“In the day when the judges ruled….”
Ruth 1: 1
New International Version
“Pay Attention to What’s in the Sandwich”
“Isn’t it amazing that almost everyone has an opinion to offer about the Bible, and yet so few have studied it.”
What are the lessons I have learned and applied to my life which I have found in the Bible?
How have these lessons changed my life?
“God’s book of ‘grace’ is just like His book of nature; it is His thoughts written out. This great book, the Bible, this most precious volume, is the heart of God made legible; it is the gold of God’s love, beaten out into gold leaf, so that therewith our thoughts might be plated, and we also might have golden, good, and holy thoughts concerning Him.”
“Bibles laid open, millions of surprises.”
I love sandwiches. Two pieces of bread with something in the middle. One of my favorite sandwiches is crisp, white toasted bread with mayonnaise and sliced, fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, along with chunks of avocado and leaves of lettuce and some thin slices of cheddar cheese – and a dash of salt and onion powder. Yum! Yum! It makes my mouth water just to describe the sandwich.
Some people liken God’s Word to bread – the bread of life. Wholesome. Nourishing. And life-sustaining. I can easily understand why God’s Word is food for the soul.
Ever since we began our journey nearly one and-a-half years ago in Genesis, studying the first woman in the Bible, Eve, until today, I have found the Scripture to be a treasure that has an unlimited supply of wealth for my life. I couldn’t agree more with the words of George Herbert, “Bibles laid open, millions of surprises.” Because this is exactly what has happened as we have opened God’s Word to study about His daughters and sons, too.
What’s more, I have certainly found this truth to be evident in our study of the book of Judges. Every day, chapter-by-chapter and verse-by-verse I feel as if we have been excavating diamonds and nuggets of gold as we’ve looked at the way God deals with His children in the best times and the worst times of our lives.
If someone asked me what kind of bread the book of Judges is -- I’d have to say it’s like slices of twelve-grain bread – there’s a little bit of everything in this book. But one thing about the book of Judges, it is filled with a great deal of nourishment, for every chapter in this book, has a lesson that applies to your life and mine.
With all the disobedience, mayhem, and unlawful behavior that was the result of everyone doing, “what was right in their own eyes,” it might be easy to come away from Judges with the viewpoint that everything was falling apart during this time in history. Without a doubt, as the book ends, and one of God’s daughters had been repeatedly raped and left to die unattended, things couldn’t have sunk much lower! In fact, the thought went through my mind, “How could God want to call people who acted this way ‘His children?’” Even some of the Judges God appointed turned out to be philandering, polygamists who disregarded their heavenly Father’s guiding hand. You might have thought God would say, “I’ve had it. I’m going to find some new children”
But then, as the Bible so wonderfully does, new treasure is revealed. It is found in the book of the Bible that follows Judges – the book of Ruth. And we don’t have to look far for this little gem to shed a dazzling flash of light on what we have been studying in Judges for the last few months. As we have been kneading our way through the heavy dough that made up the complex bread which was the slices of Judges, we could easily have missed something. That is, if our wise heavenly Father hadn’t placed the book of Ruth in the Bible, right after the book of Judges. This small book, which is only four chapters long, begins with these stunning words: “In the days when the judges ruled” (Ruth1: 1).
It’s as though, right in the middle of our sandwich of heavy bread, we uncover a thick, delicious, and delightful scoop of strawberry jam. That tasty, sweet, flavorful delicacy that suddenly gives a new flavor and taste to our sandwich. If we weren’t digging and studying and hunting, we’d completely miss God’s little present. For it’s what is in the middle of the sandwich that tells us what God was doing during some of the most discouraging and tragic days in Judges. Right in the middle of all the evil, God was at work. For the story of Ruth, Scripture tells us, took place when the “Judges ruled.”
I find this fact fills me with a great deal of hope. It’s like finding the jam in the middle of the sandwich. It’s God in charge when it doesn’t look like it.
But most of all, it’s the reason we study God’s Word. As we open the Bible, a surprise is found right in the middle – a sweet, tasty surprise that reminds us our Father knows what He is doing and is watching out for His children, even when we don’t realize it.
“The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think. No book in the world equals the Bible for that.”
“Grant us the knowledge that we need
To solve the questions of the mind;
Light Thou our candles while we read,
To keep our hearts from going blind;
Enlarge our vision to behold
The wonders Thou hast wrought of old;
Reveal Thyself in every law,
And gild the towers of truth with holy awe.”
Henry van Dyke
“Blessed Lord, by whose providence all holy scriptures were written and preserved for our instruction, give us grace to study them this and every day with patience and love. Strengthen our souls with the fullness of their divine teaching. Keep from us all pride and irreverence. Guide us in the deep things of thy heavenly wisdom, and of thy great mercy lead us by thy Word unto everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.”
Brooke Foss Westcott
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, ChristianBook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal.
If you would like to purchase When A Woman Meets Jesus at a 30%-50% quantity discount for your Women’s Ministry Program or for Bible Study Groups, please visit: www.direct2church.com or email [email protected].
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.