Summary: · Ruth represents the friendless ones who are victims of prejudice and poverty · Bathsheba represents those who have fallen into sin and must live with its consequences
The Family Tree of Jesus
Ruth and Bathsheba Matthew 1:1-17
Scripture Reading: Ruth 1:8-18
Last week and this week, we’re looking at the lives of 4 women who are listed in Jesus’ family tree. Why were these specific women named in Matthew chapter 1 as ancestors of Jesus? It must be because their lives contain lessons for all of us. Let’s Review what we learned last week, and take a glimpse at what we will discover today.
· Tamar represents those who are forsaken and lonely
· Rahab represents those who are fearful of the future
· Ruth represents the friendless ones who are victims of prejudice and poverty
· Bathsheba represents those who have fallen into sin and must live with its consequences
Since we’re taking about family trees, I found a few proverbs about ancestors. Starting in January, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs, so it seems like good timing for a few proverbial statements.
· You can’t choose your ancestors, but that’s fair enough. They probably wouldn’t have chosen you.
· Maybe our ancestors had to haul the wash-water from the well, but at least they didn’t have to sit up nights figuring out how to meet the payments on the bucket.
· The true measure of a man’s character is not what he gets from his ancestors, but what he leaves his descendants.
That last proverb really fits the example given to us by Ruth.
3. Ruth: Friendless (book of Ruth)
Through no fault of her own, Ruth found herself a stranger in a strange land. She was friendless.
The story of Ruth begins when a famine in Israel causes a Jewish man named Elimelech and his wife Naomi to take their two sons to the neighboring country of Moab. Unfortunately, shortly after arriving there Elimelech died, leaving Naomi a widow. Naomi’s boys each married Moabite women, but shortly after that both sons died.
When Naomi decided to go back to her home, she knew these Moabite girls would not be welcome in her hometown of Bethlehem. You see, there was a strong prejudice against people from Moab. That prejudice went all the way back to the days of Moses, when Jews were warned to steer clear of the Moabites.
One of Naomi’s daughter-in-laws decided to take Naomi’s advice and stay in Moab. Her name was Orpha. (Interestingly, that’s where Oprah Winfrey got her name … except it was misspelled on the Birth Certificate.)
Then Ruth surprised her mother-in law with the beautiful words that _________________ read in our TEXT this morning. Naomi could see that Ruth meant business, so off they went to Bethlehem --- where Ruth would live as a stranger among people who looked down on anyone from Moab.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of being the lone foreigner who just doesn’t fit in. That must be how Ruth felt. She had no friends and no real prospects for making any. For one thing, as a Moabite, she looked different. And every time she opened her mouth, people must have noticed her foreign accent. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she and Naomi were dirt poor.
But Ruth was not one to whine and feel sorry for herself. She followed the procedure used by other poor families who were desperate for food. She went out to pick up loose grain in the fields that the harvesters left behind.
Now, as it turned out, the owner of one of the fields --- a prosperous Jewish man named Boaz --- took notice of Ruth and spoke kindly to her. Ruth’s reaction tells us a lot about the kind of treatment she was used to getting.
At this, Ruth bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, "Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me-a foreigner?" Ruth 2:10 It sounds like Ruth was used to being ignored. To the prejudiced people around her, she was a nobody.
But it was worse than that. Naomi makes a statement later that shows Ruth was actually in physical danger. In Ruth 2:22, Naomi says, "It will be good for you, my daughter, to go to the field of Boaz, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed."
If you’ve ever been the victim of racism, or if you’ve seen the results of prejudice against someone else, you know how ugly it can get. But Ruth overcame that prejudice.
In fact, to make a long story short, Ruth impressed Boaz so much that, in the end, he married her. Listen to what Boaz had to say about Ruth: I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband --- how you left your father and mother and your homeland to come live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge. Ruth 2:11-12