God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ruth, a woman of valor

10 A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away. 15 She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. 22 She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: 29 "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates. Proverbs 31
I am nearing the end of my study of the book of Ruth. I think I have more appreciation for the book than I did when I began this preaching series. One of the interesting tidbits I learned about Ruth has to do with it’s historical context. Ruth, in the Septuagint comes right after Proverbs. The idea is that the designated author of Proverbs (Solomon) wrote the last chapter about his great, great grandmother Ruth. Who is the only woman actually called Eishet Hayil, a capable wife, a woman of valor. a warrior. I think it is an interesting story for in 1 Kings 3:16-28 we are told that “Ruth the Moabitess, did not die until she witnessed Solomon, the son of her son, sitting in judgment over the case of the two prostitutes.” Whether real or apocryphal (a story to explain a history or make sense of what is written), this gives a different impression of Ruth based on where you read it in the cannon. When it comes before David as it does in the current ordering of the books of the Hebrew Scripture by history first, the story is a nice introduction to how King David’s line came to be. When it placed after Proverbs, we experience an example of a real woman of valor, a woman who takes the law and challenges people to live beyond common practice, to live as God intended not as it is written. Ruth is a woman who pushes us to believe that the world can be different and then set out to see that it happens. Ruth is a woman who comes to believe in God and then challenges others to be better in their faith. “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all (Proverbs 31:29).”

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