Ankerberg; We're talking about this grand
story that is in the Old Testament, in the book of Ruth, about how this family experiences
tragedy. Three widows. And then you have a romance story, but you end up with a lady
by the name of Naomi that is still bitter. But she gets a child out the wedlock between
Boaz and Ruth. And there are some lessons to be learned, including why God put all this
information, this romance story and this tragedy about this family, into the Bible. What's
the importance, Erwin? Lutzer: Well, first of all let me say, remember
the book of Ruth took place during the time of the Judges. It was a time of confusion.
It was not easy to raise children in those days either. So for those of us who think
to ourselves that we're in difficult times, let's remind ourselves that the Bible is
full of stories that take place in times that are very bitter and difficult. And you're
absolutely right. We have three widows, and the story is Naomi comes back to Bethlehem.
Ruth, her daughter-in-law, comes with her. And Naomi says, I'm bitter. Don't call
me Naomi, call me bitter, because God has dealt harshly with me.
Now, of course, there is a wonderful lesson here also regarding community. Because what
happens is Ruth ends up becoming a part of the community, though she was a Moabitess,
and as a result of that she and Boaz marry and they have a child. Now, here's what is so important, and this
is really now the heart of why we're telling this story. What was God doing during those
days of famine? What was God doing during those days of hardship when this woman went
with her husband but came back a widow? Was God involved in this or does God back off
and say, Well, situations like this are ones in which I play no part? God was doing
something very special, because Naomi now becomes a grandmother, and Ruth, of course,
has the child. And the Bible says they named the child Obed. Why was the book of Ruth included in the Bible?
In the Bible, the genealogy of Jesus Christ is so very important, and God wants to show
all the way along the line how He has preserved that genealogy so Jesus Christ would be born.
And this is what we read. It says, that Boaz, who is now the husband of Ruth, fathered
Obed. By the way, regarding Naomi, it say that she became the nurse to the child.
In other words, she helped raise little Obed. And it was almost as if in her mind this
is my child, even though it was the child of her daughter-in-law. But it says, Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered
Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.In other words, little Obed really became in the genealogy
of Jesus Christ, and that was the whole point. And what is so important for us to realize
here, John, is that when Naomi dies she has no idea that this was God's intention. You
see, she was looking at it as a personal tragedy, which it was, the death of her husband, etc.,
the famine in the land of Bethlehem. God had something in mind that would be fulfilled
hundreds of years later. And I need to say to everybody who is listening,
we have no idea what God is doing through our trials and tragedies. God may be doing
certain things within our hearts. People that we touch, people that we influence, children
that we raise, grandchildren that we pray for, and He might have something entirely
different in mind. But we don't see it, do we? All that we see is Mara; we see the
bitter aspects of life. And what's so exciting to me is to realize that God had something
else in mind. Ankerberg: That's why we ought to trust
the Lord even when the circumstances are going bad. And folks that have circumstances that
are listening to this program, they can't figure it out, Erwin.
Lutzer: No, and you know what? The older I get the more I realize I can't figure it
out either. I have no idea why God deals so differently with people. You know, my parents
lived to a very old age. My father died at 106, my mother died at 103. They wanted to
go to heaven earlier. And yet you have young people who die. God's ways are very mysterious.
But here's the point; we don't have to understand what God is doing in order to trust
Him. You know, if God seems silent to some of the people who are listening today, we
ought to always keep in mind that the teacher is always silent during the exam. Let's