Influences: Ruth

A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to lead a Bible Study. The very first book we studied through was the book of Ruth. Verse by verse. Chapter by chapter.

Given our group consisted of young adults, most of them were single, it was easy to quickly identify with, or want to be identified with, each of the key figures in this little story in the Bible.

Feeling like a stranger in a strange land.

The yearning to be married.

The wanting to be like a worthy and godly man.

Identifying some of the bitterness in our own lives when we think God is not coming through.

Those elements and so many more is what drew in the reader. But what surprised me is just how much of it was an obvious foreshadow to Christ.

Naomi, the Israelite, with the promises of the Lord but had to wait on the Lord.

Ruth, the Gentile, who knew nothing of the Lord but was saved in the midst of her desperate time.

Boaz, the Kinsmen Redeemer, who brought both Naomi and Ruth into family together, was the prelude to Christ, being our Kinsmen together, saving both Jew and Gentile alike.

If that wasn’t obvious enough, just the fact that they had a child together and he ends up being the grandfather of David from whose bloodline Christ was born into.

This is a story that one of the prime examples of Sola Fide.

Ruth 1:15-17 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 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. 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.”

What Ruth is saying here is exactly the same sentiment that Paul talks about in Romans 6:

Romans 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

In other words, there is nothing for our old selves. I see that Paul goes so far as to call our past lives ‘self’ rather than ‘life’. Why? Because what we had before knowing Christ was no semblance of kind of life we know now. Sure, our lungs breathed air and our hearts pumped blood but is that life? Surely not.

Ruth is saying here what should be the mark of every Christian: “My old self has nothing for me. My old idols have had their brains blown out and now they sit somewhere as a rotting corpse. My old gods are not coming back to life. They couldn’t save me. Christ died on the cross so that I might have life. Jesus slaughtered all of my iniquities and sin so that I might live in him forever.”

Influence: Genesis

Nine times out of ten, every other story not in Genesis can be traced back to Genesis. (I logically suspect that that other one time is simply because I am a novice scholar.)

Forgive me as I do this off the top of my noggin but if I am not mistaken, all Biblical doctrines originates in Genesis in a very direct way. 1

Doctrine of creation: Genesis 1 & 2

Doctrine of the imago Dei (or the theological, doctrinal, logical, empirical, rational reason why it is pure ignorance for you to be a racist): Genesis 1:27

Doctrine of sola fide is easy. Genesis 15:1-6 because Paul in Romans 4:4-5 references it.

Doctrine of marriage: Genesis 2:25

Hmm, let me try something more organized like ordo salutis:

Love –  Genesis 1:1, Genesis 3:21

Election – Genesis 6:8; Genesis 12:1-3

Vocation – Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 17:19

Justification – Genesis 32:22-32

Atonement – Genesis 22:13

Propitiation – Genesis 15:1-31; Genesis 22:13

Expiation – Genesis 15:1-31; Genesis 22:13

Sanctification – Genesis 37:2-36; Genesis 39-41:36

Glorification – Genesis 41:37-50:26

That worked out rather easy.

I am convinced that any topic or passage preached in the Bible can be have a passage in Genesis as a starting bullet point.

Hence, it what makes Genesis so weighty with truth and doctrine and preaching through Genesis would be no small task.

Of course, this would be for naught except Christ has revealed how he complete the thoughts begun in Genesis.

Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

Notes:

  1. Heads up: there are so many doctrines (if not all of them) that originate in Genesis that I am going to use this post as a way of tracking them all. If you visit this post from time to time, it will have grown.

Influences: Jeremiah

The Prophet Jeremiah by Michelangelo Buonarroti
In and around April 2007, I was saved. In and around May 2007, it occurs to me that I should start reading the Bible. I prayed and I felt like I should start with Jeremiah.

Every since reading Jeremiah, there were four truths that did a number on my freshly renewed mind (oddly enough, Jeremiah 29:11 was not one of them):

1. God appoints us to Him before we were born:

Jeremiah 1:4-8 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
  and before you were born I consecrated you;
 I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me,
 “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
  for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
  and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
 Do not be afraid of them,
 for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”

2. All wisdom, strength, and riches come from God alone and even that pales in comparison to knowing and understanding God:

Jeremiah 9:23-24  Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

3. Sometimes God’s directions are weird. Answer the question: Where is your trust?

Jeremiah 16:1-4  The word of the LORD came to me: “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place. For thus says the LORD concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who bore them and the fathers who fathered them in this land: They shall die of deadly diseases. They shall not be lamented, nor shall they be buried. They shall be as dung on the surface of the ground. They shall perish by the sword and by famine, and their dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth.

4. God unequivocally takes care of His sheep even when shepherds don’t. In this passage I was both frightened and adamantly sure that I was called to be an under-shepherd:

Jeremiah 23:1-4 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD.