Saturday, December 02, 2006

Book Club: 14th December 2006 - Final for 2006

This fortnight we are reading the Chapter on 'Ruth: Loyalty & Love' pages 69-85 of '12 Extraordinary Woman'

This will be our final book club meeting of the year. We will Start again in the new year, so be sure to visit again in late January. I will keep you all posted by email.

Why not use the break to read a good book you can recommend to us all!

Please post your comments here..

1 comment:

Ames said...

Below are a few things we discussed this week about the chapter on Ruth.

Ruth's place in the line of Christ

The links between the extraordinary women in the line of Christ reveal Gods grace and mercy towards sinners. In the past, I thought of them as random inspirational figures that the Lord used to teach us. Seeing the connections has made the gospel even clearer as you see how God has providentially placed foreigners, in the line of Christ.

Ruth is a beautiful picture of Gods Grace and Mercy to sinners and of Christs relationship to the church. I really loved the final paragraph of this chapter:

“Ruth is a fitting symbol of every believer, and even of the church itself–redeemed, brought into a position of great favour, endowed with riches and privilege, exalted to be the redeemer’s own bride, and loved by Him with the profoundest affection. That is why the extraordinary story of her redemption ought to make every true believer’s heart resonate with profound gladness and thanksgiving for the One who, likewise has redeemed us from our sin.” Pg 85

Ruth's love for God

How vulnerable Naomi and Ruth must have felt, hungry and alone, travelling presumably on foot from Moab back to Bethlahem.

It seems Naomi’s words to Ruth “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law” Ruth 1:15 were meant to draw a profession out of her as JM says on pg 74 “It would be wrong to take Ruth to Israel and place a widow without financial support in that society if she had no genuine commitment to Israel’s God”. Obviously from Ruth’s response we see that she truly had come to love the Lord. Ruth’s decision to follow Naomi was really a decision for or against God.

Given that she was a believer, it is almost little wonder that she did follow Naomi to Israel. Imagine being a believing widow in a country like Moab, with no other Israelites or believers in the true God to support you, or encourage you. She would have had to go back to her father’s house, where no doubt there would have been idols and pagan practices. Better to face the hardships and poverty of a widow, in Israel with other Godly people, than stay in idolatrous Moab.

Leaving Israel and living in Moab was the wrong decision, possibly a sinful decision, and Naomi’s decision return to Israel seems like repentance. She felt that her loss was Gods discipline. Pg 73

Ruth's love and trust in Naomi

Not only did Ruth follow Naomi back to Israel, but she loved and provided for her. Gleaning in the field was back breaking work. Most of the time, when people gleaned they gleaned in a day enough for one day. Their daily bread. Not only did they have to collect the grain, but they also had to thresh it out and prepare it for food. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to live day by day like this. If you don’t work you don’t eat! We briefly discussed how retirement is a relatively new concept, born out of wealth and ease, in the past people basically worked until they died.

We noted how Ruth must have had great trust in Naomi, to follow through such bold instructions, as to go at night and approach Boaz and effectively ask him to marry her. Naomi must have been rather intuitive to risk Ruth’s reputation, knowing that the outcome would go well.

If it had gone badly it could have looked really bad for Ruth. Being a Moabitess, and the history of the Moabites using their women to seduce the Israelites, could have given lend to rumours, that maybe she was not as virtuous as she seemed etc. Especially as the Threshing floor was a common site of immorality according to Hosea (Hos 9:1) Was Boaz’s warning to his men to stay away from her acknowledgement of what they may have thought of a moabitess? It is clear though that the town new she was virtuous. (Ruth 3:11)

It is interesting to note that Ruth’s actions were lawful as opposed to her ancestor’s who were immoral. (Lots daughter, whose incest produced Moab)

Naomi Nursed Obed

Being able to nurse a child? Maybe Naomi wasn’t as old as we think?