Refuge - Finding Home in a World of Change: Part IV
Hi everyone, if you are reading this blog entry on the release day, then I’d like to wish you a Happy Sabbath!
This week’s program review is for Part 4 of the 6 part Biblical Character Series called: Refuge - Finding Home in a World of Change by Philip Tuttle, who runs Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. NB! I am not affiliated with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries.
The 6 part Refuge Series is based on the Book of Ruth. We have reviews for Part One through Three, so if you haven’t read those yet, then I recommend you go back and read them before you read this entry for Part Four (Finding Hope).
In the Book of Ruth, Naomi, having fled a famine only to suffer devastating losses, returns home, grieving and accompanied by her foreign daughter-in-law. Naomi thought she had nothing left, but God surprised her with His faithfulness in the midst of her crisis of faith. We can learn from this story as we see how Naomi experienced:
Part Four focuses on the remainder of Chapter Two in the Book of Ruth. Tuttle picks up the account in 2:14, when Boaz invites Ruth to dinner : Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, "Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar." So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.
When I read this, I thought of how Ruth was always thinking of her mother in-law Naomi, as she kept back food to take to her.
Tuttle continues with 2:15-16: And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her."
Tuttle reflects on this astonishing behaviour by Boaz towards the foreigner, Ruth and continues to 2:17-19
17 So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied. 19 And her mother-in-law said to her, "Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you." So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, "The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz."
And we read Naomi’s reaction:
2:20: Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!" And Naomi said to her, "This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives."
For me, this is a wonderful turn around as Naomi realizes that the Lord had not forsaken her. I also thought about the strength the Lord gave Ruth to glean in the field until the evening. The amount she gleaned was around 35 liters - that is a huge amount! I cook barley once in a while and the small amount I use makes enough for several meals. I can’t imagine how many meals 35 liters of barley cover, but it must be years of meals!
Tuttle goes on to do a review of the sacrificial role of the male in Deuteronomy 25:5 and how the family-based system, documented in Deuteronomy is very different to the government-based system that most of us are used to.
This made me reflect on the disconnection we experience in our society. Relationship-based help has been replaced with forms. processes and systems created and maintained by people who have no emotional connection to the people they are assisting.
The next verse covered gave further opportunity for reflection.
2:21: Ruth the Moabitess said, "He also said to me, 'You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.'
Tuttle takes time to reflect on the enormous weight of this statement. I found myself thinking: Ruth never had to reaffirm anything with Boaz. She never had to show up every day for the rest of the harvest to get permission for a new day. Boaz’s word was good right from the beginning until the end of harvest. Ruth could hold him to his word, because this was coming from the Lord. So Ruth could rest knowing that her and Naomi were taken care of. This takes me back to the promise of the Lord in Psalm 91. I also think of Matthew 11:28-30 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Tuttle has some key points towards the end of the program. He says, the Book of Ruth reveals the heart of God, as do all the books of the Bible, so we should look for how the heart of God is revealed when reading the Bible.
This reminds me of a conversation Jesus had with two disciples, shortly after he had risen. The men were on their way to a village that was seven miles from Jerusalem. Jesus approached the men, but they didn’t recognize him. Scripture says, “But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know him.” Luke 24:16. When Jesus sensed their doubt concerning if he had truly risen: 25 He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:25-27
And when Jesus, shortly after appeared, to the eleven disciples, and others that were with them. He said; "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Luke 24:44-45
So the entire Old Testament points to Christ, who points to God the Father. So yes, it is vital to look for how the heart of God is revealed when reading the Bible.
Tuttle rounds off the program by referencing Ephesians 2:12-13, that reminds us about who we can be, if we make the choice to follow Christ.
12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
I can easily get overwhelmed with gratitude and relief when I read these verses. When I think about how I have fallen short of God’s glory over and over again, in my 50 years of life and how the Lord invited me into His household, even though I in no way, shape or form, deserve to be there. Praise be to God!
Tuttle’s review question is: When and how did God move you from foreigner to family member?
My journey seems to have several key years: 2008, when I asked God back into my heart. 2015, when the Lord opened my eyes to the sacrifice Christ made for me and led me to daily Bible reading. Then 2017 when I was baptized.
Luke 18:29-30 reminds me of my transition from foreigner to family member of God. This is Jesus speaking: 29 So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life." Amen.
Refuge - Finding Home in a World of Change, Part Four is focused on finding hope. Ruth sacrificed the life she knew and left Moab behind to seek the protection of the God of Israel. A choice that was plagued by sorrow and hardship, because we live in a sinful world. Tuttle highlights God’s intention to give Ruth and Naomi hope - the same unfailing hope He gives you and I.
Lamentations 3:22-24 says: Through the Lord’s mercies, we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, Therefore I hope in Him.
The subject title for Part Five is, ‘Finding Faith’. I am really looking forward to that.
I watched Refuge - Finding Home in a World of Change via www.christiancinema.com
Thank you for reading this review. Until next time, peace be with you.