On Saturday we celebrated the eve of Shavuot (Pentecost). Traditionally, the Jewish people world wide read the book of Ruth during this feast, as the story described there takes place during this season.
Teaching about Shavuot at my congregation
The book of Ruth is my favorite one in the Bible. I believe we are living in the prophetic fulfillment of this story. I have been digging into it for a couple of years now, and I keep gleaning more and more truths each time I teach it. The one that touches me the most is the relevance it has to the modern history of Israel.
You see, just like Naomi, who comes back to the “House of Bread” (Beth Lehem) from a few decades of living in the diaspora of Moab, so is Israel coming back now from a few millenniums of living in the diaspora world wide.
The Jewish people could not have done it on their own. We needed various Ruths along the way in order to make it. I love the way Isaiah describes parts of it:
Thus saith the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will lift up My hand to the Gentiles, and set up My standard to the people. And they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be your nursing fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers: they shall bow down to you with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet; and you shall know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me” (Isa. 49:22-23).
This picture of Ruth and Naomi was painted by Michael Washer,
and sent to me by a modern “Ruth” from GA
Throughout the entire book of Ruth, the redeemer knows Naomi is back in town. She also knows he is there. But there is no direct communication between them. When he wants to send her something, he does it through the Gentile. When she needs something from him, she sends the gentile to him. Why is the significance of it? Read more about it in my article titled Ruth and Naomi.
There is another widow in the story – Orpah. While Ruth means Friendship, Orpah means a Neck. Orpah also loves Naomi, but is willing to walk with her only a certain distance. She than gets tired and walks back to her comfort zone, and out of the narrative.
What will you choose when it comes to Israel? Will you be a faithful Ruth, or a neck turning Orpah?