Divine Deliverance #6: Ruth

Jeffrey Seif: If I was
holding up a newspaper, I’d say, “Extra, extra! Read all about it!” This is a cover story. It’s an exclusive and the
headliner goes something like this. If you look at all the Bible’s
major redemptive characters, not all of them are men. Off we go now to one of the
more famous women in the Hebrew Bible. ♪♪♪ male announcer: From the
beginning, our Creator revealed his will to the common man. Individuals listened to his call
and responded in obedience, from the first Hebrew Avraham to
the culmination of salvation in Messiah himself, the Lord
faithfully intervenes with his divine deliverance. ♪♪♪ David Hart: Thank you for
joining us today on “Zola Levitt Presents.” I’m David Hart. Kirsten Hart:
I’m Kirsten Hart. Jeffrey: Jeffrey Seif. David: Today we’re in the
middle of our series, “Divine Deliverance.” We’ve been talking about heroes
of the Bible, and today we’re talking about Ruth. Is she a hero? Jeffrey: A beautiful story
of loyalty. It all began there,
loyalty to a mother-in-law. Kirsten: Which is rare. Jeffrey: In today’s economy,
yes. Well, loyalty–anyone sticking
with anyone in today’s economy is a rare story, never
mind a mother-in-law. Kirsten: And this–she is
mentioned in the lineage of Jesus, so she’s very
important in the Bible. Jeffrey: Yes. Kirsten: “Where
you go, I’ll go. Where you stay, I’ll stay,” is
one of the famous lines that we know of from Ruth. Now here’s the story of Ruth and
Naomi, followed by teaching with Dr. Seif. narrator: Grief-stricken by
the death of her husband and two sons, Naomi’s return to
Bethlehem has not been a pleasant one. Her daughters-in-law have
accompanied her and offered their support, but it
all seems so hopeless. [speaking Hebrew] ♪♪♪ [speaking Hebrew] Jeffrey: What’s particularly
important to me is the dramatic tension between those women. But before getting to it, I
wanna speak to the backdrop of it, something I think we can all
relate to, and that is sometimes when family economies go bad,
it sets in motion all kinds of tension,
problems, and movements. The family was in Moab,
modern Jordan, and things just dried up. Things weren’t good. There was death.
There was tragedy. They came to Moab originally
because there was a famine in Bethlehem. That’s why Naomi and the family
went, but things have improved. The backdrop to our story now
is a woman, a Hebrew woman, an Israelite, who’s
returning to the homeland. And interestingly, an
Arab woman comes with her. It’s a beautiful story of family
loyalty, and I like it too because we’re looking at a
woman, Ruth, whose beauty, whose loyalty to her
mother-in-law–you know, mothers-in-law are subjected to
a lot of jokes, and the God’s honest truth, I’ve told one or
two, but here there’s a woman who is so connected
to her mother-in-law. Naomi is going back to Bethlehem
to face an uncertain future. She doesn’t really know what
the outcome’s going to be. And neither does Ruth,
but just Ruth is so loyal. And that sterling virtue that
she possesses, Ruth possesses, has left such a mark on
the language that to be without virtue is said to
be, quote, ruthless. I like the story in the text in
chapter 1, verse 16, in Hebrew, “Ki el asher, telechi elek,”
“Where you go, I will go.” And she stuck with
mom, and you know what? She experienced a future that
was beyond her wildest dreams. A lot of people are driven by
circumstance, and to be sure, circumstance is driving this. Depravation is driving this. Lack of income, lack of work
drove the family, Naomi, and her husband, and sons, to Moab,
away from the promised land. And then abysmal circumstances
in Moab, modern Jordan, drove ’em back. And it’s interesting, the
drivers behind the story are difficulties and human affairs
that we all face, but what fascinates me is how redemption
and deliverance emerges from this. When we think of deliverance,
we think of kings, generals, and saviors. I get that, but here there’s a
story of deliverance coming not through power, not through
pomp, but through peasantry. You saw the tattered
robes of these women. They’re not
wearing fancy regalia. They’re just wearing the inner
beauty of a beautiful inner disposition. And out of that, God is going
to bring forth the woman who is gonna give birth to the
Savior of Israel, not just in a spiritual sense, as in Jesus,
because Ruth is mentioned in his genealogy, but
similarly to the line of David. It’s a great story and it’s a
story that we’re gonna attend. narrator: So Boaz
took Ruth as his wife. ♪♪♪ narrator: And the Lord
blessed them with a son. Jeffrey: Truth be known, I
almost hate to interrupt the drama or to come out of it
because the teaching is so much in the pictures. It’s such a beautiful story of
finding love at the ragged edge of life. Boaz is gonna be dead in short
order and Ruth is going to go on and bring forth a line that’s
gonna facilitate in a material and spiritual sense
the salvation, the deliverance of Israel. It’s a beautiful story, and
just finding love itself is a beautiful story. Just finding blessing. You know, Ruth, it’s
this rags to riches story. It’s this from being unemployed
and getting a great job. Anyone that’s experienced
the contrast can relate. And if what you’re experiencing
right now is depravation, not resolution, well it holds out
hope in the biblical text that life can turn
around, and it does. Oftentimes we go down the aisle
when we’re married and we say, “I do,” but the first “I do”
or the first “I will” wasn’t a transaction
between Ruth and Boaz. It was between someone else. In chapter 3, verse 5, I’ll give
it to you first in the Hebrew, “Kol asher tom’ri elai e’eseh.” It translates, “Ruth said
to her, ‘I will do everything you say.'” The advice was
given through Naomi, the mother-in-law, “Listen honey,
I wanna give you some advice.” And there’s a younger woman
who’s minded to abide it. Now, that in and of itself, by
the way, is a message for today where the young tend to press
against the previous generation. It’s all about autonomy,
and younger people are less inclined. I know for me with my boys, the
way to not see a relationship get started is for
me to advise it. How could I possibly be
right in these affairs? But here, there’s a story of a
woman who says, “Honey, listen to me,” and a little matchmaker
going on, but good things came from that. I believe that God has great
plans for our lives, and there could be some that are
listening that are experiencing depravation. This story began by depravation
in Bethlehem, so they went to Moab, modern Jordan. Depravation and tragedy in
Jordan, so they go back with little more than the
ragged clothes on their back. They go back to Bethlehem
to face an uncertain future. And here’s this woman, Ruth. Folk could’ve said, “Oh,
here’s this Arab woman. What’s she doing here?” or whatever, but it’s
not a racist culture. And by the way, Jews are not
racist people as a rule of thumb, contrary to
popular misconception. But it’s a story where you could
say these women have it all stacked against them. They’re acted upon forces beyond
their control that tend to be more negative than
positive, but you know what? God can pull the rabbit out of
the hat, make the miracle to happen. He did and he does. Great things to come in Ruth’s
life through this wonderful son that was born through this
miracle-made union, a match made in heaven. announcer: Our offer on this
program, the DVD, “Ruth: Your People Shall Be My People,”
shot on location in Israel. Miles and Katherine provide some
wonderful insights regarding one of the Bible’s
all-time heroines. Ruth forsakes her own land and
people in Moab and joins her Jewish mother-in-law on an
extraordinary journey that brings hope and
redemption to all. A love story for the ages. Eight programs on two DVDs. Cal 1-800-WONDERS and ask for
the DVD, “Ruth: Your People Shall Be My People.” male: Hi, thanks for
watching “Zola Levitt Presents.” You know, besides our television
program, you can also reach us at levitt.com, as well as
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love to receive your mail. And as always, you can call us. We’d love to hear your
voice at 1-800-WONDERS. And don’t forget, your donations
are what enable us to keep going. Thank you so much. Jeffrey: Appreciate all of
you that care to keep us on the air. It means a lot, and I know that
the Lord has a way of visiting you with special blessings
as you look to be a blessing to others. That in fact dovetails
with the story of the day. There’s Ruth, who’s
minded to be a blessing. And it turns out the greatest
blessing in the world comes through her for the world as
she stands as a matriarch for the messianic line. God’s got great plans for people
who go out of their way to plan to bless other people. We’re gonna enter into a world
now where women are so thrilled to see new life that’s come and
the hand of God in the making. narrator: Naomi’s life
has completely changed. Once overcome by despair at
the loss of her husband and two sons, she’s found new hope in
the birth of Ruth’s son, and the women of Bethlehem
are equally delighted. [speaking Hebrew] narrator: There’s reason for
celebration here at the city’s gate. A once tragic story has
miraculously turned for the good. Heartbroken at the loss of her
family while in Moab, Naomi has returned with her
daughter-in-law Ruth and become a vital chapter in the
love story for the ages. Ruth, ever faithful to Naomi and
the God of Israel, has gained a loving redeemer in Boaz. And now on a little road in
Bethlehem of Judah, they rejoice over the son of Ruth and Boaz. And they name the child
Obed, meaning “Servant of God.” Obed would become the father of
Jesse, and Jesse would become the father of David,
king of all Israel. Rejoice they should, and it’s
just begun here in this little town of Bethlehem. Jeffrey: Moving drama,
is it not? Great story to be sure, and
the Bible is full of that. People that are just pushed to
the ragged edge, but God brings beauty out of ashes. It so fascinates me how
deliverance comes through very difficult circumstances. And it happens on more than one
occasion and it’s facilitated through women in the Bible,
interestingly, women that are tortured by lack of success,
mothering problems, birthing problems I should say, and
so forth, but God has a way. Here we’re told, as we noted
when we saw it visually depicted in chapter 4, verse 16, that
Naomi, the mother-in-law, took the child, and held the child,
and then all her neighbors are coming and doting on the child. Little did they know how
special the child would be. There’s a tradition in the
Jewish world, by the way, when boys are born to say, “And
this one might be the Messiah.” Well, truth be known, this
one was giving birth to the lineage here. This woman, Ruth, was holding
Obed, whose name is “Servant.” We’re told in verse 18, it
begins, “Eleh tol dot,” “These are the generations.” And by the way, the same kind
of context and the same kind of words are the opening words of
the ultimate deliverance story in the Bible, in Matthew chapter
1, verse 1, “Sefer toldot ha-Yeshua ha-Mashiach,
Ben-David, Ben-Avraham.” “The book of the genealogies,”
or the book of the generations, “of Jesus the Messiah,” Ben
David, “the son of David,” Ben-Avraham,” the
son of Abraham. In as much as the Ruth text
speaks of the beginning of generativity, here you can
see where this all points to. It’s interesting, by the way. In the genealogies of Yeshua in
the newer testament, there are a number of women who are
participants in the drama. They’re named. And Tamar is named, she was a
woman blacklisted in effect. Judah, her father-in-law,
disrespected her, and he had wicked sons who died
and he blamed the woman. And she however is going
to, through interesting circumstances,
give birth to a son. She’s in the line. Ruth is noted in the line as
well, and she is a Jordanian. She had a Jordanian passport,
an Arab woman if you will, a beautiful woman. And Bathsheba is noted, who was
married to a man from Turkey. I say that because Uriah the
Hittite, if you look where the Hittites frequented, were on the
Anatolian Peninsula, Asia Minor, modern Turkey. There’s lots of
interesting people in the drama. I don’t think God’s a racist and
I don’t think you find that in the Hebrew Bible. You find in the lineage of
Yeshua a lot of people from the region that have come
together to give birth to the king of the Jews. In fact, it’s interesting, for
my money, even when you look at the Matthean text, the
Gospel of Matthew, the first to acknowledge Yeshua are not
women and men of Jewish extract. It never says there were three
wise men that came, that’s just a tradition, but the fact
that they came with gold, frankincense, and myrrh attest
to them being what we’d call Arabic traders. These are commodities that were
moved around on dromedaries, on camels, by Arab peoples. It was a major trade in
that part of the world. It’s a beautiful story about
estranged Arab cousins coming to worship he who is
King of the Jews. Deliverance is fascinating,
lots of surprises, yes? It’s a rhetorical
question when I say, “Yes?” I’m kind of asking, but I think
I know the answer to it, and I hope that you
know the answer too. We’re looking at the drama of
the ages as found in the pages and we’re tracing the story of
deliverance, how it came through this book and I
hope it came to you. David: All of us at this
desk have been a part of church ministry for years, and I just
gotta say, I’m thankful for a wife that has been obedient, I
guess is the word, following me when I’m called to a different
city and ministry, and that’s happened quite a bit in my life. I guess that’s kind of our
theme today of following. Jeffrey: Well, certainly
that’s the case with Ruth, but to your point, it’s amazing what
we guys put our women through whether we’re called
to the ministry or not. They go on a journey with us, in
the process of which they lose their figures to having children
with us, they spend their–not that you have done that, but the
point is they lose their youth and lose a certain
amount of control. A male is a powerful creature
and a woman attaches to that and goes down the road. My goodness, the implication
for a woman’s life are profound. You think? Kirsten: It is, but where you
go–I mean, I know it’s Ruth’s saying, but where
he goes, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay,
but that’s because we’re in a marriage together
and that kind of bond. So what is amazing about Ruth is
to her mother-in-law she said, “To my mother-in-law, not my
husband, where you go, I will go. Where you stay,”
which led her–what? Jeffrey: It’s all the more
amazing when she’s saying it to her mother-in-law,
not to a spouse. Kirsten: Right?
I know. Jeffrey: I get the point,
but no mother-in-law jokes now. This is national TV. Kirsten: No, ’cause mine
watches and I’m not talking about you at all. Jeffrey: But it does speak
to the point, there is a kind of loyalty there. Speaking of which,
it discourages me. Honestly, I was
thinking of this today. I’ve been getting too many phone
calls, and texts, and e-mails about divorce, and
breakup, and marriages, all this disintegration,
this splintering. Here we’re looking at undying
resolve by way of contrast. Kirsten: And if she had not
stayed with Naomi, she would never have met Boaz. She would never have been
in the lineage of Yeshua. Jeffrey: Ah, so does loyalty
and faithfulness to God and his plans pay dividends? David: There’s an outcome.
Kirsten: It’s good. David: Right.
Kirsten: I know. We would talk about this
forever, but we have limited time. We’ll be right back. ♪♪♪ ♪ Sha’alu shalom
Yerushalayim. ♪ ♪ Sha’alu, sha’alu,
shalom. ♪ ♪ In the holy city
of Jerusalem, ♪ ♪ we will pray for peace. ♪ ♪ Sha’alu shalom. ♪♪ Kirsten: I am a grandma. My grandma name is Gram-cracker,
so I want to say a special word to all of your grandparents
today that are missing your grandkids and missing
having time with your children. You wanna know a wonderful way
to spend time with your kids and those grandbabies? Take ’em on a trip to Israel. It will change their life
spiritually, an investment in their life spiritually, will
also give you time with them. Levitt.com is our website. Sign ’em up for a
trip to the holy land. Now let’s hear some
music by Zola Levitt. ♪♪♪ ♪ Homeland forever. ♪ ♪ Land of Messiah. ♪ ♪ Israel, my love. ♪ ♪ Our God watches thee. ♪ ♪ Does the rose still
bloom in the desert? ♪ ♪ Does the olive
tree bask in the sun? ♪ ♪ Do the children laugh? ♪ ♪ Are the soldiers home? ♪ ♪ Is the age-old
fighting done? ♪ ♪ Has Messiah come? ♪ ♪ Has the King returned? ♪ ♪ Are we saved? ♪ ♪ Oh blessed be he. ♪ ♪ When the King
comes home ♪ ♪ to the land he loves,
can we live, ♪ ♪ can we pray, can we be? ♪ ♪ Israel, my love. ♪ ♪ Israel, my promised. ♪ ♪ Chosen of God. ♪ ♪ Chosen for me. ♪ ♪ Homeland forever. ♪ ♪ Land of Messiah. ♪ ♪ Israel, my love. ♪ ♪ How God watches
thee. ♪♪ Jeffrey: I love
telling the story of Ruth. And harking to Kirsten’s
point earlier, she was obedient. A misunderstood term, by the
way, from the Latin meaning “Inclining to the voice.” That is to say, within Ruth,
she inclined herself to hear. She heard God’s voice through
her mother-in-law and the rest is history, yes? Kirsten: Right, to stay,
to go, and then Boaz came. And as I mentioned earlier, then
Yeshua came from her eventually. It’s a beautiful story of
deliverance from death to life. David: And he
still speaks to us today. Jeffrey: It surely does. Would that we all
listened for the voice. Thanks for paying
attention to ours. As you go now, sha’alu
shalom Yerushalayim. David: Pray for
the peace of Jerusalem. announcer: Our monthly
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