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What the Bible says about Ruth
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 4:5-9

Gentiles' observing the results of Israel's obedience to God's law would be drawn to reject their pagan belief system in favor of God's true religion. There is no reference to God's calling these people. Rather, conversion is treated as a fully rational and voluntary choice made when thoughtful pagans recognize the superiority of God's way over their own satanic practices.

In other words, Israel's role was to be an example. God did not command missionary activity on the part of ancient Israel. Israel's proselytism was to be non-verbal, as distinct from the overt verbal action of preaching through the written or spoken word.

Not proselytism through words, but through works, is the God-sanctioned method for ancient Israel. Israel was not so much to preach as it was to obey and to teach. Obeying God's law was an individual responsibility; teaching that law was a parental duty. Notice verse 9, which stresses both roles.

The Old Testament is replete with examples of Gentiles who were won over to Israel by witnessing the unquestioned superiority of God's way of life, and subsequently becoming convinced that His way was for them. One early example may be "Eliezer of Damascus" in Abraham's day, the chief servant in his household. Other examples, certainly, are Ruth in the period of the judges, Uriah the Hittite in David's day and Ebed-Melech in Jeremiah's time. All these quickly come to mind as Gentile converts.

Later on, however, Hellenized Jews caught missionary fever and discarded the approach sanctioned by God. Active—and far-flung—evangelism became the order of the day. Indeed, the first New Testament occurrence of the word proselyte appears in Matthew 23:15 where Christ chastises the scribes' and Pharisees' for their hypocritical approach to spreading their corrupt religion.

Charles Whitaker
Proselytism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Part One)

Luke 22:44

Judaism breaks the Old Testament down into three major sections: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings or Psalms. As an organizational tool, this division of books works well, but it has also served to restrict Bible students to a narrow view of the material in these sections. For instance, some are slow to notice law in the Prophets, wisdom in the Law, prophecy in the Writings, and so on.

On the other hand, commentators have always noted the prophetic character of many of the Psalms. Psalm 22 is obviously prophetic of Christ's suffering and death. Psalm 118 predicts Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem just before He was crucified (Matthew 21:9). Other chapters and verses in the Psalms are also seen as prophetic of Christ's ministry or the work of the church.

But what about some of the other books of the Writings? These include Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel and the two books of Chronicles. The book of Daniel is certainly prophetic, but the others are considered as historic books or poetry and wisdom literature. Do they have any prophetic significance? Indeed, many of them do.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy in Song


Find more Bible verses about Ruth:
Ruth {Nave's}
 




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