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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Oct. 25, 2008

  • 2008 Oct 25
  • COMMENTS
 

Christ in Joshua, Judges, and Ruth

 

 

JOSHUA:  Joshua stands at the gateway to the Land of Promise. Where Moses [the Law] could never go, Joshua [a type of Christ] enters and conquers. In Hebrews 11 a forty year gap between the Red Sea and the Jordan marks this period of no faith leading up to the faithful Leader Joshua was. The book of Joshua divides into two halves. The first fourteen chapters describe the conquest of Canaan, about 1406-1400 B.C., whereas 15-24 relate the division of the land among the tribes. Contrary to Numbers [God chastening His disobedient people], which precedes it, and Judges [God judging His wayward people], which follows it, Joshua emphasizes God [YAHWEH] blessing His people when they obey Him. God fulfils His promises by bringing His people to the land. They are to conquer and settle this land. As long as they obey He will fight for them. If they disobey they must serve the nations around them. Thus the Book of Joshua portrays the unchanging truths that lead us to Victory. There is TRIUMPH for those who:

 

I.                  WALK BY THE WORD [Joshua 1-5] Joshua 1:8 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (NKJV)

II.              WIN BY FAITH [Joshua 6-22] Joshua 10:8 And the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you." (NKJV)

III.           WAIT FOR GOD [Joshua 23-24] Joshua 24:14-15 Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! 15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (NKJV)

 

JUDGES: The Deadly Danger of Compromise! The Book of Judges stands as the seventh book of the Scriptures. The message of this book sobers our hearts. All of us have the potential to fail as grievously as they failed. Sin is an ever present enemy to be hated and avoided at all costs. Compromising the Word of God or the walk of faith brings disastrous results. God commands us to steer clear of all worldly entanglements and pursue Him. In the book of Judges we meet 12 judges, view 7 tragic cycles where Israel sinned, served, supplicated and were saved and 2 appendices portraying the deadly danger of compromise. As we turn to Judges, we enter a book covering four hundred years of biblical history. Several other important periods span 400 years in the Scriptures. Remember these Four Hundred years segments?

        From Abraham’s birth to Joseph’s death is 400 years.

        From Joseph’s death to the Exodus is 400 years.

        From the Exodus to King Saul is 400 years.

        From King Saul to the Exile is 400 years.

        From the prophet Malachi to John the Baptist is 400 years.

 

I.                  WALKING IN OBEDIENT FAITH REAPS DELIGHTS [1:1-18] A life of blessing, victory and conquest is offered by God and taken by them.

II.              FORSAKING GODLY OBEDIENCE REAPS DISASTERS [1:19-16:31] A life of defeats, bondage, servitude and captivity. We may ask how and why did they forsake godly obedience? What may we learn from their steps down?

A.                They TOLERATED the enemies of God and did not drive them out! [1:19, 21, 27] They left remnants of the Canaanites lodged among them. Slowly the influence of sin pervaded their lives. That would be like Christians today holding on to cigarettes, alcohol, rock music and pornography.

B.                They CYCLED downward in disobedience away from the Lord. Starting in 2:11 they sinned, in 2:14 God sold them to oppressors and they served, in 2:15 they cried to or supplicated the Lord and 2:16 He saved or delivered them. This pattern goes on for six more times. Each servitude is more fierce and harsh upon them.

C.                They NEGLECTED pursuing the knowledge of God. [2:10] That would be a lack of prayer, Scripture reading and study, memorization and ministry. Do you read, pray, study, memorize and serve the Lord?

D.               They MINGLED by intermarrying with the pagans [3:6]. They shared life with those who denied their Master and learned their evil ways. This would show up in our lives as modern dancing, bars, wild parties, exposure to indecent movies, compromising dating relationships, immodest clothing and a basic hunger for holy living.

E.                They ABANDONED the exclusiveness of God by following other gods. [3:7]. This direction taken by Israel is known as syncretism, the blending together of various religions. The idols of the pagans were actually demons doing Satan’s bidding.

F.                 They HARDENED is what their consciences became. They had lived so long with defiled minds sin no longer pained them [17:6]. We see this in the growing insensitivity to sin all around us and even in the church.

G.               They DEPARTED from their true King and Ruler, the Lord! [21:25]. Defeat always lies before those who do what is right in their own eyes.

III.           REMAINING IN DISOBEDIENCE REAPS DESTRUCTION [17-21] Continuing in ungodliness results in a life of destruction, declension, defilement, darkness and despair. There are two horrible illustrations of this in the closing chapters.

 

RUTH:  In the beautiful little book of Ruth we meet “The Woman who would not turn back”! The book of Ruth opens during the period of the Judges when apostasy, decadence, violence, anarchy and warfare were the norm. Famine strikes Bethlehem which means a house of bread. In this time of need, Elimelech which means my God is King, seems to depart from the plan and desires of God. He takes Naomi which means pleasantness and favor, away from the land of promise and the covenant people of God into the land of Israel’s enemies, Moab. With them go their two sons Mahlon which means joy or song, and Chilion which means ornament or perfection. These men seem to have stepped out of the revealed will of God in His Word, by marrying pagan, gentile women of God’s enemies.

 

Away from the land of promise in Moab [descendants of Lot who worshiped Chemosh a god of human sacrifice by burning], Elimelech [my God is King] dies and so does Mahlon [joyful song] and Chilion[ornament of perfection]. After ten years of hardship Naomi [pleasant sweetness] becomes Mara [bitterness]. With all those she ever loved buried beneath the sod of Moab [her husband and two sons]. She finally looks back at the land of promise because food is available in Bethlehem. As she sets off to return home she asks her daughter-in-laws to go back to their families and find a new life. In one of the most touching moments of the Scriptures, Ruth [satisfied, fullness] clings to Naomi and the God of Israel. Orpah [stiff necked, double minded] departs for her people in Moab.

 

The two main sources of extra biblical history on this period are the widely respected references Encyclopaedia Judaica and the Jewish Encyclopedia both record the historical note that Orpah and Ruth were descendants of Eglon King of Moab. When Orpah left Naomi, forsook the God of Israel, embraced the gods of Moab, married and bore a child and from her descendents came Harafu the mother of the four Philistine giants, one who was named Goliath. It is fascinating to think that David, Ruth’s grandson met and destroyed Goliath, Orpah’s grandson. The result of a simple turn in the path of life. What a great difference small decisions make.

 

I.                 even in the smallest texts we find are full of god!

II.             even in the darkest times we can shine for god!

III.         even the remotest places yeild fruit for god!

A.                We can find hidden blessings in otherwise boring genealogies: Noah was the 10th generation and we see in him a God who saves by grace [Gen. 6:8]. Abraham the 20th generation and we see in him a God who calls by election [Gen. 12:1]. Boaz the 30th generation and we see a God who offers hope [Ruth] What does this mean? Love that doesn’t falter or change is the message of Ruth. Hope for Jews and Gentiles may be found in the love of a God who takes in a gentile Ruth.

B.                We can find powerful challenges for dedicated Christian:

1.                Following the Lord takes definite choices. [Ruth clings to Naomi]

2.                Following the Lord often means we must leave behind things that were once dear. [Ruth leaves behind her old family]

3.                Following the Lord demands constant discipline. [Ruth could see her old home in the hills of Moab every day in the fields of Bethlehem]

4.                Following the Lord offers incredible rewards. [Ruth is invited into the family of Boaz, the line of David, the lineage of the Messiah Jesus Christ]

 

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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