United States


00:00:00Hello, my friends and welcome to the robcast. This is episode number 246 you and me and Ruth to so before we get to Part 2, I'll be on tour this summer and two weeks. I'll be in Kentucky and Louisville. Haven't been to Louisville like a decade of Chattanooga and Knoxville Tennessee. It's the introduction to Joy tour and the store so much fun. And then in July, I'll be in Seattle Portland and San Francisco and then August I'm actually speaking at a festival in Norway.
00:00:50And the olevs Fest in Trondheim and then I'm doing an event and Denmark called an evening with Rob Bell. And then after that the introduction to Joy tour continues with Bristol London Manchester, and then I'm doing three nights at New Theater in Edinboro as part of The Fringe Festival. So covering a fair bit of ground and would love to see you at any of those all the info for that and tickets details Etc is a trouble. Calm and then tickets are also up for the full two days which are all about the art of communicating and so if you're working on
00:01:34Ideas that need shape and form a br. Stuck. Maybe your brand new to this maybe even doing this for a while. You found yourself in a bit of a rut. I'm doing these workshops which are very practical mixed with conceptual right is that makes sense? And actually these fall two days where you come I'm taking over The Improv Comedy Club here in Los Angeles for two days. But this is the first time I've done a two-day where you can email ahead the question specific questions about what you're working on and then I'm shaping the two days around new content I have and then specifically addressing the things that people who are coming are asking about so oh my word good times coming our way.
00:02:22So there's a few things going on. But now here we go. You and me and Ruth part 2 because there's this book called Ruth. It's doing Joshua Judges would like the 8th book in the Bible. It's only four chapters. It's told from the female perspective women run. The story women are the catalysts women are the engine of the story. They move the plot along very interesting and there's all these interesting questions about why is this book in the Bible? And literally if you look across like a scholarly literature the theories and explanations as soon as you find one explanation, you'll find 20 other people going now, that's not really valid. That's not a good enough explanation. So even has this? Around why did people for literally thousands of years find this story something to repeat?
00:03:22To retell to keep in the middle of sacred text now it's a love story and there's all these interesting things going on just below the surface of your read it you're not really fuzzy white people found it fascinating and we're going to get into some of that somebody explanations and then I want to show you what I think is going on here. And why why it's so huge for us right here. And right now in part one. I talked about all the particulars and how
00:03:55When you read an ancient story you're going far enough into the story that you can find yourself and that this is it's like muscles you build up the ability to find yourself in another person. If you look far enough into them, you'll find yourself and that this is almost like a skill that has it. Anyways been lost in the modern world, especially with the internet which severs people from the particulars about Twitter where it's just this sentence and in this person responds with this sentence, it's communication severed from flesh and blood from location from geography from story. It's just an isolated sentence clobbering another isolated sin, which then throw some fists and then this person it's just it's like decontextualized words. No wonder we're more polarized than ever and so on.
00:04:55Ways back in is growing in your ability to whoever you're interacting with asking where am I here? Because it's some level we've all lost. We've all been we've all been lost. We've all been betrayed. We've all lost somebody we love we all struggle. We're all trying to pay the bills and do it with some Integrity in Seoul, right? Are you working on this at some level? There's a human experience that were all having and in one of the beautiful things that happens.
00:05:31When you join in a tradition or a lineage and you gather around an ancient sacred text is what you're doing is your encircling that text as people haven't circled it for thousands of years. You're joining in a human Community as a way of like someone's like training yourself to look Beyond yourself to see your own history and story in the history and stories of others because you find them that you're not alone, but you also find this profound sense that were in this together. Now, you can actually maybe make some progress together. So that's what we looked at chapter 1 of Ruth. There's this family and there's a famine in Bethlehem Bethlehem the House of Bread. So there's no bread in the House of Bread Bethlehem is in Israel. And so these people this family
00:06:31Black and his wife Naomi and their two sons. They had to a foreign land to the neighbor. Land Moab in Moab was like the evil empire next door. They were the arch enemy. How about because of forces Beyond these people control mainly famine. They are on the move and they have to go wherever there's bread. And that happens to be the arch. Enemy next door. They settle there in Moab the sun's Mary.
00:07:00And then the sons died and the husband dies and we're left with Naomi and her two moabite daughters-in-law eventually Naomi. Here's that there is now food back in Bethlehem the famines over and so she heads back and the daughter of the her to for his former daughter-in-law's all over Ruth and orpah but then there's this moment where Naomi is like, why are you coming with me? Like you would be foreigners there. You would have no rights. You would be extremely vulnerable. Why would you come with me go back to your families in Moab and and find some new husbands and get on with your lives and is just really interesting part where she says, why would you come with me? Do you even if I got pregnant tomorrow you have to wait around for my sons to grow up? It's funny you by the way right there subversive very funny. And so or pist here's all this the one daughter launch. He's like he has a good point.
00:08:00Interns in hotel room, but Ruth for reasons unknown in this we explored a bit in part 1 for reasons. Unknown route says know where you go I go your people will be my people. Your God will be my God for some reason this woman roof is bound to her former mother-in-law and says, no I'm going with you.
00:08:23Which is a great risk for her space in the ancient near East at this time a widow with no larger Clan tribe that she is associated with for protection is extraordinary vulnerable, which is why by the way, you see prostitution playing a particular role in the ancient world is prostitution is essentially how a woman who's all alone in many ways. That was her last resort to literally put some food on the table for herself. So was far less of some sort of moral choice and more like a last-ditch attempt to stay alive might be a way to see that so it's all sorts of like historical social factors for the whirling around in the story and you have this really interesting thing. The Storyteller does is the Storyteller doesn't tell us
00:09:20Why Ruth?
00:09:23Insists on putting herself in this precarious position by following her former mother-in-law back to her for mother-in-law's home. Like she says in chapter 1 may the Lord deal with me ever so severely if even death separates you and me when Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her. She stopped urging so the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them and women explained can this be Naomi don't call me Naomi. She told them call me Mara because the Almighty which means bitter because the almighty has made my life. Very bitter I went away.
00:10:08But the Lord has brought me back empty why call me Naomi Lord has Afflicted me. The almighty has brought Misfortune on me. So Naomi with the loss of her husband and her sons.
00:10:22Is in such Agony such anguish that she literally renames herself after our propane know. I'm no longer Naomi which essentially means pleasure and delight in Hebrew such as I'm no longer pleasure and Delight. I am bitter because God has taken from me and Afflicted me like this. So she places the blame firmly on her God.
00:10:49and that's where chapter 1 ends so
00:10:55Here we have Ruth from Moab who's new in town. She's a widow. She's a foreigner. She's from a different nation that has a different God and in some ways anything with the ancient near East these different regions had different gods. So when you moved in among these different places these different spaces had different deities that we're seeing is sort of governing ruling over these now a radical idea in this Jewish Story. One of the many radical ideas is of a Divine being who isn't confined to geography who's in all spaces. So you can see that this tension throughout the Hebrew scriptures of this new idea of expanded essentially expanded human consciousness of not just a regional God who has like a statue carved of that God but of a of a God who
00:11:55Refuses any sort of physical representation. So sort of infant formulas without edges are boundaries Divine being who isn't confined to statues and isn't confined to geography this this Divine being can't even fit in a temple which at the time
00:12:16was a radical idea still erratic idea.
00:12:22And so you have Ruth showing up and what to her is a foreign place now Naomi chapter 2 had a relative on her husband side Amana standing from the clan of elimelech whose name was Boaz. How's that for a name? By the way is a great name Boaz & Ruth the moabite said to Naomi. Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes. I find favor. No.
00:12:57what we know from Torah first five books is that built into the like legal codes was a whole series of regulations from Leviticus 19 in from Deuteronomy 24 essentially said when you set up your Society,
00:13:13Building to your laws a provision that when you're harvesting your field leave a corner of your field for the Widow the orphan and the Immigrant or the refugee among you and so built into the political governance structure of like he's like that like Bethlehem here built into their entire way of life was a provision so that anybody who's hungry or vulnerable or unprotected who doesn't have a larger family that they're a part of anybody who could be exploited or taken advantage of protect them.
00:13:55So when you harvest your crop leave a corner of the field so that those people can come and pick up the grain and they can have plenty to eat. By the way. Let's just pause for a second. So
00:14:07Pause for a second in a second. So when Ruth says
00:14:11Am I going to the field and try to pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes? I find favor. She's essentially saying I'm going to go see if there's somebody who's generous decides to be generous with me. But what she doesn't know apparently is that these people have encoded in their legal system. It's not about if you happen to find favor. It's a law that you are to leave a corner of your field. So fauzi ends of years ago,
00:14:49this particular we say Society these people had a whole series of very particular rules about
00:15:00Keeping the vulnerable protected and the hungry fed, and they also had the whole series of Jubilee laws, which were every 7 years set. Everybody free from all the debts. They owe you so every 7 Years everybody gets to go back to their family lands and everybody gets a fresh start. So their society had a whole series of rules built around economic rebirth essentially and freedom so that nobody would ever get too far in debt so that nobody would ever be hungry so that anybody who wanders into your midst from another country would have a way to make their way in this new world and find work and find dignity and Fine Food find a roof over their head.
00:16:01Yeah, I see. These are the questions isn't interesting how just right here in chapter 2.
00:16:07You see that the questions and policies that people were in acting and working to enact raised all sorts of questions about the world that we live in now don't they? How are we organized? Are we organized in such a way that nobody can get too far in debt is our economic system tilted in favor of the most vulnerable and at-risk. Do we have a way of making sure that anybody who crosses over into our borders is adequately cared for yeah. How does the world ordered what we know obviously is a system that we are living in orders the world in favor of those on top we know from the year 1972 the new year 2016 the pay
00:17:07Of the 1% increase by 216% We know that the three richest people in the world have the same wealth as the 48 poorest countries combined. We know that in the US the richest 1% have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90% What we know is that the system that we are currently participants in is rigged in favor of the wealthy. What we know is that over the past 50 years, especially more and more and more wealth has gathered in the hands of fewer and fewer and fewer people. Wow, average worker's income since 1971 have not proportionately increased while the upper 1% income have increased
00:17:54Double and triple so we know that this system.
00:17:59That we are in is not rigged on behalf of the Widow the orphan the poor and the refugee. I'm on you so you can see when you read these ancient texts. They effortlessly raise all sorts of interesting questions not to sort of idealize some other time and space simply to say
00:18:32This raises such profound questions about the world. We live in now back to the story. So Naomi says to Ruth go ahead my daughter. So Naomi went to tell Ruth went out into the field and began to glean behind the Harvesters as it turned out. She found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz who is from the clan of elimelech. So Boaz is the one who owns the field that Ruth happens to pick and Boaz related to elimelech, which is Naomi's husband who has died earlier just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the Harvesters because apparently they're out in the field and he'd been in the village of the Lord be with you. But whereas says to the Harvesters Lord bless you, they all answered Boaz ask the overseer overseer of his Harvesters. Who does that young woman belong to now along to Simply means which clan which family because he sees Ruth gleaning in his field and wants to know which family she's a part of the overseer replied she is
00:19:32The moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi, isn't it fascinating that Ruth's primary identity according to the Storyteller with the overseer of the field is she's the Foreigner. That's who she is. She's the one from moabite how she said please let me glean and gather behind the Harvester she came into the field has remained here from morning till now except for a short rest in the shelter. So Boaz said to Ruth my daughter listen to me. So apparently Boaz is significantly older than Ruth don't go and glean another field and don't go away from here stay here and work in this field and then Ruth says why am I found such favor in your eyes that you even notice me a foreigner.
00:20:18And then Boaz replies. I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband how you left your father and mother and your Homeland and came to live with the people. You did not know before mid Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord the god of Israel under whose wings you have come to take refuge now they're so much. It's like the Storyteller has loaded Bo has his lines like you can feel him. There's like a little wink a little nod like a Tarantino film where this gesture is about that scene and that comment refers back to that moment because when he says,
00:21:09I just compare the Book of Ruth to a Tarantino film nice. He says I've been told all about you how you left your father and mother in your Homeland and came and lived and came to live with the people you did not know before.
00:21:26Now deep in the story of Boaz is people you have Abraham who leaves his father's household and heads into the unknown.
00:21:39This is Moses who heads in to the unknown?
00:21:45You have these Hebrew slaves who leave Egypt and in some ways head into the unknown.
00:21:53In this people in the bloodstream of these people in their history.
00:22:00Is this tradition of people leaving the known safe and familiar for the unknown and new?
00:22:12Which we also know from every hero's journey ever in every kind of literature across the ages and traditions and time periods. But it's as if when Boaz says I've heard about you you left the known and headed into the unknown. It's almost like he says we know we know this story. Yeah. Yeah. It's like he affirms something because that's our question in in chapter 1 question in chapter 1 is what is it?
00:22:49About Ruth that causes her to go completely against conventional wisdom. In fact, your own sister flesh-and-blood is like no I'm staying here thinks I'm going back to my mom and dad and apparently they're on the road Ruth and orpah part ways or protects the safe and known path says, why would I go to a foreign land with foreign Customs foreign religion foreign God for a time? Why would I go be a widowed Foreigner immigrant Refugee poor when I can go back to Mom and Dad's place and find other man from the village and start another life.
00:23:32And yet something within Ruth says no, I'm headed the other way.
00:23:41And something with in Boaz sees in her something of this this because it takes takes tremendous resilience takes resolve and also takes you can probably come up with the other language than me for this. What would you call it? Like
00:24:03It's some trust would you call some intuitive?
00:24:08Trust that there's something more for you that what it is. Yeah in your own life those moments when you knew yeah, I got to leave I gotta pack up. I got to go this isn't it? And you had people around you going. What are you doing? You have a you have a great you haven't made people would kill for this position. What it what are you doing? Everybody wants this job white what look at your house. Look at your whatever whatever people pointed out to say and there's always the doubt.
00:24:40What's wrong with me? Why can't I be content the good?
00:24:47gets in the way.
00:24:49Of the Journey of the Soul.
00:24:53It's like wait, look at this job. It's the people would kill for this job. Look at the money. You're making look at the beautiful setting you have look at this town. If everything you need. Why in the world would you leave? Why would you look at our family? We're all here looking out. Why would you feel some neat and and and often?
00:25:13The really sort of disturbing thing is it's hard to put in language why you know, you need to keep going why you need to Journey why you need to leave why you need to depart and what's interesting in this particular tradition, and these ancient texts is the Tories storytellers.
00:25:35Are very spits after a while, you see the pattern they intentionally leave out the explanations like you think about the Abraham story. So Abraham was told to leave. So he does he leaves his father's household and when it says household that's economic that's protection. That's clan that provision mean that's a whole that's a whole lot. He he leaves the whole known thing.
00:26:04Yeah, there's something in these texts. That is universal. We don't know why we just know something within a says. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. It's time. I know don't even don't even try to defend don't apologize for it. Don't explain just pack up and go cuz if you your future you're the true you is in this journey and when Boaz meets Ruth,
00:26:40Here's this Foreigner Widow. He's heard of her because of this I've heard about you. You are not only extremely kind to your mother in law, but you left you left like he is almost like he affirms something within her Leap. You took a flying leap and props, right? That's the actual actual Hebrew word here is props mad respect.
00:27:14and he says because of this may you be taken care of essentially and then he keeps he he orders the people who run his fields to let her gather among the sheaves don't reprimand her for anything. I'm even pull out some stocks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up and don't rebuke or so essentially says make it even easier for her. And so she claims that she goes home to Naomi and she has so much food. She brings home and Naomi says, where did you glean today? Where did you work blessed be the man who took notice of you know, Naomi's like how did you get so much somebody must have really
00:27:59Cared for you. And then she told tells Naomi that the man who owns the field is Boaz and then they owe me says the Lord bless him. By the way in this interesting. Naomi is the one who said I'm bitter. Don't call me Naomi call me bitter because Yahweh Lord the one who rescues the Divine who rescues people from slavery has been a cruel to me and has Afflicted me and caused me great anguish, but now and Ruth happens to to pick randomly the field of a man related to Naomi's dad husband. Naomi says,
00:28:45Yahweh bless him. So Naomi is both.
00:28:51Afflicted and angry and has issues with her God and
00:28:58has great affection for the power of blessing and provision that her God provides once again ancient near East years ago, but what's also interesting is the Storyteller represents Naomi who has a wide variety of perspectives on the Divine. She's angry and Furious and she's also grateful she is hurt and feels betrayed and she also has this tremendous sense of warmth and affection for the Divine benevolence and it all just sit side-by-side. Yeah, the stretchiness of the human heart to handle so many impulses and opinions and perspectives at the same time rise at night and then
00:29:47Divine has not stopped showing the Divine kindness to the living and the dead now. There's a whole world of history behind this word kindness. I hear some Naomi essentially says to Ruth. Oh my word. You just wandered in to a random field and it turned out to be one of my dead husband's tinsman one of his relatives. That is a what that is an amazing coincidence. And then she says the Divine has shown kindness now we're kind is here in in the original Hebrew language doesn't have kindness is how it gets translated year.
00:30:36That's a little Bland might be the word a little neutered does the word in Hebrew is over to cuss at chesed. I said now by the way, if you're going to like put up a mantra or you know, put something in ink on your skin, said that's a word I said is like
00:31:03it's like a loving son translation translated loving-kindness. It's like a glove filled with grace. It has this back and forth Dimension to it. It's a love that's given and received almost like there's a circle of energy coming and going between the two. It's this it's almost like a dialogue of love where there's something flowing back and forth It's a you it's a word often used to describe the Divine love which is is like a dialectic. It's like a back and forth C4 many, especially the modern world if they have any sort of you'll see this very it's often very popularized if there's an idea of God, it's a God who like commands in a God maybe who sends love and a God who gives orders but but in the consciousness of this storytelling and it didn't the Hebrew Consciousness. It's a back and forth.
00:32:03Dialogue it's like that's why there's questioning and doubt and anger. This is a new idea idea of humans and the Divine in like an actual relationship like not robots, but like lovers who have it out who who are angry with each other who move back and forth between affection and questions and there's distance and then there's intimacy. There's all the the sort of sweat and stumbling and figuring it out of an actual relationship. So when they only says this she is she's drawing on this ancient tradition of cassette in the word actually occurs three times here in ruatha are occurs once in chapter one occurs here and then
00:33:03Boaz uses the word again later when he's
00:33:09talking to Ruth while I'm jumping too had a love story year, but I might invite someone they say what is the point of this book? Why is it even in the Bible some say because it gives you like living breathing picture of what I said looks like when people share the Divine love with each other when the love that flows through all of creation begins to flow through actual flesh-and-blood people. So some people say the whole point of this book is Hesed. You'll find his sadness songs. You'll find it throughout the Hebrew scriptures. Is this beautiful beautiful
00:33:52Where you at? By the way, if you are somebody's wrong you and you're having trouble for giving them especially like if you're in like a a relationship of close proximity, maybe in a long-term partner and husband wife excetera and you're having something between you and I'm telling you use this word I said there is a love as wide as the universe and it's like almost like a prayer that it would flow through you and it would flow through them and that you would move into space where there's this back and forth instead of the cold shoulder instead of holding it, you know, when your clenched fists and being like, why would I show them any love when they treat me like that? I said just opens its hands and says Hear What I have I give you and that's often what frees the other person.
00:34:46So, where were we in this man? Seriously to Love Story writes Love Story here. We love what we love love stories. So chapter 2 Ruth start doing her work in Boaz is filled then.
00:35:03Chapter three things get dicey in the best of the way things get flat out sexy hair because one day Naomi her mother-in-law said to her my daughter. I need to find a home for you where you'll be well provided for once again in the ancient near East thousands of years ago a widow for poor foreign Widow would be extremely vulnerable to all sorts of exploitation. So Naomi has this Ruth we got to get you hooked up. I'm so yes, there's like love and like a marriage relationship and a husband but also at a much more Primal sort of basic level being aligned with a family generally through marriage is what would keep people alive. So this is much more life and death than this is like a falling in love thing never less This is Love Story.
00:35:58Tony Iommi says, you know Boaz whose field you been in he's actually a relative and she says now tonight.
00:36:08Boaz will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. So this is a thing that happened during the Harvest time is often the person who owns the field would spend the night on the floor where they fresh where they threw the grown-ups of the chaff could blow away in the season Fall to ground and then it would be easier to harvest for making food excetera. So Naomi says Boaz is going to be in the field essentially tonight. I'll be staying the night there excessive. The owner of the field would do this time of year Bruce wash and perfume your scent perfume yourself and put on your best clothes then go down to the threshing floor, but don't let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking.
00:36:49When Boaz lies down note the place where he is lying and then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.
00:37:06I'll do whatever you say Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
00:37:17She goes she in the middle of the night assuming she approaches quietly. She uncovers his feet and lays down and then he sees as a woman lying At His Feet, who are you? He asked I'm Ruth spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a family Guardian. Okay. I know if you're reading this with any sense of wait a second what is going on here? Because it you can just smell the euphemisms correct uncovering the blanket and laying at his feet now you can find a wide range of opinions about what exactly is going on under the blanket on the threshing floor in the middle of the night. You can have people saying anything related to feet is a euphemism for genitals. And so I'm covering his feet is essentially you can you can let your imagination run wild here. Does she pleasure him? Does she take off?
00:38:17Is lowered like what is happening under the blanket now, you can find people saying. Oh, yeah, of course. She Pleasures him. They have sex whatever it is. You can find other people saying no way. I tend to think that it's an even more dangerous thing. She does here then just surprising him with pleasure.
00:38:40she's essentially at Great risk taking his blanket and putting it over him is essentially saying
00:38:49In some ways it's saying marry me but it's saying let's be together under the blanket not just right now, but from here on out, this is of course Very risky sexy dangerous activity for a foreign poor Widow to be doing she waits till the till we can assume some form of wealthy solid like land-owning Boaz who seems to be some sort of Village Elder, but the way we pick it up from the story The Way everybody greets him when he shows up the way everybody seems to report to him at some level. She waits till he's asleep and then goes in a centrally lays down his feet which was a gesture of saying let's be together now. She has no rights in this culture in this place in this particular Bethlehem House of Bread Bethlehem space.
00:39:49This woman has no rights. He can if he's offended if she has misunderstood or Miss plate or hand if Naomi has been too bold or presumptuous.
00:40:02There is ferocious massive riskier for Ruth. But whatever gesture this is whatever whatever we whatever the text means by feet. Whatever this means the way that Boaz responds is he says the Lord bless you my daughter he replied which is probably more a term of affection than it is. You remind me of like but write this kindness in the word he uses as you know, I said this kindness is greater than that, which you showed earlier you have not run after the younger man whether rich or poor I will do all that you ask essentially he says
00:40:51Okay, I'm going to marry you and we're going to sort this out and we're going to be together. And so then he says now there's a relative who's closer to Naomi and you than me. So in the ancient world when a man dies his brother or his next closest Kinsman would then take on his wife in order to make sure the family line continued and the woman was protected in from any sort of vulnerability or exploit station. Once again ancient near East long time ago, very different world. So boys essentially says, hey there somebody slightly closer. I need to go sort this out legally with that guy and then we'll be together and then chapter 4 they get married. They do this really interesting ceremony involving a sandal in a public place.
00:41:48And then boys gives the speech and then everybody says we Are Witnesses and they get married and then Ruth end of chapter for Boaz to Ruth and she became his wife when he made love to her the Lord enabled her to conceive and she gave birth to a son and the women said to Naomi praise be to the Lord who this day has not left you without a family Guardian. So essentially the women the Villager like look Naomi everything's fine. You have your your line continue?
00:42:27And Naomi who essentially comes back home empty her arms. They put the child in her arms. Naomi has a son they say and then there's this little tiny line and they named him obid the Ruth and Boaz son. He was the father of Jesse the father of David, who is the great king who unites there people. I know it's an interesting story now a couple of ways for us to pull this apart some say story is here because it gives you back story to King David. These were King David's relatives.
00:43:11Okay. So some say the whole point of the book is just to give you a little back story because then you moving the Samuel the book of Samuel and the emergence of King David who unites all the people and then Jesus is called the son of David. So you think you have this giant Arc of sort of an idealized state of peace and harmony. Let's back up. That's one explanation.
00:43:35There's also a couple couple of hours because in the gospel of Matthew, which is one of the accounts of Jesus life.
00:43:45The writer gives a genealogy of Jesus and the writer mentions three women, which were not generally mentioned in 1st Century Jewish genealogies, but the writer mentions that Ruth was the sexually great-great-grandmother of King David, but the writer also mentions a woman name Rahab who was in an earlier book. She was a prostitute and the genealogy in Matthew also mentions a woman named Tamar and Tamar dressed up like a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law because when her husband died, she her father-in-law, I wouldn't find her a new husband. So she dressed up in Disguise seduced her father-in-law so that she could get pregnant and carry on the family line. So,
00:44:40When the gospel writer Matthew is telling us about where Jesus comes from. He breaks with social convention and says
00:44:52Jesus comes from this father who's the father who is the father of the father but also that's the person related to Ruth and oh, that's the person related to Tamar & Oh, that's the person related to Rahab and oh, that's the person related to David's wife who had been uriah's wife known as a Shiba so,
00:45:19Why is this? Why do these writers point out these women while in each case? These are women strong women who in a culture that did not respect them to a certain degree in a culture in which they had very few rights. These are strong women who acted in Risky dangerous ways to make sure that the right thing got done.
00:45:52Dancing cuz that's generally not how we see history, especially when people talk specifically Bible History. Generally The Narrative is women are sort of side notes. And in many cases they are the what's the fasting me about the Book of Ruth and about Matthews reference to these women by the way some Scholars cause breakouts a breakout is when there is a dominant social order these people on top these people on bottom these people with all the power these people with no power these people who control things these people have no rights. There is sort of the dominant Consciousness, but then there are those
00:46:41stories and people
00:46:43Who are the exceptions they're not just the exception but they're actually a more advanced a more enlightened a more of what we just say progressive a more evolved practice of some sort. And what they are. Is there like a foreshadow of there like a picture of where things are headed. So throughout history. You can find the spot where it's like, okay, that's how things were. Oh wait. There's something that doesn't fit the pattern and then what you see later as they were actually ahead of things and then things gradually caught up.
00:47:29so when people right now have questions about
00:47:35Where are we headed are things getting worse? I know you would not believe how many places when I do these Q&A is that's one of the questions that comes up in any city is here are things getting worse or are things getting better? Why can't things evolve faster when it's violence the climate thing about education think about all of the things in our midst that we have this sense like why can't things speed up and get better faster. This is one of the beauties of a sacred text of studying history is you see that's a long slow March and it takes a while but there are these breakout moments.
00:48:23That aren't to be disparaged like why can't everything be like that we way you can read it another way which is if that's possible.
00:48:34Could that happen on a larger scale? Like if that candidate isn't taking corporate money. You can say what wish more candidates would not take corporate money or you we will wish that you can say. Oh, how come only one person is doing it or you can read it differently which is hey this one person's doing it. This second person is doing it. Wait. There's a third person so you can read it as despair. How come only a few people are doing it in this new better highly evolved connected way, or you can read it as hope
00:49:10Wow, if only if these three are doing it.
00:49:14Is there a fourth is there a V. How do we not know? What we're seeing is a breakout which is where everything is headed at some point. And you see this Arc across the Bible of these moments when these things happen to real places in real time these people reflect the world's they're living in and yet within it you see these little moments when the thing moves forward and then nothing moves forward and then nothing moves a little more forward and of course obviously over the course of history. Sometimes it's two steps forward three steps back one step forward a half step back. It's a long slow.
00:49:57Climb in a particular direction. Yeah, there's so much more there, but I haven't even gotten to the thing that I think is the most interesting thing here. There's a line.
00:50:12And obviously I mean you can read the story and you'll see all these things. I haven't seen because this story you can just go round and round and round but there's nothing that happens.
00:50:25It's the first line of the first chapter that it's the thing that moves me because really it's this isn't some ways an ordinary story people love they lose their forces larger than them at work that they're sort of at the mercy of larger economic agricultural forces. That mean does family have to move so the gut-wrenching feeling they have to leave home cuz they're hungry. They're foreigners there in a place where they aren't at home. There's new love then there's the shock of death. Then there's the anger it's very human story. Then there's the return for Naomi but she returns a different person. Don't call me the light Fuller pleasure call me bitter. There's the terror for Ruth of unbounded this woman Naomi, but also I'm headed back into a very precarious situation when a story has all these human elements and it's very ordinary. It's like very or
00:51:25Teresa said Sky name Boaz Has a Field there. Is this striking woman who's got a reputation for being kind and resilient and brave she's been working in his field. He tilts things her way. Yeah, he make sure she has plenty and then she takes this huge risk because love is always risky. It may be reciprocated. It may not middle of the night. She climbs out of the blanket who knows what goes on but it's a gesture to him of take me. I'm yours. There's great risk that he'll say get out of my bed. Get out of my blanket got out of my threshing floor. How dare you and instead he says, oh man, you could have gone after a younger man.
00:52:11But you chose me. All right, and then you have like a like a full-on love story. Then there's a baby so it's all this but then noticed chapter 1 verse 1 in the days when the judges ruled.
00:52:27There was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah together with his wife and two sons went to live for a while in the country of Moab in the days when the judges ruled now, that's a reference to the Book of Judges. And that's a reference to a whole violence cycle of these people are living in this land. They get conquered by one of the Neighbors at one point. They got conquered by Moab who oppressed them for a while. Can I go on you know about King eglon?
00:53:03he oppresses the people and then
00:53:08a deliverer would rise up when the people cried out one of these judges who would go to battle against the oppressor drive them out. And then the land would have some peace and one of these liberators would Rule and then they would die or pass on and then another Nation would invade them and when that nation invaded them it would be awful. There would be a supplies be cut off. It's obviously connected with famine. So this is a Time massive.
00:53:43political upheaval
00:53:46You don't know whether the person in charge will be good kind fair, just or whether the people in charge will be overbearing ruthless violent only out to conquer you and accumulate whatever wealth and power they can accumulate. So this is an incredibly volatile time when the very fabric of the culture is being threatened. It's an extremely volatile time. When what these people knew to be like the center of their life together was constantly under attack. So truth generosity.
00:54:34Respect civility does even a line from the judges in those days everyone did as he or she saw fit so people there were periods in this cycle when everybody just looked out for themselves. It was just every person for themselves. There was a certain carnivorous sort of feeling in the air of like take what you can get now because you have no idea what's coming next. So great upheaval great tumult. Great turbulence, great. You don't know what's coming. Next a lot of the things that you relied on have been gone. A lot of the stable foundational functional elements of culture have been ripped apart. By the way. Are you yet going? Hey wait, that's sounds familiar a bit.
00:55:25And it is in that time under that umbrella.
00:55:32In the time of the judges which means in the time of this cycle of peace and violence of rebellion and upheaval of Oppression and then resistance in that time. Let me tell you a story about just an ordinary family.
00:55:51But why is this interesting well?
00:55:53The Bible as a whole is written by a minority group of people.
00:56:00Who have been conquered by one military superpower after another?
00:56:08So to begin with what is the Bible is a collection of poems letters and stories written by a group of people who are a small minority and they've been conquered Time and Time and Time Again by forces way larger than they are.
00:56:24and so in some ways Ruth is
00:56:29one way you can read it is here.
00:56:33Is how you keep your dignity and honor?
00:56:40Here is how you hold onto your Humanity.
00:56:44When you are in the midst of trying difficult turbulent frightening times that could easily overwhelm you and cause you to lose a sense of Peace a sense of stability even a sense of Joy. Here's how to remain Fierce and resilient and strong when there are forces so much larger and more powerful than you at work. And then what you get is a story about said about love about Grace about generosity. Here's a man named Boaz. He's got a field he's got plenty and what is he doing with his abundance? He's making sure that everybody who's hungry who doesn't have anything.
00:57:40Has what they need. He also apparently fancies Ruth. So these are people getting on with their lives caring for each other and even how the writer talks about how everybody greets Naomi when she comes back how they all gather is witnesses to the wedding how there's a legal ceremony for Boaz to say there's a has been closer to Ruth and Naomi than me, but he doesn't want he's the he can't take care of this. So I'm stepping in here to do the right thing and some ways you could say is it's a story of how does the world change? How does history hinge there? Are these larger political regimes that come and go there are these people who grabbed the reins who tweet away who have their power for a moment there? Are these Empires that come and go
00:58:34But what you do is you practice has said in the details of your life. That's how you do it. As you asked. What today can I do to care for the vulnerable? What today can I do and one of the words for God in the story is El Shaddai, which is a word used about number of gods in the ancient world, but it's used here. Naomi uses it to its use to describe Naomi's God and El Shaddai the entomology a little bit questionable, but it seems like El Shaddai being the powerful one.
00:59:13And what Naomi talks about Ascension when she says bitter is she says the powerful one has rendered me disempowered. But then what you see Naomi doing when she says Ruth on the field that's going to go well for you going to that guy. Okay, good. Okay now go risk it all show him that you want him to marry you in some ways. What is a story of empowerment? It's a story when everything's been taken from you when it appears as though you have no power.
00:59:48You always have some power you can always do something. You can always make a move in some direction to some ways. The story is Naomi going from disempowered to empowerment and then handing out on to Ruth. I know see how interesting all the suddenly gets wonderful some way. The Storyteller is going in the time of the judges and it's almost like one of those things were everybody would have known what that meant it in a time of massive upheaval when no one knew what's coming next.
01:00:23Let me tell you a story about some people.
01:00:25Who practiced a divine grace and generosity in love with each other?
01:00:31And who that's actually how history turns that's actually how the thing works. They did not allow the stress and anxiety of those times keep them.
01:00:44From being faithful and true and how they lived with one another and then the story tell at the end goes. Oh and by the way, this particular average normal people started doing this this little love story with you for a hundred times that turned out to be where the great King David comes from nice little twist there at the end and some ways Ben Ruth becomes something for you. And I you and me and Ruth now some ways the ordinariness the ordinariness of the Book of Ruth for you and eye becomes
01:01:26Like I seriously inspiring who's in power. Where is it headed next who doesn't get it? Who's there? OK. What's the next right thing in front of me? How can I practice cassette? How can I live in a different sort of way? Cuz I can do that. There's so much that goes on that. I don't have power and control over but I can do this I could do that. I could do that. Yeah. Do you have any disempowerment lurking within you because of the times you're living in and perhaps that's that you and me and Ruth.
01:02:13That's the note the resonating note for each of us is oh no. No, you always have power. It's always something you can do. Oh, yeah you you can always
01:02:24Practice I said yeah anybody can do that? Oh my word there is a bit.
01:02:34on the Book of Ruth and ancient
01:02:38interesting for chapter story written edited thousands of years ago. Somehow does something to us here? And now what a mystery that all is May Grace and peace be with you my friends.

Transcribed by algorithms. Report Errata
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Rob Bell, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.


Thank you for helping to keep the podcast database up to date.