of the events associated within the book of Ruth, turn on the curse of famine, and its corresponding reversal in blessing.
So believed famines were sometimes a sign of divine displeasure (1 Kin. 17:1). Naomi (1:21) bitterly acknowledges God’s sovereign hand in her circumstances, and in any case, events are never outside His decree.
Moab… literally means ‘fieldsof Moab’. Now although Ruth was a Moabite, she was blessed by GOD. The people of Moab were akin to the Israelites through Abraham and Lot.
We remember the story of Lot after he escapes Sodom… his daughters get him drunk and sleep with him and have sons…in Gen 19:37 we find the oldest daughter’s son was named Moab, and from him come the Moabite people.
2The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there.