Friday, July 13, 2012

Joshua, Judges & Ruth...

I'm not sure if I've blogged about this but I need to now...

Over a year and a half ago I decided I really wanted to preach through the Old Testament book of Ruth. As I began doing some background work, it became very clear to me that to really have a handle on Ruth, you must understand the time of the Judges. So... I began doing work in preparation for preaching through the book of Judges. As I did I came to the stark realization that if you are going to understand Judges and what is happening there you need to have a working knowledge of the book of Joshua!

And so it began ... I started to walk through the book of Joshua and build the platform from which we would transition in to the book of Judges and then into Ruth.

This has been an incredible time learning from God's Word!

Joshua: Beginning with the statement that Moses is dead ... Joshua is now the leader of God's people, the Nation Israel. Joshua leads them in conquering the promised land and driving out the people. This is all going along fairly well with few set backs and concludes with the division of the land according to God's direction. Finally, there are two incredible speeches by Joshua; first to the leadership of the nation and then to the general population itself.

Judges: When it comes to preaching or even doing a Bible study, I find that most people will avoid the book of Judges. In fact, one of the men of our church was talking to a friend of his, who attends another church in Clear Lake,  and mentioned that we were beginning to walk through Judges as a church family and the response was something to the effect of he did not believe that his church would "buy into" a study like Judges!

I'm not going to kid you ... the book of Judges can be very depressing! The highlight of the book comes in chapter 1 and verse 1. Literally, it is all downhill from there to the point that at the end of the book it simple says: "...all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes."

The problem in Judges is cyclical: The people grow lax in there obedience and fall into sin - rather than repenting of their sin they just continue in it ... because of their sin and lack of repentance God brings in/allows/uses the surrounding nations to discipline Israel ... eventually the nation cries out for help (not in repentance) and God raises up a judge to deliver them from their oppressors ... Israel "follows" after God and there is a time of peace following the deliverance of the judge, but sooner rather than later the people begin to drift back into sin and the cycle repeats!

The last three chapter contain one of the most gross and disgusting accounts in all of the scriptures. As I was studying and preparing for that particular message, I seriously wondered why I ever started this book. Judges ends and leaves the reader/student of God's Word with a very uneasy concern because of a lack of closure.

Ruth: In the midst of the cesspool of sin as seen in Judges, emerges the account of Ruth. It is like a breath of fresh air or as one of the men of our church said: It's like the Friday night BBQ following just a brutal week at work; an opportunity to stop, relax and be recharged. 

The book of Ruth is set in the time period of the book of Judges. Sometime probably around the time of Gideon.

The account is not about the man who’s name was Elimelech, or his wife was Naomi, or their two sons Mahlon and Kilion. The book is really not even about Ruth or Boaz even though these are all of the main characters.

The account of Ruth is all about God and His sovereign work that is always going on behind the scenes. Even in the midst of what is to us one of the darkest periods in the history of the Nation Israel, God is at work and in perfect control! The doctrine of the Sovereignty of God, in my humble opinion, has to be one of the most comforting doctrines known to man!

Well, all of this to say that if God so wills, I will preach the final message in the series from the book of Ruth this Sunday. As I have mentioned to my folks at the church ... all I wanted to do was preach through Ruth and now we have come to the end.

What's Next?????

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Romans



Tom

Rev. Jeriah D. Shank said...

Do an Old Testament prophet! Seriously, when was the last time you heard a series on Nahum?