Acts 9

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 5: Acts 9:19b-30

Summary of Acts 9:19b-30

Saul spent several days with disciples in Damascus. He began to preach about Jesus and all those who heard him were confused since Saul was known as a hater and persecutor of Christians.  So the Jews conspired to kill Saul but he slipped away in the dead of night.

When he did return to Jerusalem (after 3 years), he endeavored to join up with the disciples but they were afraid of him still.  It took Barnabas (an ordinary man) to take Saul and vouch for him, saying how he has preached so fearlessly in Jesus’s name, before he was accepted.  Saul spoke in Jerusalem for Jesus and with the Grecian Jews who again tried to kill him for his beliefs.  So he was sent off to Tarsus for his safety.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 5: Acts 9:19b-30

12a) After Saul’s conversion, he started preaching the word, angering the Jews (the non-believers) living in Damascus. They just didn’t believe a man so full of hatred could do an about-face. So after many days, they conspired to kill him.

b) The disciples were afraid of Saul, not believing that he was really a disciple. Barnabas took Saul to the disciples and vouched for him. Only then was Saul allowed to stay. Still the people wanted to kill him.

13) Part personal Question. My answer: They in essence his Paul. They too him to Caesarea and then sent him to Tarsus. We can protect fellow believers in the same way, sheltering them from people and other things when they need it the most. The Galatians passage BSF had us readin 2011 explains this further (Galatians 1:11-24).  Saul stayed with Peter for 15 days (Galatians 1:18).  He saw none of the other apostles–only James, the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:19).  He fell into a trance while praying and the Lord warned him to leave Jerusalem immediately because his testimony would not be accepted (Acts 22:17-18).

14) To increase their faith and strengthen them.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 5: Acts 9:19b-30

Last go-around, we read this passage along with Galatians 1:11-24. The extra readings we did back then just gives us a fuller picture of what actually happened. Too bad most of these have been omitted thus far in an effort to save people time when studying God’s word.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 5: Acts 9:19b-30

Lessons From Saul’s Conversion

  • At its core, salvation is something God does in us. What we do is only a response to His work in us.
  • God finds some who, by all appearance, are not looking for Him at all. Seeing how God reached Saul encourages us to believe that God can reach the people in our life that we think are very far from Him. We often give up on some people and think they will never come to Jesus; but the example of Saul shows God can reach anyone.
  • God looks for people to cooperate in the conversion of others, even when they are not really necessary, except as a demonstration of the importance of the family of God.
  • It isn’t enough that we be broken before God, though that is necessary. God wants to only use brokenness as a prelude to filling.

At the Jewish synagogue, the custom was that any able Jewish man could speak from the Scriptures at synagogue meetings.

To be called the “son of” something meant in Jesus’ time that you were totally identified with that thing or person, and their identity was your identity. When Jesus called Himself the Son of God, and when others called Him that, it was understood as a clear claim to His deity.

In fact, on two occasions when Jesus called Himself the Son of God, He was accused of blasphemy, of calling Himself God (John 5:17-18Matthew 26:63-65). Everybody knew what Jesus meant in calling Himself Son of God, and everyone knew what Saul meant when he preached that Jesus is the Son of God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When you are newly converted, you still understand the way people who don’t yet know Jesus think.

timeline acts 9

Saul, an expert in the Old Testament, could easily see how Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Hebrew Scriptures.

In Galatians 1:13-18, Paul explained more about what happened during these many days. He described how he went to Arabia for a period of time, and then returned to Damascus. After his return to Damascus, he went to Jerusalem. Paul spent a total of three years in Damascus and Arabia (Galatians 1:18); truly these were many days.

In 2 Corinthians 11:32-33, Paul refered to this incident and mentions it happened under Aretas the king. This means that this escape from Damascus happened between A.D. 37 and 39. So, taking into account the three years mentioned in Galatians 1:18, and that this incident happened at the end of those three years, we can surmise that Paul was converted sometime between A.D. 34 and 36.

“It was the beginning of many escapes for Paul, and sometimes he didn’t quite escape. Sometimes they caught him, imprisoned him, beat him. He did indeed have to suffer many things for Jesus’ sake.” (Boice)

Paul made a point of the limited nature of his time with the apostles in Jerusalem to show clearly that he did not receive his gospel from the other apostles. Though he was no doubt blessed and benefited from that time, he received his message by direct revelation from Jesus on the road to Damascus.

Somewhere between 8 and 12 years passed in the life of Saul before he again entered into prominent ministry, being sent out as a missionary from the church at Antioch.

map ancient tarsus paul's journey

Tarsus

Tarsus was one of the great cities of the ancient world, with an excellent harbor and a strategic placement at trade routes. It was especially known as an university city, being one of the three great educational cities of the Mediterranean world. “Strabo speaks of the Tarsian university as even surpassing, in some respects, those of Athens and Alexandria (Geography 14.5.13). It was especially important as a center of Stoic philosophy” (Williams)

The Book of Acts tells us nothing about the planting of churches in Galilee. We don’t know who started these churches, how they did it, or all the great works of God which took place in these young churches. This reminds us that Acts is only a partial history of God’s work during this period.

At the end of Acts 9:31, we reach an important historical crossroads in Acts and the events of the Roman Empire. In A.D. 37, Caiaphas was replaced as high priest, first by Jonathan, then by Theophilus. In the same year, Caligula succeeded Tiberius as Roman Emperor. Caligula was bitterly hostile against the Jews and was assassinated four years later.

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Saul on Road to Damascus

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 4: Acts 9:1-19a

Summary of Acts 9:1-19a:

Saul was persecuting the Lord’s disciples and all others who belonged to the Way, trying to imprison them or kill them.  As Saul neared Damascus, a light from haven flashed around him and he heard a voice (Jesus), asking why does he persecute him?  Jesus tells Saul to go to the city and he will be told what to do.

The others with him did not see anyone.  They lead Saul to Damascus because Saul had been blinded by the light.  In Damascus, the Lord called a disciple named Ananias to go to Saul and lay hands on him so that Saul may see again.

Ananias tells the Lord that Saul is a bad man (as if God didn’t know) and he might be arrested if he goes.  The Lord explains his purpose for Saul to Ananias, saying Saul is His chosen instrument to carry his name before the Gentiles.

So Ananias complies, healing Saul and filling him with the Holy Spirit.  Saul was baptized and regained his strength.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 4: Acts 9:1-19a

9) Saul was persecuting the Lord’s disciples and all others who belonged to the Way. There are different types of persecution, including social persecution and emotional. You can be ostracized when you don’t conform.

10) Personal Question. My answer: It’s okay to question the Lord, but you still go and do it anyways.

11) Part personal Question. My answer: Saul was completely transformed and probably in shock since he didn’t eat or drink for 3 days, now about to become one the greatest disciples for Christ. Jesus has made all the difference in allowing me to do what I do, how I do it, and blessing me with a great life.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 4: Acts 9:1-19a

Last go-around, we read this along with Acts 22:1-16; 26:9-19

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 4: Acts 9:1-19a

The Conversion of Saul — One of the Most Important Passages in the Entire Bible

We last saw Saul in Acts 8:3, where it says that he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Here he continued and expanded this work to the city of Damascus (about 130 miles or 210 kilometers northeast of Jerusalem; a six-day journey altogether).

Saul hated the disciples of the Lord. He wasn’t seeking Jesus when Jesus sought him. We might say that Saul was decided against Jesus when Jesus decided for Saul.

Saul did his persecuting work under the direct approval of the highest religious authorities. He asked and received letters from the high priest authorizing his mission.

The high priest was Caiaphas. In December 1990 an ossuary (something like a burial urn; essentially a bone box) was discovered in Jerusalem. The ossuary was inscribed with the name of this Caiaphas and positively dated to this period. Inside were discovered some of the remains of a 60-year-old man, whom many researchers believe was this same Caiaphas. If true, these are the first physical remains (such as bones or ashes) of a specific person mentioned in the New Testament.

The Way

Here, Christianity is referred to as the Way. This seems to be the earliest name for the Christian movement, and a fitting one – used five times in Acts.

  • The name the Way means that Christianity is more than a belief or a set of opinions or doctrines. Following Jesus is a way of living as well as believing.
  • It is significant to see that there was a Christian community large enough in Damascus for Saul to be concerned about. Christianity – the Way – was spreading everywhere.
  • map of road to damascus paul

God on the Road to Damascus

God does not normally confront sinners with a heavenly light and an audible voice from heaven. Yet Paul said that this light was brighter than the sun (Acts 26:13).

Saul, Saul: When God repeats a name twice, it is to display deep emotion, but not necessarily anger (as in the Martha, Martha of Luke 10:41 and the Jerusalem, Jerusalem of Matthew 23:37).

As the heavenly light overwhelmed him, Saul was confronted by the true nature of his crime: He persecuted God, not man.

  • Saul thought that he was serving God in viciously attacking Christians, but he discovered that he was fighting God.
  • This has been sadly true through history. Often those who are convinced they are doing God a favor do much of the worst persecution and torture ever practiced.

In all probability, Saul heard Jesus teach in Jerusalem; and as a likely member of the Sanhedrin, Saul sat in judgment of Jesus in the trial before His crucifixion.

“Unless Saul was hallucinating, the appearance of Jesus proved that Jesus was alive and that Jesus was God.” (Boice)

Two Most Important Questions to Ask God

  1. Who are You, Lord? We must ask this question with a humble heart, and ask it to God. Jesus showed us exactly who God is, and He can answer this question. Paul spent the rest of his life wanting to know more completely the answer to this question (Philippians 3:10).
  2. What do You want me to do? Few dare to really ask God this question, but when we ask it, we must ask it with submission and determined obedience.

In Acts 9, we are only given the briefest account of what happened during this time. Paul says more about this experience in Acts 22:3-11Acts 26:12-181 Corinthians 9:1 and 15:8. Barnabas said more about Saul’s experience in Acts 9:27 and from what Ananias said about Saul’s experience in Acts 9:17.

Jesus only told Saul what to do right at that moment.

  • God often directs us one step at a time instead of laying out the details of the grand plan all at once.
  • So many of us want to plan out our entire lives. but that is not how God operates.

In the three days of blindness and deprivation, Saul was dying to himself. It would only be after the three days of dying that he would receive resurrection life from Jesus.

unknown road we all must travel atozmomm.com

Ananias and God

Ananias was an ordinary man – not an apostle, a prophet, a pastor, an evangelist, an elder, or a deacon. Yet God used him because he was an ordinary man.

God spoke to Ananias in a completely different way than He spoke to Saul. Saul had a bold, almost violent confrontation from God, but Ananias heard the voice of God sweetly in a vision, where God called and Ananias obediently responded. God speaks to us differently too, just as we need to hear Him.

God considered Saul His chosen vessel long before there appeared anything worthy in Saul to choose. God knew what He could make of Saul, even when Saul or Ananias didn’t know.

So often we underestimate ourselves when God doesn’t.

Acts 8:36

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 3: Acts 8:9-40

Summary of Acts 8:9-40:

A man named Simon had been practicing sorcery and amazing the people in Samaria.  He was boastful and loved the people’s attention.  They thought him divine.  But then Philip shows up, preaching the Good News, and performing real miracles.  So Simon follows Philip everywhere, trying to learn his secrets (not truly believing in miracles himself).

The apostles Peter and John traveled to Samaria to pray for the people to receive the Holy Spirit.  Simon, seeing this, offered to pay for the ability to give people the Holy Spirit as well.  Peter tells him to keep his money for his heart is wicked, to repent and pray for forgiveness.  Peter and John return to Jerusalem, stopping in many Samaritan towns along the way.

An angel tells Philip to follow the road to Gaza.  Along the way, he meets an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official to the Queen of Ethiopia.  He is reading the book of Isaiah.  Philip asks him if he understands and the eunuch said, “How can I unless someone explains it to me?”

He was reading Isaiah 53 where Isaiah is speaking about Jesus so Philip explained this to him.  Philip baptized the eunuch and the Spirit of the Lord whisked Philip away to Azotus where he continued preaching until he reached Caesarea.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 3: Acts 8:9-40

6) A man named Simon had been practicing sorcery and amazing the people in Samaria.  He was boastful and loved the people’s attention.  They thought him divine.  But then Philip shows up, preaching the Good News, and performing real miracles.  So Simon follows Philip everywhere, trying to learn his secrets (not truly believing in miracles himself). He followed Philip everywhere and even was baptized in Jesus’ name. Simon then saw how Peter and John were laying hands on people and giving them the Holy Spirit. Simon was impressed, so he asked them to give him this ability as well. He offered to pay for it. This is the indication that he never believed; he was only following Jesus for what Jesus could give to him and not vice versa.

Thus, I think Simon merely professed, looking still for attention. He is full of greed, manipulation, and self-aggrandizement.

7) Persoanl Question. My answer: God knows everyone’s heart. Peter calls out Simon and his hypocrisy and Simon then is worried about what will happen to him. we need more people to call out hypocrisy when they see it. One cannot deceive the Holy Spirit.  He knows your heart and your true motives.  Only those who are worthy will have the Holy Spirit within.  Those who are evil will not.  Simon was not struck down for his manipulation like Ananias and Sappira were but he was denied God’s gift.

8a) Jesus was all of those things that Isaiah describes:  pierced for our transgressions, despised and rejected by men, and crushed for our iniquities.  We, the sheep, had turned our own way so God laid on Jesus all of our sins.

b) Personal Question. My answer: My desire is what it always is: to live out God’s truth every day of my life the best I can to my abilities.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 3: Acts 8:9-40

Last go around, we had to read all of Isaiah 53 along with this passage. In the study of Isaiah, one whole week was spent on Isaiah 53, which should tell you something of its importance. You can see Isaiah’s lessons here: Click herehere, and here.

2011’s Study of Acts is here for this passage HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 3: Acts 8:9-40

Simon the Sorcerer

In the Bible sorcery is associated with occult, magical practices – and often with the taking of mind and mood altering drugs. Whatever real power Simon had, it was from Satan, not God.

i. The specific wording indicates that Simon was a magi. In the ancient world there was a class of astronomers and scientists known as magi (Matthew 2:1), but local wizards and sorcerers also took the title. They used it to prey on the ignorance and superstitions of the common people.

Up until Acts 8:13, there is nothing to indicate that Simon’s belief was false or insincere. Yet it will be tested by his conduct and response over time.

Often, the empowering and filling of the Holy Spirit is received as hands are laid on a person and prayer is offered for them (Acts 9:171 Timothy 4:142 Timothy 1:6). We should always be ready to receive whatever special graces and gifts God has to give us through the laying on of hands.

Simon the Sorcerer

Different Explanations for Why the Samaritans Had a Delay in the Holy Spirit

  • Some scholars say they were never truly born again (converted) under Philip’s preaching. When Peter and John came, they really trusted in Jesus and then received the Holy Spirit.
  • Some scholars say they were truly born again. Then, in a subsequent experience, they received the Holy Spirit in a pattern that believers should follow today.
  • Some scholars say they were converted in response to Philip’s preaching; yet God, in a unique move, withheld the gift of the Holy Spirit until Peter and John could bestow it on them. God’s purpose in this was to ensure continuity between the church in Jerusalem and the new church in Samaria, guarding against division.
  • Some scholars say they were really born again and did really receive the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion, but were given special gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit at the laying on of hands by Peter and John.
  • The best option seems to best explain what happened. Whatever the Samaritans experienced, it seems to have been more than the “regular” bestowal of the Holy Spirit at salvation. This is a filling of the Holy Spirit we should always desire and seek.

Fun Fact: Simony is the word for the sin of buying or selling church offices or privileges, because it is done in the same spirit as this Simon. This sin is sometimes practiced today; but more commonly people simply think that blessing follows money instead of money following blessing.

Simon’s Rebuke by Peter

Boice observed: “When Peter says, ‘You have no part or share in this ministry,’ it is interesting that he employs the same words Jesus used for him when Peter had objected to Jesus’ washing his feet in the Upper Room. Jesus said, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me’ (John 13:8). Strong words. Still Peter was not an unbeliever; he was just out of the will of God.” (Boice)

Without doubt, Simon was headed in the wrong direction, so he needed this rebuke. We don’t know what happened to Simon, as he disappears from Scripture. We won’t know until we get to heaven if Simon ever did believe or not.

 

map of christianity

Phillip and the Ethiopian

Ethiopia in ancient times was much larger than modern-day Ethiopia. It was the land where the Queen of Sheba came from, who saw the glory of Solomon’s kingdom and professed faith in the God of Israel. It’s possible that pieces of the Jewish faith were passed on through the centuries to men like this servant of the queen. Candace was the title for certain female royalty in Ethiopia.

We can’t say if the Ethiopian found God in his visit to Jerusalem, but he certainly found the Word of God – and reading the Word of God would lead him to God.

The Ethiopian was a rich man, a man of power, and at least in some way a celebrity. Yet Philip knew he needed Jesus just a much as anyone else. We should never fear speaking to those who are considered to be important people about Jesus.

We often shrink back from speaking boldly about Jesus, and the world lets us know we shouldn’t talk about such things. But the world does not hesitate to impose its own message on us. We should be just as bold to the world about Jesus as the world is bold to us about sin.

It was common in the ancient world to read aloud. Philip knew what the Ethiopian was reading by listening as he read.

God Grants Open Doors

Philip knew at that moment that God had given him an open door, a prepared heart. Plainly, God had arranged this meeting between Philip and the Ethiopian; this is a wonderful example of how God opens doors for evangelism. God directed Philip because God had already arranged an open door.

  • One of our greatest jobs in preaching the gospel is to simply pray for open doors. Then, having prayed for open doors, we must keep alert to the opportunities God presents.

Sometimes we all need guidance to understand the Bible.

road from jeruslaem to gaza acts 8

Isaiah 53

  • Some thought the suffering servant was the nation of Israel itself, as Israel had suffered greatly in wars, exile, and persecution.
  • Some thought the suffering servant was Isaiah writing about himself.
  • Some thought the suffering servant was the Messiah, but they found this hard to accept, because they didn’t want to think of the Messiah suffering.

We really can begin at any Bible passage and find where it leads to Jesus.

Too many preachers today focus on what we must do for God, but the gospel begins with and is founded upon what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

This shows that Philip started preaching not only to Samaritan cities, but also the Gentile cities – such as Caesarea. This is the very beginning of the gospel’s spread to the end of the earth – as Jesus commanded in Acts 1:8.

Fun Fact: Philip is the only one in the New Testament specifically given the title, “The Evangelist” (Acts 21:8). Acts 21:8  as we end this passage with him in Caesarea, doing his work of evangelism.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 5: Ruth 4

Image result for ruth 4

Summary of Ruth 4:

Boaz goes to the town gate and waits for the other kinsman-redeemer to come along. When he does, Boaz gathers 10 of the town elders and asks this guy if he is going to redeem Naomi’s property. If not, then he will. The man says he will redeem it until Boaz says he will have to marry Naomi.  The other kinsman-redeemer removed his sandal (to redeem and finalize the transfer of property) and handed it to Boaz.

Boaz announced in front of the witnesses that he had bought from Naomi all of Elimelech’s property and the right to have Ruth as his wife so Elimelech’s name will not disappear from the town records or the property. The elders witnessed the transaction and blessed Boaz.

Boaz and Ruth married and had a son named Obed who was the father of Jesse who was the father of David.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 5: Ruth 4:

12)  The definition of redeem is:  “to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something).” The biblical definition is to describe God’s merciful and costly action on behalf of his people (sinful human beings). The basic concept is release or freedom on payment of a price, delivered by a costly method.

  1.  Redemption is a necessary act.  The only way the story of Ruth ends well is through redemption.  And because we are by nature children of wrath, the only way our story ends well is through redemption in Jesus Christ.
  2. Redemption is a solo act.  There can only be one redeemer.  For Ruth and Naomi, this is Boaz.  There is only one true redeemer, one name by which we can be saved: Jesus.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and No one comes to Father but by Him (John 14:6).
  3. Redemption is a sovereign act.  Ruth says, “Boaz, redeem me” and then Boaz does all the work to make this happen.  Ruth could not redeem herself and neither can we!  “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  4. Redemption is a legal act.  There was a debt that had to be paid…a legal transaction!  Our sin demanded a payment (for the wages of sin is death) and the cross is the legal receipt that we have been purchased and are forever His!Image result for redemption god
  5. Redemption is a loving act.  What made Boaz willing to go the distance?  Not law, but love!  The cross is not only a legal act, but also a loving act.  For Christ so loved the Church that He gave Himself up for her.
  6. Redemption is an undeserving act.  Ruth is a Moabite; she doesn’t deserve the act of redemption.  We don’t deserve it either.  But the Bible says that “while we were yet sinners” Christ died for us.
  7. Redemption is a public act.  Boaz redeemed Ruth publicly in front of many witnesses; and Jesus died on the cross for all to see.
  8. Redemption is a costly act.  Redemption cost Boaz everything, which he gladly gave.  Our redemption required the “precious blood of Christ.”
  9. Redemption is a final act.  The exchange of the sandal proved it was a done deal, never to be reversed.  Jesus died for our sins “once and for all.”  It is finished!
  10. Redemption is a hopeful act.  It was this redeeming act that secured a future Ruth and Naomi.  The Bible tells us we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Your past may be dark, but your future is bright because of the redeeming work of Jesus.

13)  God promises David to make his name great, establish a house/throne for him, and one of his relatives (Jesus) will establish God’s house/kingdom forever. Jesus is the descendant of David. It shows how a Gentile (Ruth) became part of the Davidic ancestry as God planned it.

14) Personal Question. My answer: God is always faithful. He redeems. He rewards faith. He is there. He has a plan. Personally, I’m on the upswing of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and redemption. We’ve gone through some tough times, but through it all He’s been there and our future couldn’t be brighter. I’m in just such a state of gratefulness now for my life.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 5: Ruth 4:

I like how methodical, meticulous, and by the book Boaz is. He wants to make sure everything is done right. I love the happy ending here, and how good God is. I love the perfect example this is of life: tragedies coupled with triumphs. One of the best stories ever!

Read my original posting on Ruth HERE

Amazing video on the entire book of Ruth HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 5: Ruth 4:

The gate of the city was always the place where the esteemed and honorable men of the city sat. For an ancient city in Israel it was a combination of a city council chamber and a courtroom.

Bible scholar Huey says the gate was, “A kind of outdoor court, the place were judicial matters were resolved by the elders and those who had earned the confidence and respect of the people… a place for business and as a kind of forum or public meeting place.”

Although it worked out that Boaz and Ruth could be married, the nearer kinsman-redeemer should have married Ruth and fulfilled his obligations as such. Instead, he is now treated with contempt.

Literally, in the ancient Hebrew, when Boaz greeted the nearer kinsman he called him “Mr. So-and-so.” The writer of Ruth never identified the name of the nearer kinsman because he was not worthy of the honor. He declined to fulfill his obligations as the nearer kinsman to Ruth.

Bible scholar Poole explains, “Doubtless Boaz both knew his name, and called him by it; but it is omitted by the holy writer, partly because it was unnecessary to know it; and principally in way of contempt, as is usual, and a just punishment upon him, that he who would not preserve his brother’s name might lose his own, and lie buried in the grave of perpetual oblivion.”

What was the duty of the kinsman-redeemer?

The duty of the goel – the kinsman-redeemer – was more than the duty to preserve the family name of his brother in Israel. It was also to keep land allotted to members of the clan within the clan.

As we’ve just studied, when Israel came into the Promised Land during the days of Joshua, the land was divided among the tribes and then among the family groups. God intended that the land stay within those tribes and family groups, so the land could never permanently be sold. Every fifty years, it had be returned to the original family group (Leviticus 25:8-17)

But fifty years is a long time. So, God made provision for land that was “sold,” that it might be redeemed back to the family by the kinsman-redeemer.

Again, the kinsman-redeemer had the responsibility to protect the personsproperty, and posterity of the larger family.

Boaz’s strategy to win Ruth:

When Boaz brought the matter up to the nearer kinsman, he brought it up as a matter regarding property – something any man would be interested in. When Boaz put it in terms of purely a land transaction, there was no hesitation on the nearer kinsman’s part. Of course, he said, “I will redeem it.”

Boaz then surprised the nearer kinsman by telling him he’d have to marry Ruth as well if he wanted the property. Because Naomi was older and beyond the years of bearing children, the nearer kinsman was not expected to marry Naomi and raise up children to the family name of her deceased husband Elimelech.

Upon hearing of Ruth, the kinsman changed his mind. Probably the man had grown sons that had already received their inheritance of lands. The problem of dividing that inheritance among future children he would have with Ruth was more than he wanted to deal with.

Also, no doubt the man was married – and knew it would be awkward (at best!) to bring home Ruth as wife number two.

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 describes the ceremony conducted when a kinsman declined his responsibility. The one declining removed a sandal and the woman he declined to honor spat in his face. But in this case, because there was no lack of honor was involved, they just did the part of the ceremony involving the sandal.

The Blessings of Faith

Back in chapter one, Ruth seemed to be giving up on her best chance of marriage by leaving her native land of Moab and giving her heart and life to the God of Israel. But as Ruth put God first, He brought her together in a relationship greater than she could have imagined. Today, God will bless those wanting to get married in the same way if they will only put Him first.

This explains why a marriage ceremony is important, and why it should be recognized by the civil authorities. Boaz had a love for Ruth that was public, a love that wanted to be publicly witnessed and registered.

Today, people wonder why a marriage ceremony, or a marriage license is important. “Can’t we just be married before God?” But there is something severely lacking in a love that doesn’t want to proclaim itself; that does not want witnesses; and that does not want the bond to be recognized by the civil authorities. That love falls short of true marital love.

No doubt, the crowd cheered! The men thought Ruth was beautiful and the women thought Boaz was handsome. Image result for ruth 4Everybody could see what a romantic, loving occasion this was.

Rachel and Leah had thirteen children between them and were the “mothers” of the whole nation of Israel. This was a big blessing to put on Boaz and Ruth.

The story of the birth of Perez is in Genesis 38:27-30. It seems that Perez was the ancestor of the Bethlehemites in general (1 Ch. 2:51850f.). Moreover, Perez gave his name to the section of the tribe of Judah that was descended from him (Num. 26:20).

The gift of children was never taken for granted in Israel. The fact that Boaz and Ruth were able to raise up a son to the deceased Elimelech was evidence of God’s blessing

What we learn from Naomi?

  • She got right with God–and was blessed because of it
  • God’s plan is perfect and filled with love, and even when we can’t figure out what He is doing and it all seems so desperate, He still knows what He is doing. We should learn that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose(Romans 8:28).

After saying in Ruth 1: the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me… the LORD has brought me home again empty… the LORD has testified against me (Ruth 1:20-21), she experienced God’s blessings beyond imagining.

Themes of Ruth 4:

“God’s hand is all over history. God works out His purpose, generation after generation. Limited as we are to one lifetime, each of us sees so little of what happens. A genealogy is a striking way of bringing before us the continuity of God’s purpose through the ages. The process of history is not haphazard. There is a purpose in it all. And the purpose is the purpose of God.” (Kidner)

Fun Biblical fact: Naomi’s return to Bethlehem, and the roots of David in Bethlehem, going back to Ruth and Boaz, are why Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem to register in the census of Augustus (Luke 2:1-5). Ruth and Boaz are the reason why Jesus was born in Bethlehem!

How Boaz represents Jesus:

  • The kinsman-redeemer had to be a family member; Jesus added humanity to His eternal deity, so He could be our kinsman and save us.
  • The kinsman-redeemer had the duty of buying family members out of slavery; Jesus redeemed us from slavery to sin and death.
  • The kinsman-redeemer had the duty of buying back land that had been forfeited; Jesus will redeem the earth that mankind “sold” over to Satan.
  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, was not motivated by self-interest, but motivated by love for Ruth. Jesus’ motivation for redeeming us is His great love for us.
  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, had to have a plan to redeem Ruth unto himself – and some might have thought the plan to be foolish. Jesus has a plan to redeem us, and some might think the plan foolish (saving men by dying for them on a cruel cross?), yet the plan works and is glorious.
  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, took her as his bride; the people Jesus has redeemed are collectively called His bride (Ephesians 5:31-32Revelation 21:9).
  • Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer to Ruth, provided a glorious destiny for Ruth. Jesus, as our redeemer, provides a glorious destiny for us.

But it all comes back to the idea of Jesus as our kinsman-redeemer; this is why He became a man. God might have sent an angel to save us, but the angel would not have been our kinsman. Jesus, in His eternal glory, without the addition of humanity to His divine nature might have saved us, but He would not have been our kinsman. A great prophet or priest would be our kinsman, but his own sin would have disqualified him as our redeemer. Only Jesus, the eternal God who added humanity to His eternal deity, can be both the kinsman and the redeemer for mankind!

Image result for redemption godIsaiah 54:4-8 describes the beautiful ministry of the LORD as our goel – our kinsman-redeemer: Do not fear, for you will not be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame… your [Kinsman] Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel… For the LORD has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit… with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you, says the LORD, your [Kinsman] Redeemer.

From eternity, God planned to bring Ruth and Boaz together, and thus make Bethlehem His entrance point for the coming of Jesus as our true Kinsman-Redeemer, fully God and fully man. Spiritually, we need to come to Bethlehem and let Jesus redeem us. The Christmas hymn, O Little Town of Bethlehem, underscores this point.

Fun Fact: The narrator of the book of Ruth never once mentions God; yet, God’s fingerprints are everywhere in this story. He’s everywhere in ours as well.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 4: Ruth 3

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Summary of Passage:

Naomi is now playing match-maker with Boaz. She tells Ruth to go to the winnowing party and look her best. Then, once Boaz is finished eating, Ruth is to uncover his feet and lie down. Ruth complied, and Boaz wakes up, realizing Ruth is lying at his feet. Ruth’s reputation as a noble woman has spread, and Boaz agrees to marry her if the other, closer kinsman-redeemer refuses.

Ruth leaves early, not wanting it to be known that she came to Boaz. Boaz gives her grain to take back to Naomi and heads off to see if he can marry Ruth or not.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 4: Ruth 3:

9) Naomi feels like it’s her obligation to try and find Ruth a husband to care for her because she knows she will die at some point. She picks this plan because she knows Boaz is a kinsman-redeemer, she knows Boaz knows who Ruth is. Naomi probably knows Boaz likes Ruth as well. The pros is what happened: Boaz realizes Ruth wants to marry him, and he goes off to see what can be done about it. The cons are what didn’t happen: Boaz refuses Ruth or someone finds out a woman came to the threshing floor or Boaz mistreats her in some way.

10) Spreading of the wings is a sign of protection and refuge in ancient Israel. Ruth is asking for Boaz’s protection by marrying her. It’s similar to God’s protection.

11) Boaz always treated Ruth with respect and admiration as does Jesus. Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer as Jesus is ours. Ruth and Boaz dipped their bread together in wine vinegar. The meal should remind us of our communion with Christ where the bread is symbolic of Christ’s flesh and the wine symbolic of His blood which is poured out for us (see Luke 22).  It is also significant that the narrative unfolds in the town of Bethlehem, the city where Christ was to be born many hundreds of years later.

Bethlehem means “house of bread.” Jesus declares Himself to be “the bread of life” (John 6:48).  Boaz loves Ruth; Christ loves us. Ruth as a Moabite is undeserving of Boaz; we are undeserving of Christ.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 4: Ruth 3:

I love how it’s Naomi who prompts Ruth. She cares for Ruth and wants to take care of her. I love Boaz. He does everything right. He wants everything to be legal. He loves Ruth. Great example of how one must keep striving to overcome adversity with faith and God will reward us.

Read my original posting on Ruth HERE

Amazing video on the entire book of Ruth HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 4: Ruth 3:

It is now the end of the harvest and Ruth and Boaz have spent time together in the context of a group – the men and women who worked for Boaz in the harvest. There is no “dating” as we know it. They got to know each other pretty well – by seeing what kind of people the other was around a larger group.

What was the kinsman-redeemer?

The goel – sometimes translated kinsman-redeemer – had a specifically defined role in Israel’s family life.

  • The kinsman-redeemer was responsible to buy a fellow Israelite out of slavery (Leviticus 25:48).
  • The kinsman-redeemer  was responsible to be the “avenger of blood” to make sure the murderer of a family member answered to the crime (Numbers 35:19).
  • The kinsman-redeemer was responsible to buy back family land that had been forfeited (Leviticus 25:25).
  • The kinsman-redeemer was responsible to carry on the family name by marrying a childless widow (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

In sum, the goel, the kinsman-redeemer, was responsible to safeguard the persons, the property, and the posterity of the family. “Words from the root g’l are used with a variety of meanings in the Old Testament, but the fundamental idea is that of fulfilling one’s obligations as a kinsman.” (Morris)

Since Boaz was a recognized goel for the family of Elimelech – the deceased husband of Naomi and father-in-law of Ruth – Ruth could appeal to him to safeguard the posterity of Elimelech’s family and take her in marriage. It may seem forward to us, but it was regarded as proper in that day.

If Boaz did not fulfill this duty towards Elimelech (though he was now deceased), then the direct family and name of Elimelech would perish. Perpetuating the family name of Elimelech (and every man in Israel) was thought to be an important duty. These protections showed how important it was to God to preserve the institution of the family in Israel – and that it is also important to Him today.

What does Ruth lying at Boaz’s feet show?

Image result for ruth 3Ruth’s actions were one of submitting. In that day, this was understood to be the role of a servant laying at a person’s feet was the role of a servant. It showed he or she was ready for any command of the master. So, when Naomi told Ruth to lie down at Boaz’s feet, she told her to come to him in a totally humble, submissive way.

Don’t lose sight of the larger picture: Ruth came to claim a right. Boaz was her goel, her kinsman-redeemer, and she had the right to expect him to marry her and raise up a family to perpetuate the name of Elimelech. But Naomi wisely counseled Ruth to not come as a victim demanding her rights, but as a humble servant, trusting in the goodness of her kinsman-redeemer. She said to Boaz, “I respect you, I trust you, and I put my fate in your hands.”

Of course, this was a situation that had the potential for disaster if Boaz should mistreat Ruth in some way. But Naomi and Ruth had the chance to get to know Boaz, and they knew what kind of man he was – a good man, a godly man, one to whom Ruth could confidently submit.

What do we learn about marriage?

  • In the marriage relationship, many husbands wish they had a wife who submitted to them the way Ruth is being told to here. But do they provide the kind of godly leadership, care, and concern that Boaz showed towards Ruth and others?
  • In the marriage relationship, many wives wish they had a husband who loved, cared, and treated them the way Boaz did towards Ruth. But do they show the same kind of humble submission and respect Ruth showed to Boaz?

Why was Boaz sleeping on the threshing floor?

Boaz slept at the threshing floor to guard his crop against the kind of attacks described in 1 Samuel 23:1. In the days of the Judges where a lot of Israelites had turned their back on God, many turned to thievery and stole grain from farmers. Much political and social unrest was occurring as well.

He was startled waking up to Ruth, thinking it may be a robber. Again, she submitted, identifying herself as his servant.

“The spreading of a skirt over a widow as a way of claiming her as a wife is attested among Arabs of early days, and Jouon says it still exists among some modern Arabs.” (Morris)

“Even to the present day, when a Jew marries a woman, he throws the skirt or end of his talith over her, to signify that he has taken her under his protection.” (Clarke)

In Ezekiel 16:8, God uses the same terminology in relation to Israel: I spread my wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you and you became Mine, says the LORD God.

Was Ruth’s actions inappropriate?

This was not an inappropriate thing for Ruth to do towards Boaz. It was bold, but not inappropriate. Ruth understood this as she identified Boaz as her close relative (literally, you are a goel, a kinsman-redeemer).

Though deceased, Elimelech had the right to have his family name carried on and as goel, Boaz had the responsibility to do this for Elimelech. This could only happen through Boaz marrying Ruth and providing children to carry on the name of Elimelech. Ruth boldly, yet humbly and properly, sought her rights.Image result for ruth 3

Apparently, there was a considerable age difference between Ruth and Boaz. It also seems that because of this, Boaz considered himself unattractive to Ruth and had therefore ruled out any idea of a romance between them.

Boaz had the right to force himself upon Ruth as her goel, but he did not.

Ruth based her attraction to Boaz more on respect than on image or appearance.

Literally, Boaz called Ruth a hah-yil woman. The basic meaning behind this Hebrew word is “strength; moral strength, good quality, integrity, virtue.” This same word is used for heroes in the Bible: A mighty man of valor. Ruth showed courage and strength, shown in her virtue – make her a hero, on the Proverbs 31 kind of definition of a woman of virtue.

Boaz and Ruth were not trying to hide anything scandalous; it was just that Boaz didn’t want this nearer kinsman to learn that Ruth was now demanding her right to marriage to a goel before Boaz could tell him personally.

Fun Bible Fact: Jewish traditions say that the six measures of barley given as a gift to Ruth were a sign of six pious men who would descend from her, endowed with six spiritual gifts: David, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and the Messiah.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 3: Ruth 2

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Summary of Ruth 2:

Now in Bethlehem, both Naomi and Ruth face reality: they need to eat. Ruth goes to glean grain in the fields and happens to find herself in Boaz’s fields, a relative of Naomi’s. Boaz returns from having been away (apparently unaware of Naomi’s return to Bethlehem) and notices Ruth. The foreman says she has been gathering behind them all day.

Boaz welcomes Ruth and tells her to stay in his fields. He will make sure she is treated rightly and offers her water as well. He says he is helping her because of how she is helping Naomi. She later eats a meal with Boaz as well. Boaz instructs his men to leave extra grain behind for her.

Image result for ruth 2Ruth finishes for the day, returns to Naomi with money and food, and tells of her day. Naomi realizes Boaz is a kinsman-redeemer. Ruth continues to pick up grain for the rest of the harvest season in Boaz’s fields.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 3: Ruth 2:

6) Boaz was of the same clan as Naomi’s husband, Elimelech. He is a relative by marriage of Naomi. He displays generosity, compassion, caring, rewarding for hard work, and a heart for others by helping them. Boaz’s mother was Rahab, a foreigner from Jericho. He probably intimately understood the hardships of being a foreigner in a foreign land, especially in ancient times and had pity for Ruth. Furthermore, God commanded others to help the poor by leaving some of the grain in the field for the poor to gather (Leviticus 19:9-10 & Deuteronomy 24:19-22).

7) Land is to stay in the family according to Leviticus and redeem it if necessary to keep it in the family if sold. Deuteronomy tells us a brother must marry his brother’s widow if he dies if they don’t have a son to carry on the name and the land.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: It makes me more compassionate for those going through rough times and inspires me to help those more who are going through rough times as well all experience. When you’re blessed, bless others.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 3: Ruth 2:

I love how neither woman wallows in self-pity nor do they play the victim. They immediately set out to work to eat. Thanks to the generosity of the land-owners, they are able to take care of themselves. It’s not easy, but they are doing it. I also like how hard work is noticed.

Read my original posting on Ruth HERE

Amazing video on the entire book of Ruth HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 3: Ruth 2:

God had rewarded Boaz during the 10 years of famine, as he was a man of wealth.

To say that Boaz was a goel (the ancient Hebrew word meaning a kinsman) was more than saying he was a relative; it was saying that he was a special family representative. He was a chieftain in the family.

How does God provide?

We see God’s amazing provision at work here in Ruth 2.

Leviticus 19:9-10 commanded farmers in Israel to not completely harvest their fields. They were commanded to “cut corners” in harvesting and always leave some behind. If they dropped a bundle of grain, they were commanded to leave it on the ground and to not pick it up.

This was one of the social assistance programs in Israel. Farmers were not to completely harvest their fields, so the poor and needy could come and glean the remains for themselvesImage result for ruth 2

This is a wonderful way of helping the poor. It commanded the farmers to have a generous heart, and it commanded the poor to be active and work for their food – and a way for them to provide for their own needs with dignity.

God guided Ruth to Boaz’s field.

Boaz’s workers loved him, and he had a good relationship with them. You can often tell the real character of a man in authority by seeing how he relates to his staff and by how they think of him.

How does Ruth distinguish herself?

  • She asked for permission to glean and she worked hard. She got noticed. She was being watched as we all are in our behaviors.

Gleaning was humiliating and sometimes dangerous work.

Boaz’s servant girls were the female field workers who tied together the cut stalks of grain. They would take good care of Ruth.

Boaz is exceedingly king to Ruth. Dipping the bread with Boaz showed favor towards her. Ruth ate and was satisfied. We eat and are satisfied in Jesus.

Gleaning among the sheaves was more generous than the command in Leviticus 19:9-10. Pulling out stalks for her was also generous and  beautiful. Boaz wanted to bless Ruth, but he didn’t want to dishonor her dignity by making her a charity case. So, he allowed some grain to fall, supposedly on accident, so that she could pick it up.

What do we learn from Ruth’s hard work?

  • This is how we glean God’s Word: work hard, stoop to gather every grain one at a time and don’t drop it. The take it home, thresh it, winnow it, and use it to nourish you.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 2: Ruth 1

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Summary of Passage:

A famine forced the family of Elimelech, an Ephrathite from Bethlehem, to settle in Moab, a neighboring, unbelieving country. Elimelech died, leaving his wife, Naomi, a widow with their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. Mahlon and Kilion marry, but ten years later, both Mahlon and Kilion die, leaving all without someone to support the family.Image result for ruth 1

The famine had ended so Naomi sets out with her two daughters-in-law named Orpah and Ruth back to Judah. Naomi tells her daughters-in-law, both of whom are Moabites, to return to their families and remarry, so they can be cared for.

Both protest, but Orpah goes. Ruth, however, refuses to leave Naomi’s side. Ruth loved Naomi too much to leave, so they returned to Bethlehem with Naomi being very bitter over her situation. Luckily for them, the barley harvest was just beginning.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 6, Day 2: Ruth 1:

3)  Elimelech died, leaving his wife and two sons alone. Her two sons married eventually, but then they died as well. Everyone died except Ruth and the daughters-in-law.

4) Ruth gave up a chance to remarry a Moabite and have children and restart her life. Ruth gave up her land and her gods and all that she knew. I’m not sure Ruth thought about her gains. Moab and Israel were bitter enemies, so Ruth is taking a big risk immigrating to a land where the people may treat her as a despised foreigner. All she knew was she wanted to be with Naomi no matter what and she wanted to be God’s child. She gained a life in God.

5) Personal Question. My answer: It’s easy to get pulled down in the muck of misfortune. Anger, depression, sorrow, grief, heartache, and an overwhelming sadness are human emotions we all face and all must deal with. These emotions do pull us down and affect everything we do including family and decisions. I’ve been very fortunate as I haven’t been through misfortune like others (I’ve had my difficulties but not compared to basic survival needs like how I’ll eat, slavery, torture, back-breaking hard work, etc. like others in this world). My view of God has stayed the same. I question Him and ask Him why, but I don’t doubt Him and turn away from Him. I know it’s all for a reason and if I stay the course (His course), He will never lead me astray.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 2: Ruth 1:

Such a powerful story of love and pushing through the heartache to still see God in the clearing. Death caused by man’s sin is never easy to abide, but it’s a fact of life and fighting it only creates more misery. I love how Naomi and Ruth stick together in their heartache. Both are grieving severely, but man, created to be together and not apart, is stronger together and both women are stronger as one unit than separately. God is good to give us this story and encourage us when we face the same situation in our lives. Through it all God is there. And He has a plan. Believe in Him.

Read my original posting on Ruth HERE

Amazing video on the entire book of Ruth HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 6, Day 2: Ruth 1:

This account begins in the closing days of the Judges, a 400-year period of general anarchy and oppression when the Israelites were not ruled by kings, but by periodic deliverers whom God raised up when the nation sought Him again.

Notable among the Judges were Gideon, Samson, and Deborah. Each of these was raised up by God, not to rule as kings, but to lead Israel during a specific challenge, and then to go back to obscurity.

The days when the Judges ruled were actually dark days for Israel; the period was characterized by the phrase everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:618:119:1, and 21:25).

Elimelech and his family had to hike through the desolate Jericho pass, through the Judean wilderness near the Dead Sea, going across the Jordan River, into the land of Moab. This was a definite departure from the Promised Land of Israel, and a return towards the wilderness from which God had delivered Israel hundreds of years before. These were clearly steps in the wrong direction.

God specifically promised there would always be plenty in the land if Israel was obedient. Therefore, a famine in the land meant that Israel, as a nation, was not obedient unto the LORD (Deuteronomy 11:13-17).

Elimelech has intentions to return to Bethlehem, but it turned into ten, tragedy-filled years – and Elimelech never returned to Israel. The name Elimelech means “God is king” – but he didn’t really live as if God was his king.

Life was not easier in Moab.  Elimelech soon died, leaving his wife Naomi a widow with two boys, Mahlon and Chilion, to care for.

Was Elimelech’s death God’s judgment?

It is hard to say that this was the direct hand of God’s judgment. Why bad things happen to good people is a hard questions to answer. What is certain, however, is that the change of scenery didn’t make things better.

We sometimes think we can run away from our problems, but find our problems follow us. That’s because you can’t escape you–fallible, imperfect sinner.

Mahlon and Chilion took wives among the Moabite women, named Orpah and Ruth. Again, this was not in obedience to God; God commanded the Israelites to not marry among the pagan nations surrounding them.

Ten years pass and both the sons die, leaving all the women widows. To be a childless widow was to be among the lowest, most disadvantaged classes in the ancient world. There was no one to support you, and you had to live on the generosity of strangers. Naomi had no family in Moab, and no one else to help her. Indeed, these were desperate times.

Why was Naomi deciding to return to Bethlehem significant?

From distant Moab, Naomi heard that God was doing good things back in Israel. She wanted to be part of the good things that God was doing.

Our life with God should make others want to come back to the LORD just by looking at our life. Our walk with the LORD should be something that makes others say, “I want some of that also!”

Naomi took action. Many hear of the good things God is doing in the lives of others, and only wish they could have some of it – instead of actually setting out to receive it. Naomi could have stayed in Moab all of her life wishing things were different, but she did something to receive what God had to give her. She took action. Where do you need to take action today?

By telling the Moabite women to go back to their families this was the best thing for the two women. Their families would care for them. She blessed them and prayed they would remarry.

Deal kindly is the ancient Hebrew word hesed. “Hesed encompasses deeds of mercy performed by a more powerful party for the benefit of the weaker one.” (Huey)

In Ruth 1:9, Naomi described marriage as a place of rest: The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband. God intends that each marriage be a place and source of rest, peace, and refreshment in life.

From the crying going on, it is obvious the women had grown to love one another.

According to the laws of ancient Israel, if a young woman was left widowed, without having had a son, then one of her deceased husband’s brothers was responsible for being a “surrogate father” and providing her with a son. Naomi here says that she has no other sons to give either Orpah or Ruth.

Naomi realizes their sin

Naomi realizes their disobedience and says their calamity is of their own making. They were disobedient,  leaving the Promised Land of Israel and marrying their sons to Moabite women.

However, Naomi is returning to God; she’s not running away. She was not bitter against God. She is drawing closer to Him, not going further away from Him.

Naomi didn’t accuse God of doing something wrong against her. She acknowledged His total control over all circumstances. It was actually an expression of trust in Him.

What does Naomi’s return to Israel teach us?

  • If we will return to Him, His hand will go out for us again! Naomi had no idea – not the slightest – of how greatly God was going to bless her in a short time.
  • Ruth’s declaration to follow God is made upon seeing Naomi’s action to return to Him. Actions do speak louder than words.

Ruth forsakes her gods for Naomi’s God.

People should be able to look at your life, just as Ruth looked at Naomi’s, and say “I want your God to be my God.” Your trust in God and turning towards Him in tough times will often be the thing that draws others to the LORD.

The Long Walk Home

Image result for ruth 1It was a long walk from Moab to Bethlehem, and the trip was mostly uphill. We can imagine along the way Ruth asking her mother-in-law Naomi all about the God of Israel and the land of Israel.

Bethlehem was just a village with probably a hundred or so people; everyone in the village would have known everyone else and remembered those who had left years ago.

The name Naomi means “pleasant”; the name Mara means “bitter.” Naomi used this to tell the people of Bethlehem that her time away from Israel, her time away from the God of Israel, had not been pleasant – it was bitter.

Naomi wasn’t ones of those who says “fine” when asked how she’s doing. She’s not going to pretend all is right in her world. She tells it like it is.

So many of us pretend life is find instead of dealing with our problems. We run away instead of draw close.

Naomi was not bitter against the LORD. She knew the answer to her problems lay in getting right with God.

Themes of Book of Ruth

  • The answer to our problems lies in turning towards God, not running away from Him.
  • It all begins with one decision: to go back to God. So many blessings come from that decision (the Lord Jesus whose relative is Naomi) that you don’t know about.
  • God blesses those who turn towards Him.