when the judges ruled

Today's devotion from Ruth 1 & 2.

Everything the book of Ruth is flies in the face of everything the book of Judges was. In the book of Judges we were constantly reminded of the lack of a king and people doing whatever they wanted. In the book of Ruth we see people continuing to be faithful. In the accounts of the Judges we saw arrogance. In the book of Ruth we see humility. In the book of Judges we often see the people of Israel living selfishly (looking at you, Ephraimites). In the book of Ruth we see a young Moabitess living selflessly.

When we finished reading the book of Judges, I don't know about you, but I was left scratching my head and wondering how God could continue to extend grace to these people. As we read the first two chapters of Ruth, what we are seeing is the glimmer of hope for Israel. These are the salt of the earth, the remnant, the faithful. Boaz acts with dignity, integrity, and compassion. Naomi suffered immensely, but wanted to do what was best for her daughters-in-law instead of herself. We see the people fulfilling the decreed practices toward the poor, the oppressed, and the stranger.

All of this happened, not at some different time or in an alternate reality, or during the golden age of Israelite faithfulness. It was at the same time as the judges, when villages were bent on violence, Levites were selling themselves for cheap, and the people repeatedly turned their backs on God. "In the days when the judges ruled," that's how this account begins.

The book of Ruth holds the light of hope high so the we can catch a glimpse of why God persists in His mercy and grace: because there are some, a few, who are open and accepting. Light isn't the absence of darkness. It shines even in the midst of the blackest times. That is our call. We are salt and light in times when those two things are most needed.

Today, it's not your responsibility to solve all the worlds problems. It's our privilege and honor to live faithfully in the time of faithlessness. We get to be humble in an era defined with hubris. We have the opportunity to give instead of take. Today, no matter what happens or who rules, just follow Christ.