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Opening THE Book 24 with Rev John K-S

JOHN KINCHIN-SMITHMay 2020
 

Rev John Kinchin-Smith
Assistant Minister, St Andrew’s Church


This month we will look at a short book tucked away in the middle of the Old Testament: The Book of Ruth
 
My copy of The Good New Bible (a free translation in modern English) summarizes Ruth as follows: “The peaceful story of Ruth is set in the violent times of the book of Judges. Ruth, a Moabite woman, is married to an Israelite. When he dies, Ruth shows uncommon loyalty to her Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi, and deep devotion to the God of Israel. In the end, Ruth finds a new husband, Boaz, and through this marriage becomes the great-grandmother of David, Israel’s greatest king. The stories of Judges show the disaster that came when God’s people turned away from him. Ruth shows the blessing that came to a foreigner who turned to Israel’s God, and so became part of his faithful people”
 
The book of Ruth has been a much-loved book of the Bible. It was often read at harvest time as this is when the story takes place. The book of Ruth found its way into the Bible partly because it explains the ancestry of King David who ruled Israel in 1000BC. Genealogy is very important to Jewish people just as it is becoming increasingly popular today as people trace their family trees
 
The story however has important lessons for us as well. The Bible teaches that the people of Israel were chosen by God to be in a very special relationship to him. By their faithfulness to the Covenant Laws given to them by God at Mount Sinai during the journey under Moses from Egypt to the Promised Land, the people of Israel would become the means by which the whole world would be rescued and blessed by God. By including a foreigner in the ancestry of Israel’s greatest King, the book of Ruth teaches that being part of God’s kingdom family is decided not by blood and birth, but by true devotion of one’s life to the will of God
 
OPEN BIBLERuth’s complete loyalty and devotion to Naomi also mark her out as a “true daughter of Israel”. After the deaths of Naomi’s and Ruth’s husbands, Naomi tries to send Ruth back to her own people in Moab. But Ruth replied, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”

 

 


as published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine

 


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