Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Part of a bigger story

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Ruth 4:1-22

TO CHEW ON: "And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David." Ruth 4:17.

The story of Boaz and Ruth ends happily. The other relative and first-in-line with a right to redeem Naomi's land (and inherit Ruth as his wife) declines. And so Boaz gets the land and the wife, and soon there is a baby on the way.

Naomi becomes a grandma whose happy lot is lauded by the "chorus"—the women of Bethlehem. They sing the praises of Ruth while Naomi cuddles little Obed (Ruth 4:14-17).

And then the author does something interesting—recites a genealogy. By doing this, I believe he is telling us this story of Naomi and Ruth, Boaz and Obed fits into a much larger one.

Some of the characters of this larger story:


Perez was the son of Judah (son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Israel's patriarch Abraham) and Tamar. Tamar was that woman first married to Judah's firstborn son, who, when he died, Judah gave her to his second son. When he died too, Judah promised her to the third son. Tamar, not trusting Judah to keep his word, dressed as a prostitute and got pregnant by Judah himself. Yikes! (Read the story in Genesis 38. Perez appears in Genesis 38:29).


Nahshon was the head of the tribe of Judah during their time of wandering in the wilderness under Moses - Numbers 1:7; 2:3.

He was the second king of Israel and the prophets predicted Messiah would come from His house and line - Jeremiah 23:5; Isaiah 9:7; 11:1; Acts 13:34.

Flipping over to the New Testament book of Matthew, we see a continuation of the genealogy begun in Ruth and how it eventually leads to—Jesus! (Matthew 1:1-16).

All our stories are also part of a larger story. Just like Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz had no idea they were living out an episode in the narrative of God's big story of redemption, neither do we know the plot line or significance of the story of our lives.

God does, though:
"And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them" - Psalm 139:16
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" - Ephesians 2:10 (emphases added).

I'm looking forward to heaven—when I'll be able to read and understand the whole book, including my little chapter of it! You too?

Dear Father, how exciting to zoom in on these little episodes of Your story and see You working in the details of the lives of ordinary people. May I be a sympathetic character in Your story on earth. Amen. 

MORE: I came across a short video about the book of Ruth by Dr. Daniel I Block (professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College). He has recently written the commentary on Ruth in the  Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament series. This under 5-minute video puts a perfect cherry on top of our short study! Watch it. It's so worthwhile!

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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