Truth for Today — Studies in Ruth
The Prologue, 1:1-2. (Part 1)
“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.”
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The first two verses of this book present us with the initial setting for the history it contains.
The small book of Ruth nestles between the book of Judges and the 1st Book of Samuel. It provides the perfect link between the two eras. It is like the first streaks of dawn that heralds a new day. The opening reminds us of the dark days of the judges but the book ends with the birth of David’s grandfather, and the hope of brighter times that generates. It is a book in which is foreshadowed the future ingathering of the Gentiles and of better times for Israel when the Lord will visit them again.
The last word of the book is David. It certainly points us to great David’s Great Son! It is the 8th book of the Bible and as such marks a new beginning.
We all know that the whole of Scripture is relevant to our day, even as it has been for all previous generations. Some portions, however, are most obviously relevant. This book is particularly relevant to our day.
The first two verses indicate that:
I. IT WAS A TIME OF DISORDER
The last verse of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel.” Judges 21:25.
1. There was no king. No central command or unifying government. The Lord should have been their King but His law was ignored or rejected by the nation generally. For many professing Christians today, there is “no king.” They are not governed by the law of Christ, the King.
2. Instead there was self rule. “ . . every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Every man was his own king. His whims and fancies, his desires and ambitions were sovereign. “I think” replaced “Thus saith the Lord.” Doctrine is proclaimed on the basis of how popular it will be rather than whether it is in the Word of God or not.
3. It effected everyone. “ . . every man.” This was the universal rule within Israel. It helps us understand the tragedy that takes place in the opening verses.