Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruthby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we will give a brief introductory word to the Life-study of Ruth.
Ruth is an appendix to the book of Judges, contemporary with the first half of Judges. Judges is a book of Israel’s miserable history, dark and stinking; Ruth is the record of a couple’s excellent story, bright and aromatic. The main role in this story is like a lily growing out of brambles and a bright star in the dark night.
The book of Ruth is also an important part of the genealogy of Christ (Matt. 1:5), which is the record that concerns the incarnation of Christ.
In the whole universe, there is nothing greater than the incarnation of Christ. After the eternal God created man, He was nearly silent for four thousand years. During that time no one knew what God was doing. The angels did not know, and the men in the Old Testament, such as Abraham, Moses, and David, did not know. Then the eternal God came out of eternity and entered into time. He came out of eternity with His divinity in order to enter into humanity to make Himself, the Divine, one with man, the human, to become a God-man. This is the greatest thing in the entire universe. The short book of Ruth, containing only four chapters, is related in a particular way to the incarnation of Christ.
According to the contents of Ruth, its writer should be Samuel, as is the case also with the book of Judges.
According to the word “Jesse begot David” (4:22), the time of writing must have been after the rule of the judges and in the time of the kings. The time of the history covered in this book comprises eleven years, from about 1322 B.C. (1:4) to about 1312 B.C. (4:13).
The history recorded in the book of Ruth took place in Moab and Judah (1:1, 22).
The content of this book concerns a Moabitess, Ruth. Ruth belonged to the tribe of Moab (v. 4). Moab was the son of Lot, the fruit of Lot’s incestuous union with his daughter (Gen. 19:30-38). According to Deuteronomy 23:3 the Moabites were forbidden to enter the congregation of the Lord, even to the tenth generation. Thus, as a Moabitess, Ruth was an excluded one. Nevertheless, she was brought into the holy elect of God and became an important ancestor of Christ through her marriage with Boaz, the great-grandfather of King David (Ruth 4:21-22; Matt. 1:5-6), which became a factor that ushered in the incarnation of Christ (Matt. 1:5-16). From this we see that Ruth became an important ancestor to bring Christ into humanity. This ushered in the marvelous incarnation, which made God one with man. This is the intrinsic significance of the content of the book of Ruth.
The central thought of the book of Ruth is that a Gentile, even a Moabitess, could be joined to God’s holy elect and become an heir to partake of the holy inheritance through her union with the one of the holy elect who redeemed her. This is not merely a type but a complete prefigure of the Gentile sinners’ being brought, with Israel, God’s elect, into the divine inheritance through the redemption of Christ in their union with Him.
The book of Ruth has six sections.
The first section (1:1-2) shows us that Elimelech, one of God’s elect, swerved from the rest in God’s economy.
The second section (1:3-7, 19-22) concerns Naomi’s returning to the rest in God’s economy. Whereas Elimelech swerved from this rest, Naomi returned to it.
Some expositors speak of Ruth’s resolution or determination. What we see in Ruth, however, is not just her resolution or her determination but her choosing for her goal. This is described in the third section of the book (1:8-18).
The next section of this book (ch. 2) covers Ruth’s exercising of her right. After she made a choice regarding her goal, she exercised her right.
The fifth section of this book (ch. 3) covers Ruth’s seeking for her rest. Once she exercised the right that came to her through her choosing for her goal, Ruth, in wisdom, sought for her rest.
Because Ruth was absolute for God’s economy, she received a reward from God. Ruth’s reward for God’s economy is covered in chapter four, the last section of this book.
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