Judges 21:25 paints a clear picture of a time when Israel had completely turned its back on God. That passage reads: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (KJV).
The Liberty Bible Commentary says, “This concluding statement of Judges reiterates the self-justified form of situational ethics that was prevalent in Israel at that time. The book closes with the reflection on the absence of strong leadership and the lack of spiritual discernment that had led to the near total disintegration of Israel’s uniqueness as a nation.”
It continues, “A nation unified under Moses, and miraculously victorious under Joshua, had now fallen into sin, defeat and disunity. Thus, Judges gives us a picture of the tragic results of sinful compromise with an ungodly world.”
If you are like me, you look at Israel and see modern-day America in its reflection. And while many Christians believe America is beyond redemption, I don’t believe that. Like Israel, I believe God wants to do amazing things in our nation today.
Let’s travel on to the Book of Ruth, which immediately follows Judges, where we see a ray of hope for Israel.
Here we see the groundwork that will lead to a man — God’s man — who will come to rule His people because of Ruth’s life of honor. You see, when all seems hopeless in our eyes, never forget that God is not without hope or the eternal resources to do great and mighty things through His people — all for His glory.
In Ruth, we see Elimelech leading his wife Naomi and their two sons from famine-laden Bethlehem into Moab. Soon, Elimelech dies and Naomi is heartbroken.
However, the sons eventually marry Ruth and Orpah. As life is getting better, tragedy strikes again and the sons die. While Orpah returns to her home, Ruth remains with Naomi and they return to Bethlehem.
Life is tough. Ruth takes on the difficult job of gleaning in the fields. It seems like Ruth and Naomi have been forgotten by God. But the story is just getting started.
You see, Boaz, who was of Elimelech’s house, notices Ruth in her labors. Eventually — and we see God’s hand throughout this narrative — Boaz marries Ruth. Despite her great trials and heartbreak, Ruth now sees that God had a plan.
Let’s briefly examine THREE KEYS TO THE BOOK OF RUTH and see how this wonderful story relates to Christians today as we live for Christ.
1. We see the Kinsman Redeemer. The Liberty Bible Commentary says, “The kinsman was acting as the agent of Yahweh by demonstrating his covenant loyalty to the purpose of God among His people.” Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer. Through His sinless life and shed blood, He paid the price of our redemption. Boaz is a picture of the Bridegroom and Ruth a symbol of the bride of Christ, which is the church. Don’t you love how these Old Testament stories pave the way for the Gospel of Christ that would later come!
2. We see that God uses ordinary people. Ruth was a normal girl, but she trusted God and He did not forsake her. Throughout the Bible, we see God’s hand on the lives of ordinary people who then accomplish extraordinary things for Him. “Not I, but Christ” is our ministry motto and we strive to live out that principle every day in our homes, in our workplaces and in our communities because we want to please God and see Him move in amazing ways among us. We are just ordinary folks serving our extraordinary and matchless King, my friends.
3. We see a family’s destiny. Boaz and Ruth will have a son named Obed. Obed goes on to father Jesse and Jesse will have a son named David, who becomes Israel’s great king. I love how God is at work in our lives even when we are not fully aware of all He is doing. I often think of this as we plant churches, train pastors, preach across the airwaves, send out missionaries, and help people in need across the globe. We do not always see immediate results, but as time goes on we often see God at work. People are coming to Christ and lives are being changed because we, like Ruth, trust God in all we do. If you want God to honor your family and your ministry, live boldly for Him.
Do you ever look back over your life, maybe at some tough times you have been through, and in retrospect you see the Hand of God directing your path? I sure do. I look at discouraging periods of life and see how God was molding me and preparing me for the leadership positions He has directed me to today. I thank Him for those times where I am compelled to trust Him beyond myself.
What a joy it is to serve the Lord. I consider it a great honor to serve Him with you as we tell more and more people about Jesus. Thank you so much for your trust in me to lead this ministry. Let’s continue to serve the Lord together as we make disciples for Him!
Your friend in Christ,