The Book of Ruth

April 5, 2019

Rector’s Weekly Letter to the Congregation for April 07, 2019

The Book of Ruth

The book of Ruth is the eighth book of the Bible. It has four chapters and eighty-five verses. It was perhaps written by Samuel who was both a judge and prophet and overall ruler over Israel. The events of the book took place during the time of the Judges when Israel sank to a shockingly low level of apostasy. 

A husband and wife, Elimelech and Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, left Israel and took refuge in Moab to escape a severe famine. In Moab, Elimelech died and Naomi was left with her two sons. The sons later married Moabite girls, Orpah and Ruth. But the sons also both died about ten years later, and Naomi was left in triple sadness with her two helpless daughters-in-law. She was devastated and felt abandoned by God.

When news came from Israel that the famine had subsided, Naomi made up her mind to return home. She released her two daughters from the obligation of remaining with her and sent them back to their families. They were hesitant, but she entreated them to go. Orpah accepted the offer and left and went back to her people, but Ruth refused to part with Naomi. Ruth made the unflinching statement dear to many hearts. She said in 1:16, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”

So, Naomi and Ruth, two widows, returned to Bethlehem and lived together. Then Naomi sent Ruth to gather grain behind harvesters in the field of some rich man. It was stipulated by God for the harvesters in rich people’s fields to deliberately leave some stalks of grain behind to be picked up by the poor. (Leviticus 19:9 – 10; 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19 – 22). God intended to build concern for the less fortunate right into the culture of His people. So, Ruth was sent by Naomi to do that in whatever field she would find harvesters.

As it happened, Ruth went to the field of Boaz who was a close relative of Elimelech. She worked hard all day and caught the attention of Boaz who inquired who she was. Boaz was told that Ruth was the Moabite woman who had returned from Moab with Naomi. Apparently, her coming to live in Israel and worship the God of Israel was the talk of the town. Boaz instructed his men to leave a lot of grain stalks beyond normal for her to pick. He also asked her to be coming to glean in his field and not to go to other fields. He added on the invitation to her to help herself freely to the water his men had drawn.

In the coming days, following the advice of Naomi, Ruth tacitly requested Boaz to marry her to provide for her financially and to produce an heir for his dead relative, Ruth’s husband. According to custom, Boaz was second in line to be Mahlon’s kinsman redeemer, a rich relative who would rescue the family from slavery or provide for the widow of a relative. After the first in line declined to take Ruth and Mahlon’s estate, Boaz stepped in and married Ruth. The two had a son whom they named Obed. You may remember that Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of King David from who our Lord Jesus descended on the human side.

Here are some lessons from the book of Ruth. Even in the times of darkest apostasy and deepest despair, there are those who follow God faithfully and through whom God works. Also, in our dark times of life, when we have no answers to what is happening to us or around us, we are to stay faithful at our post and trust in the love and wisdom of God. Everything will eventually work out according to plan, God’s plan, not ours.

There was something lovely about Ruth, something more than physical beauty–humility, gracefulness–something far more attractive beyond outward good looks. And it is apparent that Elimelech and Naomi ran a godly home that impacted Ruth. A home where peaceful and quiet obedience to the Lord is practiced is a great witness and a pleasant place to live.

The Case for Christianity Answer Book

by Lee Strobel (2014:17 – 20). Continued from last week.

Reason #4: God Makes Sense of the Resurrection

Craig summed up this argument simply: “If Jesus of Nazareth really did come back from the dead, then we have a divine miracle on our hands and, thus, further evidence for the existence of God.” This, by the way, was the primary argument that convinced me when I was a skeptic.

Reason #5: God Can Immediately Be Experienced

This last point, Craig explained, is not so much an argument as a “claim that you can know that God exists wholly apart from arguments by having an immediate experience of Him.” This has certainly been true in my life, and perhaps in yours too.

The scientifically supported evidence from the origin of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe to support life, the inescapable existence of objective moral values that originate from beyond us, the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, and our own experience with the living savior—these combine to form a powerful case for the existence of God.

How does the Big Bang theory help prove that there’s a God?

For centuries philosophers have presented various forms of the “Cosmological Argument” for the existence of God—that is, arguments related to the origin and existence of the cosmos, or universe. A version called the Kalam argument has been championed in recent years by Dr. William Lane Craig:

First, whatever begins to exist has a cause.

Second, the universe began to exist.

Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Few people argue with the first premise. In fact, science is built on the assumption that effects have a cause. The second premise, however, was once highly disputed. Secular scientists argued that the universe was eternal, without a beginning. But more recent evidence for the Big Bang shows that everything in the physical universe came into existence in one grand cosmic explosion.

I know it sounds like science fiction. But here’s what physicist and best-selling author Stephen Hawking concluded about it: “Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the big bang.”

As Dr. Craig explained in The Case for Faith: “That’s where the overwhelming scientific evidence points…[but] this poses a major problem for skeptics…[who] believe that the universe came from nothing and by nothing.” He added with a chuckle, “Something coming from nothing makes no sense! If there must be a cause for a little bang, then doesn’t it also make sense that there would be a cause for a big bang?”

I think it does make sense, and that it points powerfully to the same conclusion as the opening verse in the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1.

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