Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22 ~ John 4:4-42 ~ Psalm 105:1-15 ~ Proverbs 14:25
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Old Testament - Today we finish the book of Judges! What a powerful and telling verse the book closes with in chapter 21 verse 25: "In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes." Unfortunately, so true then. And perhaps so true for us today if we don't have a king. Fortunately, we do have the opportunity to have a king - through faith in Jesus. Otherwise, without Jesus as our king, we will surely do whatever seems right in our own eyes. I know I did for many years... sad years they were. Is Jesus your King?
An image is below for verse 23 - "So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance. Then they rebuilt their towns and lived in them."
Today we are starting up – and tomorrow finishing - the wonderful book of Ruth and then moving into First Samuel. The book of Ruth is a wonderful look at faithful love in human relationships, and in a family in particular. I like how the NIV Study Bible describes this book – “The book of Ruth is a Hebrew short story, told with consummate skill. Among historical narratives in Scripture it is unexcelled in its compactness, vividness, warmth, beauty, and dramatic effectiveness – an exquisitely wrought jewel of Hebrew narrative art.” I hope you are ready for this jewel!
Date: During the time of the Judges
Content: The book of Ruth portrays another side to the chaotic time of the judges. In it there is a welcome relief from the bloodshed and mayhem that seemed to engulf the land because of Israel’s sin. It is the story of Ruth, who decided to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, after tragedy struck that unfortunate woman. God returned good to Ruth in the form of a husband (Boaz) and a child, and also to Naomi in the form of grandchildren. From this family, eventually, came David the king.
Theme: The central point of this book is that even in times of crisis and despair, life may be lived according to the precepts of God and that God abundantly blesses those who do so live. The fundamental values of love, faith, trust, and goodness are greater than the hatred and violence of men, and continue from generation to generation as a light to guide those who look for the true meaning of life. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 4-5)
More commentary on Ruth is at these 3 links –
Today in Ruth chapter 1 verses 16 & 17 we will read these beautiful words of Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi, whose husband & two sons had died - “Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." How’s that for love & commitment! Can you imagine saying these words to someone in your life today? I pray that each of us have this type of love & commitment for our families – or that we will have this in the future with our families. It seems like nowadays families are getting more and more distanced from one another – separated sometimes by geography and I think oftentimes by individualism or other selfish reasons. Perhaps each of us can learn something from Ruth and her dedication to her mother-in-law Naomi about what family love & commitment could and should really look like?
New Testament - Wow. The Jacob's Well story in John chapter 4 today is beautiful on so many levels. I definitely recommend you check out Bible.org's commentary on this chapter at this link if you aren't familiar with all of the meanings of this story.
I love Jesus's words in verse 34 - "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work." If this is true for Jesus - think this might be true for us too? Do you believe that our nourishment comes from doing the will of God?
Psalms - Psalm 105 verse 4 stood out to me today - "Search for the LORD and for his strength, and keep on searching." I like that - search! If you search for God, he will indeed be found. Have you ever searched for God? And for his strength? Are you maybe searching now? Do you believe he will be found? Will you keep on searching?
Verses 8 & 9 remind us of this character of God: "He always stands by his covenant-- the commitment he made to a thousand generations. This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac." The covenant continues today through the new covenant (testament) brought to us through Jesus.
Proverbs - Proverbs 14 verse 25 is an excellent reminder to always tell the truth - particularly when witnessing for someone else! "A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful."
Worship God: So much of today's readings including Ruth and the woman at the well with Jesus reminded me of the fantastic song "Savior Please" by Josh Wilson. Here's a great live version of Josh performing this song. Feel free to worship along!
Is Jesus your Savior? Click here and be Saved!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." Ruth 1:16 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you have or will have the same time of strong family connection and love that Ruth had for Naomi. Pray that you will stick with your family even during hard times. Pray that your family belongs or will belong to God.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: How has been reading the book of Judges been for you this year? What new insights or revelations did you pick up while reading through Judges? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22
And the Israelites came to the house of God [Bethel] and sat there until evening before God and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. [Judg. 20:27.] And they said, O Lord, the God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel? (Judges 21:2-3 AMP)
Ya think the folks were really interested in what God had to say? I do it, we do it, the church does it—we make decisions based on what seems right to us, what looks right in our own eye failing to seek God’s voice, and if He does speak, we ignore Him. Yet, when faced with the consequences and fruit of our “nutty” behavior, we ask God why? Ain’t nothing new under the sun, but everything is fresh and renewed under the Son.
Naomi's bitterness blinded her to the blessing God placed right in her household. Like many women today who have faithfully and dutifully followed there husband into a place where they should have never been, Naomi followed but became bitter. She was dutiful but angry and hurt because her husband took her from the House of Bread, during the time of famine, into a land and a people they should have shunned.
Looking at the names of the men pre-return from Moab, we probably get a hint of there character, and it wasn’t pretty.
Elimelech (Naomi’s Husband)= “my God is king” Now, here was a man that definitely didn’t live up to his name because he left the God who was his king and went to a land where Chemosh was the god of the land.
Mahlon (One of the husbands to Ruth or Orpah) = “sick” I picture a man who was always whining and miserable.
Chilion = “pining”
What did Ruth see in the God that Naomi served in spite of her mother-in-laws bitterness? Whatever it was, she recognized that she had everything to gain and nothing to loose if she failed to go back to her father’s house.
In Ruth’s behavior I see what it truly means to accept Jesus Christ: giving up everything you grew up with, everything you know and attaching yourself to the one true God. Ruth is an Old Testament example of a New Testament work, a changed mind (Romans 12:2) She forsook family, traditions, religion, everything that was familiar to her to follow after Israel’s God. Wow! She did what the Rich Young ruler would not. Have I given up ALL to follow Jesus, or am I hanging out with “Sick, Pining, and My God is king who had forgotten who the King really is?
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | May 04, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Mike, my search for God is partly in reading this blog everyday !! Praise the Lord :)
Posted by: Billy | May 05, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Reading Judges has reminded me that when you turn your back on God it has consequences.
Posted by: Billy | May 05, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Family is very important and Ruth was willing to follow God no matter what. We need to seek God first in everything we do and our family will be blessed as a result of following God.
I found the story of Ruth sad so much loss but in the end she will be blessed.
Posted by: Vanessa | May 05, 2012 at 11:48 AM