Monday, December 18, 2017

A child is born 18: Ruth gives birth to Obed

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel. He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.’

The story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz, told in four short chapters in the book that bears Ruth’s name, is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. Many years before, Naomi and her husband went from Israel to Moab in a time of famine. Her two sons married Moabite women, but before any children could be born to them Naomi’s husband and both her sons died. Naomi, a lone, childless widow, decided to return to Israel to take her chances there, hoping to throw herself on the mercy of her extended family. She encouraged her Moabite daughters in law to remain in Moab and marry again, but Ruth insisted on coming back to Israel with her. “Where you go I will go… your people shall be my people and your God my God” (1.16)

When they arrived in Israel, their position was very precarious, but Ruth’s quiet care of Naomi didn’t go unnoticed. A distant relative, Boaz, saw Ruth and fell in love with her, and eventually they were married. Their child was counted as the child of Naomi’s dead son, so that his line continued. In the closing verses of the book we discover that Ruth and Boaz’ child was named Obed, and “he became the father of Jesse, the father of David”. Ruth, a Moabite outsider, becomes the grandmother of the greatest king of Israel. You might also notice from the story that Boaz is a descendant of Perez, the child of Tamar (see Dec 13). Two women who would have been regarded as disreputable outsiders, are part of his lineage, a lineage which eventually leads to Jesus. Matthew mentions both these women in his genealogy. (Matthew 1.3 and 1.5)

·         How far back can you go back in your genealogy? What do you think your ancestors would think of your life now?
·         Are there stories of migration in your family? How do you think that affected those involved?

·         Pray for immigrant and refugee families, as they make new lives in a foreign land. 

No comments:

Post a Comment