On Friday, I shared with you about the reality of living in a world that is often ugly. I referenced my Bible-reading for the day, which included the ugly story in Judges 19–21 about the man who allowed his concubine to be abused by Benjamite rogues. The next morning, finding her dead, he sliced her corpse into twelve pieces in outrage over her (probably more his) mistreatment by another tribe. Though the behaviour of these men was evil, so was the behaviour of the man who showed such disregard for this vulnerable woman. Ugly indeed. I was most happy to be done with Judges for another year.
The next morning my Bible reading was in the beautiful book of Ruth. In that portion of Scripture, we have the account of Boaz, a noble man who showed nothing but concern, compassion, and eventually marital love and commitment to Ruth, another vulnerable woman. Ruth was the Moabitess widow of a Jewish husband. She was not of the people of God and yet she found herself in Israel in the days of Judges. She was another vulnerable woman, born outside of God’s covenant, widowed, and in need of provision. What would become of her? Would she become another mistreated concubine of those ugly days? Thankfully not. Keep reading.
The account informs us that, through her mother-in-law, Naomi, she was instructed to go with other poor and vulnerable people to glean in the fields of kind, gracious, and noble Boaz. She did so and Boaz showed her much kindness. He protected her from skelms, providing her with protection and provision. This kindness eventually led to him paying a dowry, marrying her, and bestowing husbandly love and care. But it gets even better. Keep reading.
In addition to the blessings of physical, emotional, and relational provision and protection, God gave Ruth and Boaz a son: Obed. That son would have a son (Jesse), who would have a son named David. And from the lineage of David would come the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1–6). Are you glad you kept reading?
What an encouraging progression. From a hard-hearted man and his murdered concubine—one of the grossest examples of selfish cruelty—to the most glorious culmination of history: the coming of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m glad I kept reading.
As I indicated on Friday, life can be ugly but, by the grace of God, life can also include the beautiful. And so, this morning, I want to encourage my fellow Christians, again, to keep reading. That is, keep on keeping on. God is orchestrating beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3). Our heavenly Father is moving us along in history towards a day where we will experience the fullness of the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21:1–4).
Our heavenly Groom, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the perfect Boaz. Knowing that we are vulnerable, he is watching out for us. He cares for us. He provides for us. He has betrothed us. He will one day bring us home to the great Wedding Feast (Revelation 19:6–9). The Holy Spirit is committed to his ministry of pointing the bride of Christ to our Groom. The Holy Spirit loves to make much of our “Boaz.” So keep reading.
We must keep reading the Bible asking the Holy Spirit to show us Christ. We must keep keeping on as we face a culture of cruel Benjamites, knowing that a few “chapters” later we will see something of God’s gracious purpose coming to pass. Though, as Naomi experienced, life at times can be bitter, yet God is able to do something very sweet (Ruth 4:14–16).
As we persevere in these wrongly called “uncertain times,” remember, Christian, that the story is far from over. God is working a tapestry of grace. This will include some thugs from Judges but, ultimately, they will be written out of the script and replaced with the most glorious of all Boazes, the Lord Jesus Christ. So, keep reading.
I’m reading with you,