Wednesday, January 9, 2019

McGee and Me #11 Ruth

Ruth. (Thru the Bible #11) J. Vernon McGee. 1976. 96 pages. [Source: Bought]

I recently bought a complete set of J. Vernon McGee's Thru the Bible commentary series. These books are loosely based on his popular radio program. I plan on reading or in some cases rereading his commentaries. 

First sentence: Ruth is the story of a little foreign girl who came out of paganism and idolatry in the land of Moab.

Of all the commentaries I've read so far this one on Ruth may just be my favorite. McGee and I might disagree now and then on various things--some little, some big--but we both agree that the book of Ruth is "...a mighty midget with a mighty message."

Ruth has just four chapters--hence the midget--but those chapters reveal a great deal about redemption and our Redeemer. McGee writes, "Redemption is possible only through a Kinsman-Redeemer. God could not redeem apart from a Mediator. Since only God could redeem, it was necessary for Him to become that person." That is a mighty message indeed.

I loved his insights throughout the book. It's almost as if McGee loved playing connect the dots. For example, "Jesus Christ would never have been born in Bethlehem if the incidents recorded in the Book of Ruth hadn’t first taken place in Bethlehem."

But my favorite section--I think--is on Ruth 3. So many people today glory in making Ruth's going to Boaz at night a sinful, immoral, lusty thing when it wasn't.

I would recommend this commentary. If you're Reformed you should know there are a few places this goes free will-y. But. It's still worth reading in my opinion.


  • She [Ruth] made an important decision there [Ruth 1:16]. It’s a sevenfold decision, and it’s a decision for God. And this is what I believe is genuine repentance, friend. This is the kind of repentance that means something. 
  • What we need today are folk who make real decisions for God. The decision of Ruth was that kind of decision.
  • Boaz is a picture and a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. And it can be said of you and of me that we have a Kinsman also, one who was made like we are, yet sinless—“holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26).
  • We owe a great deal to the Word of God, because it is only the Word of God that has ever given the poor man a square deal.
  • Some folks talk about God’s will as if they’d just had a Western Union telegram from Him or a Special Delivery air mail letter from heaven. My friend, God doesn’t lead that way today, and I don’t think He has ever led very many that way.
  • One of the glorious things, as we go through this world today, is to know that our times are in His hands; to know that He is ordering the events of this universe; and to know that God has said that nothing can come to a child of His without His permission.
  • The kinsman-redeemer is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Kinsman-Redeemer. And that’s the reason the word redemption is used in the New Testament rather than atonement.
  • Atonement covered up sins, that’s all. But redemption, friend, means to pay a price so that the one who is redeemed may go scot-free.
  • Now Christ not only died to redeem our persons, He died also to redeem this earth.
  • Now God didn’t have to redeem us. We were lost sinners. If He did not redeem us, He could still be a just and holy God. But He loved us. You see, salvation by redemption is a love story.
  • She tells Ruth to wait until the religious feast is over, Naomi says, “Now, Ruth, it’s up to you to claim this man as your kinsman-redeemer.”
  • Ruth has been doing nothing in the way of claiming him, so Naomi is going to give her some very definite instructions.
  • These are four steps that are essential for the sinner. The first one is this: Wash thyself.
  • Now the second thing that Naomi tells Ruth to do is to anoint herself. 
  • You and I have an anointing of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Spirit of God must teach us. And that’s one of the neglected facts today. Right now in theological circles they are fighting like mad over the doctrine of inspiration. Now knowing that the Bible is inspired of God is very important. But you can believe in the plenary, verbal inspiration of the Scripture and still be ignorant of the Word of God.
  • This is the third step for the believer. When you and I come to Christ and accept Him as Savior, we are told that He becomes our righteousness. He not only subtracts our sin, He not only regenerates us and makes us a child of God, but He makes over to us His own righteousness.
  • Now the fourth thing Naomi tells Ruth to do is to get down to the threshing floor and let Boaz know that she wants to claim him as her kinsman-redeemer.
  • Have you really claimed Jesus Christ as your Savior? My friend, you do have to claim Him. The language of Scripture says to believe upon or believe into the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Under the Mosaic Law, Ruth is not only entitled to and has a right to claim Boaz as her kinsman-redeemer, but she must claim him.
  • Now let me say that there is nothing questionable about the thing that Naomi is asking her to do. To begin with, Naomi would never have asked her to do it had it been improper.
  • He’ll put his head toward the grain and his feet out. Now you go and put your feet toward his feet and pull his cloak up over your feet, and then he’ll let you know what to do.”
  • She could have taken him into court. According to the Mosaic Law, you see, she could have called the elders of the city together and told Boaz outright, “I claim you as my kinsman-redeemer,”
  • Thank God we have a Savior, and our relationship to Him is a love story. He loved us and He gave Himself for us in order that He might redeem us.
  • Friend, it’s wonderful to have a Savior in whom you can rest, and know that He’s your Redeemer.
  • The work of redemption is His work, and you and I are to enter into that perfect work of redemption which He accomplished for us.
  • Frankly, God doesn’t need your little effort and my little effort. God is not receiving anything from us toward our salvation.
  • This is the great message of this book: redemption is a romance; because God loves us He redeemed us.
  • As a man chooses a woman for his bride, and as Boaz claimed Ruth, so Christ came to this earth for His bride. He is the one who demonstrated His love by dying for us.
  • In one sense this genealogy that concludes the Book of Ruth is just about as important as any portion of the Old Testament.
  • Do you know why? Because this little book and this genealogy are what connect the family of David with the tribe of Judah.
  • Without it we would have no written record of the connection. This makes the little Book of Ruth very important.
  • First of all, let’s consider that the kinsman-redeemer must be a near kinsman. That seems to be obvious and needs no proof.
  • And the Lord Jesus Christ is our Kinsman-Redeemer. He is a near kinsman. He is the one who took upon Himself our humanity.
  • Not only must a kinsman-redeemer be a near kinsman, but he must also be willing to redeem.
  • And you and I today have a Kinsman who loves us. Why? There’s no explanation in us. Paul said in Romans 3:24: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” “Freely” means without a cause.
  • Third, a kinsman-redeemer must be able to redeem. 
  • One of the things that is said about Him is that He is able to redeem. Have you ever noticed the many times in the New Testament that it says the Lord Jesus is able? He is able.
  • He is our great Kinsman-Redeemer with the ability to save.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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