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May 17, Day #138 – Who, Here, Was Truly Blind?

Today we come to the beautiful little book of Ruth. Having just completed the book of Judges with its repeated references to Israel’s continual apostasy and all the sordid evils detailed there for us, our hearts and minds are ready for some spiritual refreshment, with which - under the Holy Spirit’s superintendence and influence - we are blessed by this love story. The events of Ruth occur about the end of the times of the Judges in Israel. Here in Ruth 1-2, we see God’s whole dramatic plan of redemption - both for Israel and for all of mankind - unfolding behind the scenes in the lives of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. Like Naomi – whose home is Israel – we too are foreigners dwelling in an alien world of sin and harmful lawlessness, and we are hopeless, helpless, vulnerable, and powerless to counteract any of it. But God is there, and He undertakes to help and care for us in our pathetic condition – like Naomi’s – and He desires to move us into the glorious future that He has planned for us. In chapters 1 and 2, we see that a famine drove this family away to live in Moab. Typical for the period of the Judges, things go from bad to worse, and Elimelech dies. Eventually the sons die, too – leaving these three widows without any means of support. Like the prodigal son of the New Testament, Naomi “heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of His people” (verse 6). How I thank God that He comes to our aid. In verses 6 – 18, we see that Orpah returns to her people, but Ruth “clings to Naomi” and accompanies her back to Bethlehem “as the barley harvest was beginning” (verse 22). The harvest speaks of the end of the age – Ruth and Naomi have abandoned all that is behind, and they have come to a new beginning – which is representative of God’s plan for the future. In chapter 2, we see that Ruth meets Boaz who pictures our Lord Jesus Christ – our Kinsman Redeemer. Boaz notices Ruth and extends kindness (i.e., grace) to her (verses 5-12, ff.), and Ruth comes under his protection (verse 22). In addition, he blesses Ruth, and his blessing extends to Naomi which she also returns to Boaz (verses 19-20). These chapters show us the immeasurable love that supports God’s eternal grace.

Proverbs 12:8-17 contains ten practical couplets that contrast the life-skills between wise and foolish people. Prudent thinking is better that entertaining a warped mind (verse 8); being a nobody is always better than pretending to be a somebody (verse 9); working results in steady provisions, and chasing fantasies is absurd behavior (verse 11); living righteously prolongs life and helps to avoid trouble (verses 12-13); pursuing nonsense is deceptive, but taking advice is wise (verse 15). These common-sense maxims are for our daily lives. We should learn and practice their truths because they help us to stay on the right track.

John 9:1-34 relates the humorous story of “a man who was born blind” but later healed of his blindness by Jesus on the Sabbath; the disciples ask Jesus whose sin caused the blindness (verse 1). Jesus responded, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. As long as it is day …” - whether on a Sabbath or not - Jesus indicates, “we must do the works …” of God (verse 4). This shows us how easily we as human beings tend to elevate something mundane (i.e., like a “day”) into an idol that we worship. The man obeyed Jesus, and he “came home seeing” (verse 7). The Pharisees want to make a mountain out of this molehill case. Why can’t they just accept the joy and the beauty of a blind man now seeing and praise God for it? They were intent upon convicting and condemning both the blind man and Jesus for His miraculous act of righteousness. Their examination and assessment of the case borders on the ridiculous when they call in the man’s parents – “We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind” (verse 20). We sense their frustration: “Ask him; he is of age” (verse 21). Then the Jews repeat the process again. We see that their hearts were simply filled with so much evil, jealousy, rejection, and rage, that they threw the man out - though he had done nothing wrong. As we read this passage – which reveals the extent of unbelief among the Pharisees – we wonder, who here was truly blind?

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