The Cross in the Ketuvim

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Last week we continued our series at finding Jesus in the the Bible as Jesus and His disciples knew it. The scripture that was known to the Church was the called the TANAKH,which is actually an acronym meaning Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim.
Tanakh - תַּעְנָךְ
Torah (Teachings)- תּוֹרָה
Nevi’im (Prophets) - נביאים
Ketuvim (Writings) - כטובים
Last week we found Jesus in the second of the three scrolls that make up the Tanakh - the Nevi’im. This week we will take a look at the final scroll called the Ketuvim or the Writings.
Of all the scrolls this one was the most challenging. But Jesus Himself said that all the scriptures actually speak of Him.
John 5:39 NKJV
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
So today, I want us to open up the writings of scripture and go to the book of Ruth and start there.
Ruth 1:1–5 NKJV
Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion—Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.
So let’s unpack this passage, and believe me there is so much in this whole book to unpack, we’re not going to get into all of it, but I just want you to see how Jesus can be found in the most unexpected places.
First of all we see this family. Elimelech, Naomi and their two boys. Mahalon and Chilion. Now before we go too much further, we can see that the author has both a sense of irony and of foreshadowing. First of all for the irony. Here is Elimelech, whose name means my God is King, ironically moving from Israel to Moab. What do we know about Moab? Well let’s look at how Moab got started.
Genesis 19:30–38 NKJV
Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters were with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters dwelt in a cave. Now the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, “Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. And the younger, she also bore a son and called his name Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the people of Ammon to this day.
So this is a very disturbing story that we read in Genesis about a couple o very messed up young women, who as a result of their tainted hearts from having grown up in Sodom and Gomorrah, committed a vile act and as a result produced to groups of people who would come to vex the nation of Israel greatly. So abominable were that people, that Jews were forbidden to go and live amongst the Moabites, let alone marry them. Perhaps then, it is not too surprising that the two children of Elimelech and Naomi are named as they are. First Machalon which means diseased or sickly, and Chilion which means perishing. So here we have Elimelech who doesn’t live like his name, i mean if God is my the king, then why are you running to live in Moab and marrying your sons to the Moabites, a people that are cursed because of their family’s sin? And then we have the sick and dying who are just dying to fulfil the prophesy in their names. We know what happens next, both sons as well as Elimelech die leaving behind three widows. So what do you do if you’re a God-fearing jew stuck in a foreign land? Right, you go back to Israel to be amongst your people, and this is where we pick up the story.
Ruth 1:6–14 NKJV
Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread. Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!” Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
Ruth had to have been quite the Mother in Law to elicit such strong devotion from these two young women. Especially Ruth. She was able to convince Orpah, that it was not good to follow her, you see Naomi must have known how the two Moabite women would be treated upon returning to Israel. They would have been mocked and derided for being Moabites. This was not a life for them, and apparently Orpah understood this, but Ruth was not deterred, it says here that Ruth clung to her. Actually the Hebrew here says that she Dabaked to Naomi. Or glued herself to Naomi. Do you get the idea that Ruth wasn’t going anywhere? Yeah, so did Namoi, so after Ruth makes her famous appeal to stay with Naomi, they go back to Israel. Let’s pick it up there shall we?
Ruth 1:22 NKJV
So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Now they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
Do you see where they went? What do we know about that particular Bible town? Well, we know that’s where Messiah comes from, we also know that it is called the City of David. How interesting, and also how appropriate. The name itself actually comes from two Hebrew words. Beyt and Lechem. Beyt means house, and Lechem means bread, so literally the house of bread. It also has another meaning. The work Lechem and the bread it represents, is symbolic of womanhood, and the “house of a woman” is her uterus. So Beyt Lechem, was literally the womb of Israel. Just thought it was interesting how rich the Old Testament is with understanding of the coming Messiah.
So we continue,
Ruth 2:1–10 NKJV
There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!” Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house.” Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.” So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”
Again, we have Ruth being fully aware of her status as a foreigner, not just any foreigner, a Moabite! One born out of iniquity, and she takes the first opportunity to remind Boaz of that fact. But you see, Boaz has a secret as well. Let’s look.
Matthew 1:5 NKJV
Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,
Who was Boaz’ mamma? What was she famous for? Yep. She was a harlot. She was a foreigner! Do you really think Boaz really cared that Ruth was a foreigner? See Boaz grew up hearing the stories of women foreigners who had performed a service to Israel.
We know how the story goes Boaz is imminently impressed by her industry and her devotion to Naomi, she makes sure that his workers treat her right and Naomi instructs Ruth on the customs of the day.
Ruth 3:1–4 NKJV
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”
So Naomi gives Ruth the plan. Tells her, he’s a kinsman redeemer, he can redeem what death has stolen from you! And we know how the story goes, Ruth goes and lays down at Boaz’s feet and uncovers them and lets him know he’s a kinsman redeemer yadda yadda. Now look at what Boaz says about Ruth.
Ruth 3:10–11 NKJV
Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
Look at the term he use - virtuous woman! Did you know this is the first time any woman has been referred to using that term in the Bible? Did you know that Ruth is actually the example of the Virtuous woman of Proverbs 31? You do now! We all know what happens next. Ruth and Boaz are married after they clear up the who business about the closer redeemer, they get married and live happily ever after and then this:
Ruth 4:13–17 NKJV
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Here are some things that I want to point out. First of all. Ruth is a foreigner. She’s not a Jew, yet because of the law, she is brought into the nation of Israel. Does that remind you of anyone? Well it should remind you of you. You see, we have a kinsman redeemer that has redeemed you from being born in sin. Just like Ruth. And let’s talk about Boaz, he was the son of a prostitute. An Ruth and Boaz are the great-grandparents of none other than King David himself! In fact, according to halal laws, David is not qualified to be a Jew much less a king, but he was because of redemption. Fast forward, from whom was Mary, mother of Jesus descended? If you answered David, then you’d be right. So Jesus has a harlot and a Moabite in his blood line? Yes, and that positions Him perfectly to be the sacrifice not only for the Jews, but for the Gentiles as well.

Putting it all Together

Church, I don’t want you to ever believe that you are beyond the redemption of your kinsman redeemer. No matter where you’ve come from, no matter what your people have done. No matter what YOU may have done! The story of Ruth is a beautiful description of the relentless love of a redeemer who sees our true worth and who moves heaven and earth to redeem His beloved. Rejoice today that your redeemer lives, and that He has His eye on you.
Numbers 6:24–26 LHB
יְבָרֶכְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ׃
יָאֵ֨ר יְהוָ֧ה׀ פָּנָ֛יו אֵלֶ֖יךָ וִֽיחֻנֶּֽךָּ׃
יִשָּׂ֨א יְהוָ֤ה׀ פָּנָיו֙ אֵלֶ֔יךָ וְיָשֵׂ֥ם לְךָ֖ שָׁלֽוֹם׃
Ye va ra khe kha יְהוָ֖ה vehyish me re kha
ya'er יְהוָ֖ה panav ehlekha vihu ne ka
yisa יְהוָ֖ה panavv ehlekha vey-a-sem lekha shalom
Numbers 6:24–26 NKJV
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’
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