The thing I like about indepth Bible study is that it makes me focus on Scripture I would otherwise skim over and gives me an opportunity to really think about what is being said and how it applies to my life. I’ve been doing a Bible study on my own: Kelly Minter’s “Ruth: Loss, Love, Legacy.” For the past five weeks I’ve been taking Ruth chapter by chapter (and on some days, verse by verse) and seeing so much more of the love and grace and providence of God, and from passages that were as familiar to me as the parting of the Red Sea or Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. That is why I love God’s Word so much. You can examine It for decades and still come away with something new and revealing, depending on what is going on in your life at the moment and the degree of effort you put into applying your mind to study. I think Bible studies that invite you to think for yourself—to pause and ask yourself, “What do you think God is saying to you here? Have I ever experienced something similar? How does this change the way I view my times of loss or hardship? How does this bring hope to my loved ones’ situation?”—help to clarify what is really going on in my own heart and mind so that I can align myself with God’s Truth. It also gives me an opportunity to praise God as I'm reminded of what he's done for me or to pray to God for more grace and wisdom to deal with my present-day situations.
I have really enjoyed studying Ruth and will hate to wrap it up on Friday. Kelly Minter has a way with words. There have been several times when I’ve reread something she wrote just because I liked the way the words fit together. I have several portions underlined. This is only her second Bible study (she also sings and speaks at conferences), and there are no video portions that go with her studies, but I believe God has truly gifted her for this ministry.
Something I underlined in today’s lesson (talking about Ruth 4:14-15): “Grace stuns our theories and carefully constructed notions of how things should go. It blesses those who don’t deserve it, redeems names that would otherwise have disappeared, and sets glory in the bosoms of once-forsaken widows…..Yahweh is the true hero of the story and unmerited favor is His specialty. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8). He seems to operate this way, and I am so thankful because if I’m honest, I am much more of a Naomi at heart than I’ve ever been a Ruth. Perhaps nothing makes me happier than to see this lovely story leave its crown upon Naomi’s gray head. It’s just like God to do that.” (Week 6, Day 1, pg. 145)
I totally agree. God redeems our pasts for us as we entrust them to Him and continue living in His love. And like Naomi, we will see the faithfulness of God in our present and His provision for our future. Not because He has to, but because it gives Him pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5)