Ruth Reflections

These are notes collected from studying with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Prelude to Ruth

In preparation of Ruth, consider:

  • Judges ended with “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
  • 1 Samuel is focused on the inauguration of kings in Israel. And when the people said, “We want a king like the nations,” God said, “they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Sam. 8:7)

So consider that Judges was a rejection of God as their king. And the monarchy was a rejection of God as their king.

Now…in between those 2 books is the short book of Ruth. The whole message of Ruth is watching the family line of Elimelech eventually birth David as King (who is a type for the TRUE KING to come: JESUS, see Matt. 1:1; Rev. 22:16). Ruth begins with Elimelech as the main character. And ends with David (as connected to Elimelech).

Now…drumroll please…anyone know what the name Elimelech means?? It literally means “God is King”!!! Consider the importance of this. Elimelech is a literal man, but his name (and story) conveys so much more. His story comes in between the rejection of God as king in Judges and 1 Samuel. And in the book of Ruth, Elimelech (literally “God is King”) is starved out of the land. I think it is a picture: God as King of Israel is losing power to the point of being driven out of the land.

OK…that’s all for now…lot’s more to look for in the book of Ruth though. Hopefully that sets a good start as we read about how “God is King” is driven out of the land but eventually restored through David (who points to Jesus). Amen and Amen


I was also reading this morning the Hebrew word for redemption is listed 23 times in this short book! Specifically, how redemption is bound to kindness… seems close the the heart of our Savior.

May His kindness continue to draw us toward repentance and closer to Him today.

Naomi and Mara

“She said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara…’
“So Naomi returned…” (Ruth 1:20-22).

I chuckled reading this today. She just gets done telling others to call her Mara because of what she’s gone through. But then the Holy Spirit picks up the narrative by calling her, “Naomi.” It was almost like God was ignoring her feelings and read on the situation. Don’t want to take that further than I should, but it did minister to me considering how many people today believe reality is shaped by feelings and experiences. The “trans” craze seems to play into that. So while we tell people about reality through the lens of our feelings/experience, how much is God sitting there saying, “You may feel that way, but that’s not the truth. I see clearly, you don’t.”

Charity and Dignity

When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
Ruth 2:15-16

Love this! He was sacrificial, even over and above the “required amount to give,” while he still had her do work on her end (she had to gather), thus giving her dignity, etc. What an example for us!

Ruth Summarized

The story of Ruth:

  • Elimelech (“God is King”) is forced out of Israel.
  • A foreigner (Ruth) is grafted into the family, redeemed by Boaz (of Elimelech “God is King” family). Elimelech (“God is King”) continues to grow through this foreigner grafted in. Eventually bringing David who is King over Israel as a type for Jesus.
  • Strikes me the similarity with Jesus (God-king). Israel largely rejected Him. Gentiles receive Him. His kingdom is built and restored through Gentiles. At the end, I believe, we will see revival among the Jews, and a return among a faction of treating Jesus/God as King.

Genealogy Through Perez

Q: What do you make of the genealogy starting with Perez at the end of the book? I have some ideas but not sure.


My thoughts on Perez…
If you look at Gen 38, the story is as follows:
Judah (the tribe where kings would come from) is part of the scheme to get rid of Joseph (see Gen 37).
After that, “Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah.” (Gen. 38:1).
There, Judah marries a foreign woman, then mistreats his daughter-in-law. But through her cunning, she ends up conceiving twins for Judah, and the firstborn was Perez (Gen. 38:29)…
I just think there are so many parallels to Ruth’s story that it is fitting to connect Perez with Jesse (via Boaz-Ruth)…Namely:

  • Judah = royal line (like Elimelech = “God is King”)
  • Judah forsook God’s way in mistreating Joseph (like Israel forsook God’s way, bringing a famine, forcing Elimelech and family out of the land)
  • Judah married foreign wife // Elimelech’s family married Moabite women
  • The daughter-in-law’s husband died in both
  • So the daughter-in-law had to pursue the older man in the family to have children (in both)
  • And the first child born was Obed (with Ruth) and Perez (with Tamar)

I’m thinking those parallels may give a hint into why it’s starting with Perez here…but I’m not 100%…either way, it’s powerful to consider the much broader connections within Scripture!

Judges Reflections

These are notes collected from studying Judges with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

The Book of Judges & Us

First, I highly recommend The Book of Judges & Us (Teaching by Peter J. Williams). I found this 2 hour teaching series on Judges really on point for us.

Ch. 2-3: Teaching War

“I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua. Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.
Judges 2:21-3:2 –

Weak Vessels

Takeaway from Judges thus far: major players/judges that were used all seem to have deficiencies that worked in their favor: (1) Ehud was left-handed…I heard this is how he was able to slip his weapon past the guards, because they would check on where a right-handed person would hold their weapon, (2) Jael was a woman…thus the warrior enemy let his guard down around her, and she had access to kill him via tent peg, (3) Gideon was fearful…which I believe showed why he asked for so much confirmation, but this allowed God to “show off” and speak directly to him…and he still went forward, though fearful, (4) Samson was a womanizer…of course, this in itself is a sin more than a mere “deficiency”…but even this was used by God to get deliverance on the Philistines. In all this, I’m struck that God is looking for people with weakness and deficiencies. Like He said to Gideon: “I don’t want a big army…you’ll be tempted to think you did it…give me an army where everyone knows only God could have done this!” (my paraphrase). Our weakness is what God needs right now, and those humble enough to recognize this will be used mightily, IMHO.

Yes! I was also reminded in reading through the book again (which was so good) just how fallible all these Judges were! Some of them are even listed in Hebrews 11 hero’s of faith chapter. Yet, they still had so many flaws. Especially resonated with Gideon and that spoke to me.

I was really moved by chapter 2 early on and the compassion of God to even give Judges and then continue to give Judges over and over. He could have wiped them out way earlier for the continual sin and yet they continue to go back to their old ways after about every judge. We need good leaders but yet even good leaders are susceptible to sin. What a great reminder of all of our great need for Jesus and Him to break through to our sin.

Slow Fade

Another takeaway: each Judge seems more and more carnal / sinful as the book goes on. Shows the slow fade into total corruption at the end of the book. Sadly, I think we might be living in a similar time (consider when someone like Trump [with his very flagrant issues] represents Christian policies more than other leaders in US…you know we’ve gone downhill).

I have spent the last two weeks in and out of Judges…Man it’s a disturbing book. The judges seem to go from pretty good, to okay, to bad, to worse. When that happens they had no leadership and did what was right in their own eyes. Isn’t that fitting for the world we live in and the history of the world. We walk away from God and start serving our own ideals.

Another thought that came to me was the Israelites did not drive out the Canaanites in their land, thus they started to resemble them and you couldn’t tell the difference between the Israelites and Canaanites near the end of the book.  If we don’t drive out, get rid of bad habits in our life, we will look more and more like the world! 

BTW – I have been pairing this study with Halley’s Bible Handbook; it’s been a great resource.