News Flash: The Wall Has Already Been Built (Part One)


People are arguing passionately about building a wall on the southern border of the United States. It seems as if we’re so heavily focused on the issue of a physical wall that we’re not even aware of the much more exigent matter of the wall that surrounds all of humanity. It all starts with the Book of Ruth.

You know the story, right? Nice daughter-in-law stays with widowed Naomi and gleans some barley from the field to provide food for them and hooks a new hubby in the process? Definitely some good lessons in kindness and loyalty in this short four-chapter book. I was flipping to 1 Kings to do some meaty study about the 24 elders in Heaven. Well, actually I was about to study something someone else had written and while in my preliminary prayer session, I really felt like God was telling me to read His word before I started mucking around in someone else’s. That’s when I flipped open to Ruth, and then felt that now-familiar nudge telling me to start reading. I didn’t even bother to put up a fight, this time.


Cast of Characters - Hebrew (English)
Elimelech (means God is King), Naomi’s husband
Naomi (means My Delight), wife and mother
Mara (means Bitterness in Hebrew, My Delight in Egyptian), same person as Naomi
Mahlon (means sickly, infirm), son of Elimelech and Naomi
Chilion (means wasting away), son of Elimelech and Naomi
Orpah (means neck), daughter-in-law
Ruth (meaning uncertain), daughter-in-law
Boaz (means In Him is Strength), relative and wealthy owner of field


The Story
There’s a famine in the land of Bethlehem. A famine (often caused by a drought) is the perfect picture of a land that lacks spiritual sustenance: the Word of God and the Water of Life. What I love about this is that the very first verse tells us what to look for. The family this story is centered around BEGINS in Bethlehem, just like a certain Someone we know: Jesus. I could write another entire post about the significance of Bethlehem, but let’s just take a quick peek at these verses so you get the idea where the story of Ruth is going.

Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.


1Ch 11:17-18 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD,

John 7:37-38 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"

From these passages, we can see that Jesus is the source of the living water, which came from Bethlehem. But let’s step back in earthly time to Elimelech’s journey from Bethlehem. 

There was a famine there, driving the family to Moab, where his sons found Gentile brides. Can you imagine naming your son Tuberculosis, or Cancer? Well, apparently that seemed quite normal to Elimelech and his lovely bride, according to the unfortunate translations of their names above. Either these two parents didn’t really like their kids, or God is using the names to tell us something more about their condition. Look around you. There are an awful lot of Mahlon’s and Chilion’s around us, just wasting away from lack of living water, wouldn’t you say?


The family lived in Moab 10 years. Ten is not only the number of ordinal perfection, but also the number of a mighty work - did you know that? What mighty work might have been accomplished in those ten years, you ask? 

During that time, Elimelech died, as did the two sons who normally would have provided for their mother. Things were pretty dire for women without husbands back then. But without these sickly husbands, the ladies were able to marry healthy husbands, which might turn out to be rather fortuitous .

Sweet Naomi realized how dire the situation was, and that her daughters-in-law were even worse off. Naomi would return to the bosom of her Bethlehem family. She urges the young widows to go back to their own families in Moab, saying, “…it is exceedingly bitter for me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone forth against me.”

It’s bitter for Naomi that the Lord has gone against HER. She didn’t say that the Lord was against THEM, only HER. Why? They had lost their husbands, too. What if Naomi is representative of Israel, prophetically speaking? Her statement would make more sense if that were the case. God has turned against her, and not her Gentile daughters-in-law.

If Naomi represents Israel, that would indicate that God turned from Israel and held out His divine hand to the Gentiles.

However, even up to today, not all Gentiles have accepted God, have they? The same thing happens between Naomi’s DILs: one turns back to rejoin her people, and one remains with Naomi saying, “…where you go, I will go, and where you live I will live, and your God my God…”

That’s Ruth right there. She boldly declares that she will leave everything she is familiar with, every connection with her old life, and devote herself wholly to Naomi’s way of life, including God. The other half of the Gentile maiden pair does not make that commitment. You might call her the foolish half of the Gentile maidens. Just a thought. 

Mat 25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them;

Naomi realized that Ruth was committed to a future among her family, so they returned to Bethlehem together at the beginning of the barley harvest. It was a prolonged habitation in sinful Moab – ten years until the great work is completed. Do you think it really took ten years to recover from the famine?

More importantly, are you wondering what the great work of ten years was? Sounds to me like it was all about Ruth declaring she will join Israel (Naomi, the beloved), no longer as a mandatory association through marriage, but as a willing choice. 

Upon arrival, Naomi realizes she can no longer be called “My Beloved” since God has turned against her, and declares she will be known as Mara, which is very close to the name Merari. This was a division of the Levitical priests, which I also studied the significance of, if you’re interested. Mara means “bitterness” or “strength.” The gematria value is 421, and if gematria excites you, then H421 means “cry out.” This is the only place in which the word Mara occurs in scripture. 

You might also like knowing that Naomi changes her name to “cry out” in verse 1:19. Nineteen is the number representing God’s perfect order in judgement. According to Wikipedia, Psalm 119 contains 176 verses, and is the longest psalm as well as the longest chapter in the Bible. It is a prayer of one who delights in and lives by the Torah, the sacred law. Unlike most other psalms the author did not include his name in the text. The psalm is a regular part of all Judeo-Christian liturgies. Let’s move on.

Now that the gals are back in town, Ruth looks for a job to keep them fed. Ruth tells Naomi that she’s going to get grain to feed them from a field of a very close relative of Elimelech, her former husband. “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.”

Find favor? She sure did. She worked hard from early morning, until the end of the day, without so much as a ten minute water break. She relentlessly worked the barley harvest, and Boaz noticed. In fact, he even told her not to go into any other field to work, and to help herself to the water in the vessels the Israelites had drawn. 

In verse 2:14, her new master tells her to dip her bread into the wine to nourish herself, which looks a great deal like the meal Jesus ate with his disciples, doesn’t it? She has enough left over to share with Mara - a name which the author of this book refuses to call Naomi.

Boaz was so pleased with Ruth that he urged her to remain working in the field through both the Barley AND the Wheat harvest. Isn’t it wonderful that initially Naomi provides for Ruth, then Boaz provides for Ruth, who in turn provides what Boaz gave her to support Naomi? Israel provided Jesus, Jesus provided for us, and in turn our witness provides for Israel. Beautiful symmetry.

Now, Ruth is instructed to wash and anoint herself before going to the threshing floor. She goes, and the bride-to-be of Boaz waits concealed on the threshing floor until he is finished eating and drinking. Then, she comes to him quietly, symbolically demonstrating her willingness to marry Boaz by laying at his feet and asking him to provide a covering for her. He promises her that as a woman of worth, he will provide that covering for her. But, there is a nearer, unnamed relative* to her whose permission he must obtain. Who could possibly have the first rights to redeem this Gentile bride? Only God.

Boaz meets up with this nearer-kinsman and in front of ten elders of the city asks whether the kinsman will redeem the land that belongs to Naomi’s husband. Boaz asks in verse 4:4 (don’t you LOVE that verse number?):

“…If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you..." 


Boaz acknowledges that the nearer kinsman has the first right to redeem, just as Jesus always acknowledged the Father as the one who is first, and was very clear about his role in the Gospel:

John 5:19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

John 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

OK, readers. This post is already long, so let me stop here and finish in part 2. That’s where we find out who is redeemed by whom, and tie it all back to the wall I mentioned at the outset.

Would you like a hint? It involves the names Perez, Hezron, and Amminadab. You’re going to love it.

Keep looking up!

*This is a great time to draw the connection between Boaz, who will redeem Ruth, and the pillars at Solomon's temple. Boaz, we can clearly understand. Jachin, the other pillar, means "God Will Establish."

Comments

  1. Love the story of the kinsman redeemer! Amazing work as usual - your insight is anointed dear sister...

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  2. Helped me view this story in a whole new way! Beautifully told that draws me closer to the Love of God. thank you my sister!

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  3. 🇺🇸⭐️⭐️🇺🇸 Now we can build the wall, drain the swamp already. Find away get it done. I want results not excuses. The crises is real, IT'S VERY REAL. President Trump hasn't raised the bar, President Trump is the bar. Catch up with me on YouTube. Witty commentary:
    http://freesites.ourchurch.com/a/AncientHebrewScriptures/?page_id=96

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