From Destructive Sheeple Behaviour in Judges to the Determination of Ruth

Songdove Books - JudgesMy notes for the book of Judges were sparse to say the least.  If there is a book showing the incredible yo-yo effect of followers rather than those who make solid choices, this book was it!  The book of Judges also shows the dangers of not following God’s commands fully, as nations they had not wiped out rose up time after time to subjugate Israel.  At times God made way for this to take place because of the disobedience of His people.  But each time, God made a way for His people to come out from under the generally tyrannical rule of those around them.  The book of Judges ends with one group of God’s people doing war against another group because the second group had become quite vile in their treatment of women.  While the first group can’t be faulted for the decisions they made, it did cause a rift among the tribes of Israel for a time.

Songdove Books - RuthThe judges are still ruling when we come to the book of Ruth.  This is one of those books in the Bible that have touched me deeply over the years as it is a story of an outsider.  Not just any outsider, but a female outsider who is not only accepted into the Jewish fold, but becomes Great Grandmother to King David, and therefore part of the earthly family line leading up to the advent of Jesus Christ.  The month of November in our social calendar today tends to be split between Remembrance Day, the American Thanksgiving holiday, and Christmas peeking it’s festive and consumerist head around the corner.  Concerts, store displays, and announcements of coming events that point to December’s focus begin building during the month of November, so I find it quite timely that in my own quiet time, I would find myself entering the book of Ruth in November.

Chapter One of Ruth is known for its declaration as follows:

Ruth 1:16-17  And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:  17  Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

Songdove Books - Ruth and NaomiClearly, Ruth knows her own mind, and is resolute that she won’t return to her own people.  She has decided that Naomi is her family now and the bonds of family are not easily broken.  The very next verse says that Naomi gave up trying to convince her to return to her own people after hearing this response.  If we learn anything from this portion of Chapter One, we learn that Ruth is a very determined lady!  She won’t allow anyone to come between her and her desires.

If there’s one thing we discover in the pages of Scripture, it’s the fact that God honours determination to do what is right, what is best, what is honourable and what is selfless or for the good of others.  This desire stands in stark contrast to how the book of Judges ends, as groups fight one another because one group is more determined to hurt and defile others while another group is determined to defend them in their own way.  God would rather have us determined to do what is right, best, honourable and selfless, than have us fighting to do what is wrong, hurtful and selfish.

God will even honour this among those who are “outside” the family of God when it leads them into His fold.  We must never reject those who come to Christ from backgrounds we would otherwise despise or look down on.  If someone is wanting to come toward Christ, it doesn’t matter where they came from, who they were associated with, what they did, or anything else.  Their determination to come to God and do what is right should be applauded and encouraged.  Because Naomi ceased attempting to convince Ruth to stay in Moab, we have a significant player in the story of Christ’s lineage and birth.

No matter where you come from in life, God will always honour your determined efforts to make Him your focus and to live in His ways.