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The Scriptorium

The Father of David

Now we're beginning to see what this book is all about. Ruth 4.13-17

Redeemed for Redemption (5)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 132.11, 12
The LORD has sworn in truth to David;
He will not turn from it:
“I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body.
If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I shall teach them,
Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.”

Sing Psalm 132.11, 12
(Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
Remember, Lord, the oath You swore to David;
do not turn back, do not deny Your Word:
“One of your sons, with your throne I will favor,
and He shall keep My cov’nant evermore,
and walk within My testimonies ever,
thus He shall ever rule as Israel’s Lord.”

Read Ruth 4.13-17

Preparation
1. What did the women wish for Naomi at the birth of Obed?

2. What did they wish for the child?

Meditation

These events might seem anti-climactic in our story; however, they point us toward the real meaning and purpose of the book of Ruth, both within its immediate and contemporary setting, and in the larger scope of the redemptive plan of God.

Naomi’s bitterness was completely forgotten by the birth of the child. They named him Obed, which derives from the Hebrew word for “worship” and means “a worshiper.” Naomi’s act of taking the child into her lap creates a most effective bridge from the events of chapter 1, and the entire period of the judges, to the next generation and beyond. God has been faithful to His covenant to bless His people and provide redemption for them through their rebellion, suffering, and return to faith.

We may note some elements of inclusio here as the story of Ruth comes to its end, returning the story in some ways to its beginning, but providing a satisfying wrap-up and conclusion. The sadness of chapter 1 is replaced by joy in chapter 4. Loneliness is overcome by community. Loss by newness. Desolation by promise. Bitterness and judgment by rejoicing and blessing. In chapter 1 Naomi blessed her women; here the women of her neighborhood bless her. The Lord seemed ominous and distant in chapter 1; here He was a Presence for joy and celebration. In chapter 1 God’s people turned from the worship of God to serve themselves; here all are worshipers of the God of the covenant. The writer has brought Ruth’s story to a joyous, forward-looking conclusion.

It only remains for us to ask, Why was this book written? And when?

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The elders offered a blessing to Boaz upon the completion of the deal: “The LORD make…you prosper…and be famous in Bethlehem” (vs. 11).

A nice blessing indeed, but not exactly cosmic in nature. Very here and now.

The women, on the other hand, said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel!” (vs. 14). Their blessing was more there and then.

The women enlarged the blessing to first include God, and then to imagine that the fame of this child would spread past Bethlehem to encompass all of Israel.

And we know that the true blessing was more far-reaching than either group visualized – Jesus, the Savior of the world. Famously famous.

Jesus, like the elders and the women, offered His blessing and guidance to the disciples and us in the same outward moving way; encompassing both the here and now and there and then when He said: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1.8).

Outward bound blessings coming from the elders and women to Boaz, Ruth and Naomi, to Obed, Jesse and David, through Jesus to us.

“Showers of blessing” (Ezek.34.26).

Reflection
1. What does it mean for us to live both in the “here and now” as well as in the “there and then”?

2.  What have you learned from Ruth about the power of God’s grace?

3. God intends His blessings to go through us in outwardly expanding ways. Explain.

The women praised God for His provision for Naomi. They offered a blessing for the child, asking that his fame be extended throughout Israel and that he would comfort Naomi and nourish her in her old age. Naomi’s emptiness had been replaced with fullness through the birth of this boy. Sons were considered a great reward, so for the women to state that Ruth is better to Naomi than seven sons was considerable praise for Ruth. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible note on Ruth 4.14, 15

You have saved me for good works, Lord; help me today to…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 132.13-18
Thank God for His faithfulness, salvation, and abundant provision. Rejoice in being called as one of His priests to serve others with the salvation of Jesus Christ. Pray about opportunities to do so today.

Sing Psalm 132.13-18
(Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
God dwells among us, and He will forever,
to meet our needs and clothe us with His grace.
He has to us sent Jesus Christ, our Savior,
and made us His eternal resting-place.
His foes are banished from His Presence ever,
but we shall reign with Him before His face.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Ruth by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the Ruth series by clicking here.

Check out the changes in The Ailbe Bookstore. Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you to see where the book of Ruth fits into the whole of Scripture’s story. Order your copy by clicking here – free of charge!

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Except as indicated, all Scripture are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers are from Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel: Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV, John R. Franke, ed, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2005). All quotations from Matthew Henry are from Matthew Henry Concise Commentary, E-text version Copyright (c) 1996, 2002 Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All quotes from Earl Radmacher are from The NKJV Study Bible, copyright ©1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006) (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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