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Archive for July 16th, 2018

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Ruth 1  But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”

Collect of the Day

We pray…

Faithful God, You promised to preserve Your people and save Your inheritance, using unlikely and unexpected vessels in extending the genealogy that would bring about the birth of Your blessed Son. Give us the loyalty of Ruth and her trust in the one true God, that we, too, might honor You through our submission and respect and be counted among Your chosen people, by the grace of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and the Holy Spirit, who reign together with You, now and forever.

Ruth of Moab, the subject of the biblical book that bears her name, is an inspiring example of God’s grace. Although she was a Gentile, God made her the great grandmother of King David (Ruth 4:17), and an ancestress of Jesus himself (Mt 1:5). A famine in Israel led Elimelech and Naomi of Bethlehem to emigrate to the neighboring nation of Moab with their two sons. The sons married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth, but after about ten years, Elimelech and his sons died (Ruth 1:1–5). Naomi then decided to return to Bethlehem and urged her daughters-in-law to return to their families. Orpah listened to Naomi’s but Ruth refused, replying with the stirring words: “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). After Ruth arrived in Bethlehem, Boaz, a close relative of Elimelech, agreed to be Ruth’s “redeemer” (Ruth 3:7–13; 4:9–12). He took her as his wife, and Ruth gave birth to Obed, the grandfather of David (Ruth 4:13–17), thus preserving the Messianic seed. Ruth’s kindness and selfless loyalty toward Naomi, and her faith in Naomi’s God, have long endeared her to the faithful and redounded to God’s praise for his merciful choice of one so unexpected.

 This short book…”… of David’s great-grandmother,” tells the charming story of Ruth the Moabitess, who lived in the days when the Judges ruled in Israel…

“One of the sweetest stories in the Bible, showing that even in the blackest period God has men and women who love and serve Him:

  • In Boaz we have the model rich man of his age; every act and word shows his deep faith in God.

  • In Ruth we have an example of modesty and patience, coupled with a remarkable belief in the true God.

  • In Naomi we have a specimen of a good woman, whose religion shows itself in fidelity to all her duties.”

“One chief purpose of the book seems to be the tracing of the genealogy of David to the Moabitess Ruth, whose name it bears… This information gains in significance if we remember that the genealogy of David is at the same time that of Jesus Christ. The story therefore goes to show how Ruth the Moabitess, by birth an alien to Israel, was chosen to become an ancestress of the Savior. Her reception into the communion of Israel also testified to the fact that even in the days before Christ Gentiles might be admitted to the kingdom of God if only they received the promises of the covenant in true faith.

As the genealogy here recorded ends with David’s name, it is improbable that the book should have been written before David had become a person of influence and renown among the people of the covenant. We find an additional reason for this assumption in chap. 4, 7, where the author explains a peculiar custom, which had fallen into disuse in his days. – The author remains unknown to us; but it has been suggested that David himself might well have penned this account of a significant episode in his family history,” and the record concerning Christ’s ancestors was thus completed. From Dr. Paul Kretzmann’s 4 Volume Commentary on the Bible

Reflection:  In the Collect of the Day, we prayed the Lord, “…give us the loyalty of Ruth”.  “Loyalty” is from “loyal”.  Here is the dictionary definition of “loyal”

loyal

1unswerving in allegiance: such as

a faithful in allegiance to one’s lawful sovereign or government 

were loyal to the king

b faithful to a private person to whom faithfulness is due 

loyalhusband

c faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product 

loyal churchgoer (Merriam-Webster online)

After praying the Collect, I wondered: What has ever become of loyalty? I think people are loyal, loyal like Ruth to her mother-in-law and the God of Israel and Orpah’s chosen people. There are loyal husbands, wives, citizens, Christians.  The problem is not that loyalty no longer exists, because if it was gone, the chaos and mayhem would be over the top.  Yet, at times, we know and see that society and church are clearly over the top.  The general problem not that virtue is extinct like the do-do bird, but  virtue is no longer extolled, educated and encouraged:  in families, churches and schools.   This includes loyalty.  Why? Substitute ‘virtues’ have been taught, such as: ‘sensitivity’, ‘openness’,’inclusivity’.  True virtue, based upon the 10 Commandments, are directed toward our neighbors, like the loyalty of Ruth to Orpah, and Orpah’s God and people.  Fake virtues, as listed are about me and letting anything happen and occur.  Loyalty is ‘open’ to the neighbor but according to wisdom and agape.  Loyal means at time to point out a fault to someone we love.  The fake virtues do not.  I can fancy those fake virtues.  True virtue is taught in the real world, and this learning is bearing the cross, dying to self and rising in Christ Jesus.  The real world is the school of the Holy Spirit in His Church in the world, but not of it. Note that fake virtues are basically Godless as they are humanly invented.  The fake virtues spring,

“…from the Enlightenment, from rationalist humanism, from the notion that man is the center of all that exists, and that there is no Higher Power above him.” (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn;  more of his quote found here)

Ruth knew by faith in God’s grace toward her, even in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death that there is a “Higher Power”.  The Lord opened her ears and her heart and she learned loyalty, 

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