One of the blessings of working with our Notgrass team is the opportunity to talk about the most important things. One day I spent hours on Zoom with our videographer, Titus. As we discussed the message of an upcoming video, he shared some thoughts about the books of Judges and Ruth that came from a Bible study he is participating in at church.
At the beginning of the book of Ruth, Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, traveled to Bethlehem, the hometown of Naomi's late husband. Here the rest of the events in the book take place. British artist David Roberts visited Bethlehem in 1838. He created this watercolor of Bethlehem.
As Titus related to me, the book of Judges is about a great deal of bad news, but the story of Ruth happened at the same time and she ended up in the genealogy of Jesus.
The books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua tell the story of God bringing the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, bringing them to the Promised Land, and establishing them there. God had appointed first Moses and then Joshua to lead them during that time. Judges 2:6-10 tells us why Judges relates so much bad news—nobody taught the kids.
When Joshua had dismissed the people,
the sons of Israel went, each one to his inheritance, to take possession of the land.
The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua,
and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua,
who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel.
Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110.
And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance
in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
All that generation also were gathered to their fathers;
and another generation rose up after them who did not know the Lord,
nor even the work which He had done for Israel.
Joshua 2:6-10 NASB
However, Judges is also a story of God reaching down and helping the Israelites over and over again. The Israelites had abandoned Him, but He didn't abandon them. Also, while the Israelites were suffering through all their troubles, one Moabitess named Ruth decided to follow the true and living God. God honored Ruth by making her an ancestor of Jesus.
No matter how many people around us are choosing the world, we can still choose God. We can also be parents who raise up a generation who knows the Lord.
As Boaz told Ruth:
May the Lord reward your work,
and may your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel,