I've started a "Preaching Hour TV" series on the Book of Ruth, a love story between God and all His people. It is traditionally ascribed to the priest and prophet and unifier Samuel who tidies up the messy 'we have no king' Book of Judges by expanding on the prophesied kingly and family line of David according to the prophecy of Nathan at 2Samuel7,12-15.
It is a salvation story open to all. It overflows with joy and love, and contains countless rich biblical themes.
There's the theme of the pilgrimage and providence of going up to Judah, this time to Bethlehem, to the house of bread (Hb.), to God's provision, by the widow and now childless Naomi and her widowed and childless Moabite, that is gentile, daughter in law Ruth.
This is an Aliyah, going up to Jersualem, as did Jacob's descendants coming back from Egypt in 13th century BC, as did the Jews after the Babylonian exile in the early 6th century BC, as after the post 20th century fascisms and totalitarianisms, as the saved of all the world will do in the last days according to Isaiah66,18-20:
"I am coming to gather peoples of every tongue; they will come to see my glory. 19 I shall put a sign on them [faith in Jesus!], and those survivors I shall send to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud, to Meshach, Rosh, Tubal, and Javan, distant shores which have never yet heard of me or seen my glory; these will declare that glory among the nations. 20 From every nation your countrymen [Jews] will be brought on horses, in chariots, and wagons..."
There's the theme of the exceptionally faithful individual, thereby cloaked in holiness, in the line of Joseph, Samuel, Boaz, Ruth, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, James and John The Revelator.
There's also the theme of the kinsman Redeemer Boaz' kingly action of marrying the childless widow Ruth, and thereby redeeming the family estate-property, and by fathering Obed, the family name.
There's also the theme of Israel's future Davidic dynasty includes foreigners in it in that Ruth, mother of Obed, father of Jesse, father of David, is a foreigner. In this Israel remembers that Joseph had a foreign wife, as did Moses and Judah.
These are just some of the themes, each one a wide and powerful river of revelation.
Ruth and Naomi's trip to Bethelhem, just four miles south of Jerusalem, fulfills Psalm89,15: "Blessed are the people who know thy festal trumpet call. They walk in the light of your face."
It's as if Ruth is walking by faith and not by sight to Zion's future shiny bridegroom, as typified by Boaz.
As the story goes, she offers to marry her provident kinsman Boaz at midnight, lying at his feet, on the threshing floor of his barn where he's guarding his harvest.
The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion ("Ruth" 1997) tells us "The Book of Ruth is read in the synagogue on the festival of Shauv'ot [Pentecost] because of its connection with the harvest and with King David, traditionally believed to have been born on Shauv'ot."
So if King David was born on Pentecost, when were we mere "Christians" born as a kingly people?
Now we Christian faithers are not necessarily tied to celebrating the feasts of Israel, but isn't it interesting and telling that 1Peter2,9 says by our faith in Jesus, our high priest and King, we are a royal priesthood, a kingly priesthood, born again on Pentecost, made royal, holy and priestly, kingly or queenly, on Pentecost, then called to announce his wonders, and live by our royal faith.
Likewise, Romans 5,17 says that in so far as we (Jew or gentile) share in the grace and righteousness of our Davidic king Jesus, "we live and reign through the one [risen] man, Jesus Christ."
That is, we reign in the faith realm, even now, here on earth.
Yes, the Penetcostal harvest of our faith is rich and broad, the seeds of which were planted in the joyful soil of the Hebrew scriptures and book of Ruth.
This harvest reaches back prior to King David and includes his great grandmother Ruth, a Moabite, who made her faithful pilgrimage to Judah.
It reaches forward to the very end of ordinary earthly time when the kingdom of God and Jesus' (and our) millenial rule will be born, from Judah.
There are so many insights right here in the Book of Ruth, ready to be plucked, like ripe figs, from one of the deepest treasures of the Hebrew bible.
Why don't we all reach up a little this summer to grasp a fruitful blessing by taking an hour and reading this book for ourselves?
For the first hour of this Preaching Hour TV Series "Ruth: Espoused To Zion's Future Bridegroom":
PREACHING HOUR TV
TUESDAY EVENINGS - 8PM EST
Preaching Hour TV weekly on Cox PATV Channel 15 in Cheshire, Southington and Meriden CT and on VCAM Channel 15 10pm Fridays in Burlington VT.read more...
Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...