Two weeks ago, we spent our Sunday morning gathering in the book of the Judges. It describes a time in the nation of Israel of great darkness, disobedience, destruction, and dystopia. It was a time, states the last sentence in the story, when “there was no king in Israel, and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25). It was very disturbing.
This past Sunday we, we stayed right there, “In the days when the judges ruled…” (Ruth 1:1). We made our way through the remarkable story of Ruth, Naomi, Boaz, and God. The simple story of an ordinary Israelite family facing tragic loss, and God using an immigrant to bring about unexpected hope, both in the present, and forevermore. It is this small but bright light in a very dark time.
The story and example of Ruth and Naomi provided some really great points of application for our lives, and we had the time to move through a few of those. The power of friendship and the radical nature of discipleship (I got that structure and ideas there from some great work on Ruth by Tim Keller), as well as the very ordinary nature of our lives providing a theater for the omnipotence of God.
One of the areas we didn’t get to spend much time on is the nature of a kinsman-redeemer, how Boaz fulfilled that role, and that in doing so he was a type of the Messiah, the Christ, as our Redeemer. In this way, this story is a beautiful reminder that God is always doing more than we know or realize in the small spaces of our stories to accomplish his plans and purposes for the world.
One of the books I am consulting throughout The Whole Story series is A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised. In his essay on Ruth as part of this volume, John J. Yeo writes:
…the kinsman-redeemer serves as a messianic type for the following reasons:
(1) he must be a blood relative (even as the incarnate Christ became a blood relative to humankind via the virgin birth);
(2) he must have the means to redeem the forfeited inheritance (even as Christ alone had the merit to redeem sinners);
(3) he must be a willing redeemer (even as Christ willingly laid down his life for sinners); and
(4) he must be willing to marry the wife of a deceased kinsman (which typifies the marriage relationship between Christ and his church).
This is just one of the beautiful aspects of the unified story of the whole Bible that always points to Jesus. Over and over and over again we see in the old covenant story of God’s dealing with his people these types of the One who is to come. In this way, the richness and depth of the new covenant story of God’s dealing with his people and the world through Jesus is intensified. Right up to today. For us.
Which is what Ian Duguid points to in his commentary on this story:
[God] is the Redeemer behind the human redeemer, [Boaz], in Ruth and Naomi’s story. This is also what [Yahweh] has done for each of us. He is the Redeemer behind each of our own personal salvation stories. He sought each of us while we were utterly lost. Not only did he make us feel valuable; in Christ, God actually made us valuable. It is not just Ruth’s story that turned out to be part of a much bigger narrative than she ever imagined. Your story and my story are also woven into the bigger tapestry of what God is doing in Jesus Christ.
For further study on the book of Ruth, I suggest you continue exploring by means of the following resources:
- Review last week’s sermon on Ruth.
- Click here to find a whole page of videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on this remarkable story of a very ordinary family that brought unexpected, eternal hope to the world.
Finally, be sure to dive into the story of Samuel in preparation for this coming Sunday, which is also the first day of Holy Week. As always, please feel free to email me with questions about or ideas for The Whole Story.
Looking forward to our Gathering on Sunday morning,
Day Thirty: Vistas of Wisdom
I am very near the end of this little writing experiment called “31 Proverbs.” While I’m unsure how helpful it has been to how ever many have read it, I know that the process of sitting down six days each week to read, ponder, and then ponder some more by plunking on a keyboard has helped me grow in my understanding of wisdom.
Day Thirty-Two: A Mother's Wisdom (part two)
Yesterday, we heard from what was likely King Solomon’s mother imparting worthy words of wisdom in the area of leadership. For the sayings of wisdom we find here are those “which his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1). And she now turns her attention to the search for a woman of virtue and noble character, suitable to be a wife and mother.
Day Twenty-Nine: Please—Quietly Hold Your Tongue
Anger. noun. “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” (New Oxford American Dictionary) As I entered day twenty-nine of Proverbs this morning, and came to 29:11, it struck me that this book has quite a bit to say about anger, strife, wrath, quarreling, fights, and rage. It is a theme that Solomon keeps coming back to, probably because he knows that it is a theme woven through humanity and history. Sometimes the best way to see a theme is to pull on that string so all the wisdom he has offered comes together for our observation. The accumulation helps us feel the weight of it.
Day Twenty-Six: A Morning Conversation With King Solomon
A conversation that happened this morning as I came upon a visitor in our fireplace room….
Day Nineteen: God Chose Her, Not You
The doctrine of God’s rule and reign in and over all things comes crashing into the human conception of the self-made man. We are tempted to think we have so much to do with our happinesses. But the wisdom found from James speaks a wakefulness into the pondering of our circumstances—the good gifts we have come not from our own hands, but by the grace and providence of our heavenly Father. And the wisdom of Solomon makes clear—one of man’s greatest gifts is something only God can give, an understanding wife.
Day Seventeen: The Great Gain Of Godly Contentment
We live in a world where the temptation is constant to believe the amount of our wealth and possessions directly translates to our joy and happiness. The Bible, once again, confronts our culture and holds out another possibility. Namely, “better” does not imply “more,” “bigger,” or “expensive.” It suggests that the reason you still haven’t found what you are looking for is because you’ve been searching in all the wrong places. Wisdom opens our eyes and hearts to deeper wells of contentment.
Day Fifteen: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy. Woh, I always feel like somebody's watching me. Tell me is it just a dream? So sang Rockwell in the dawning of my high school years back in 1984. All the cool kids were singing it at the time, and its the tune that sprang to mind when I read this similar sentiment this morning: Yahweh is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, New Living Translation)
Day Fourteen: Death By Living
For those of us desirous to live a good life, we’ve known since the very beginning of this book that it begins with a healthy awe, reverence, and trembling before the God of the universe whose name is Yahweh (Proverbs 1:7). And here we are again reminded that this humble posture before the Holy One is a fountain overflowing with life.