Text: Ruth 4:13-17
American history is full of rags-to-riches stories. Tales abound of men and women who came over to America with nothing but a few dollars and the clothes on their body becoming successful, rich entrepreneurs in this great country.
The story of Ruth is one of the greatest rags-to-riches stories ever told. She was a Moabite widow living in Jewish Israel. This was not an easy thing. God had specially chosen the nation of Israel to be separate from the other nations around. Ruth not being a Jew made her the lowest on the totem pole in Israel at that time
Read the book of Ruth, it is not very long, but the story is beautiful. Ruth moves from the rags of obscurity to the wife of a kind Jewish man. God’s love for her took her from nothingness to being a distant relative of the great King David and even better… generations down the road one of her descendants would be Jesus Christ himself!
Rags-to-riches… Ruth’s story reminds me of another rags-to-riches story. My story. I was stuck in the rags of my sins, the filthy rags that kept me from having a relationship with the almighty God. Then I was transformed in an instant, when the waters of baptism trickled through my hair I was made incomparably rich. Rich with grace, rich with love, rich with mercy, rich with heaven…
Rags-to-riches… Jesus came for all people. He came for Ruth, he came for Boaz, he came for me, he came for you and he took us from rags-to-riches! Praise our God from whom all blessings flow!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, how can we thank you for all you have done for us? You made us rich in Christ even though we did nothing to deserve it. You offer us your love, you give us hope and peace. Help us to live every day full of the love you have given to us. Let us be lights to the world, reflecting your grace and mercy to those around us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
This is the ninth weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is the book of Judges and the book of Ruth. It should only take about 10 minutes a day, or about three chapters a day to complete the assignment.
Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read Judges and Ruth:
Judges Background: The name for the book comes from the title given to the leaders of Israel in the book. The judges were not men that sat in a courtroom with long black robes. The judges were more like military generals who also functioned leaders of the people. This was an intermediary period from the death of Joshua to the time of Samuel when, as the book often states, “Israel had no king.” A theme for the book can be taken from the very last verse which tells us that in those days Everyone Did As He Saw Fit. This was a time period when sin ran rampant, and the graphic and gory details of Judges highlights that. Over and over again we see a tragic pattern: Rebellion, Repression, Repentance, Rescue. In other words, the people would sin, a nation would conquer them, they would turn from their sin, a judge would deliver them. Perhaps a better theme for the book might be: The Lord Delivers His People as we read time and again about the Lord mercifully rescuing his people.
Judges 1-2: These chapters are introductory and set the background for the stories to follow. The people of Israel failed to obey the Lord’s instructions when conquering the land of Canaan. They did not completely drive out and destroy the people of the land. Thus, they intermarried, mixed cultures, and mixed religions. The Israelites slid down a slippery slope with these heathen religions-they tolerated, then they incorporated, then they switched over. We Christians can use this as a warning about the world we live in. All sins and temptations will wear away at our conscience and our faith if we do not remove ourselves from those sins. First comes tolerance, then dabbling, then finally all-out sinning. Christian beware! Read the rest of this entry