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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ruth, shelter of your wings, David

Join me on this journey. Months ago I fell in love with Jason Upton's song. Under the Shadow, which borrowed heavily from David's imagery in the Psalms about being under the shadow of God's wings. From there I pondered how this shepherd who used plenty of, sheep analogy's, came to use a bird to describe His God. Thanks to an assignment from our Youth Pastor to read the book of Ruth, and a Netflix video about Ruth I came to an amazing conclusion today, by the grace of God. In the video David's grandfather, Obed is telling him the story of Ruth, his great-great grandmother. In the story of Ruth we read how Boaz answered Ruth when she asked why she was being shown such favor. "May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge." This is the first usage in scripture of the concept of being under Gods' wings. Later in the book, when Ruth takes a huge chance and presents herself at Boaz's feet, she uses the same imagery in a plea for his mercy and love, and this time I am grateful for the foot note in the ESV, He said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings* over your servant, for you are a redeemer."
* Compare 2:12; the word for wings can also mean corners of a garment.
So here is the lovely continuum of the people of God. Ruth and Boaz told the story of their love to Obed who passed down that story with its wonderful imagery of being under the shadow of God's wings to David who used it at least 6 times in his Psalms (and one in particular may reveal where Boaz got the idea from. Psalm 61:4 "Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah" The wings in the tent would have been the angels wings covering the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant.) And now we Christians who run to God for mercy and get great comfort from the Psalms, benefit from these insights into the nature and character of our God.
There is conjecture that David was illegitimate, his great-great grandmother was a Moabite, it was against the Law for an Israelite to marry a Moabite, but God was working beyond the Law. Also the incest of Judah and Tamar is in the line of David, but God worked beyond that. His grace keeps on working as we keep on failing. This blessing from the people around Boaz and Ruth on the day he officially became her kinsman-redeemer is both amazing and intriguing. Ruth 4:11 All the people who were in the court, and the elders, said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel; and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem.
Rth 4:12 "Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the LORD will give you by this young woman." Giving a blessing to be like Rachel and Leah is 'typical' because through them the 12 tribes were birthed, but to give a blessing to be like Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, makes one think they were willing to bless this "unlawful" union because they remembered how God had shown mercy before, right in the lineage of Boaz to allow an unlawful situation to be in His plan for a coming king. And of course there is another scripture that uses both Bethlehem and Ephrathah in the same sentence..." But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days." Micah 5:2 the verse that the scholars in Herod's court knew pointed to the birth place of the Messiah. So I am just in awe today of the God who uses the weakest, lowest, smallest, most unlawful people to bring the Messiah to the world, yep He is still doing that today!
(And I have to add, it is my opinion that as the church goes through the tribulation as salt and light we will be persecuted yes, but we will be experiencing the "now" blessing of Revelation 12:10,11 "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." We who have benefited greatly by the truth of the Old Testament will be given the privilege of being a martyr witness to the Jews, much like Stephen was to Paul.) Rom 11:17 "But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree," It is all one tree, we are all one body, we will go through the tribulation together in love.)

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