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Judges is a sad contrast to Joshua. It deals with the time in which a succession of judges followed Joshua as leaders of Israel in their land. But its main theme is that of Israel’s failure to take possession of all their land. Due to their backslidings, God allowed their enemies to bring them into subjection. Again and again they were overcome by their enemies, yet on every occasion God in wonderful mercy raised up deliverers for them—a remarkable picture of the history of Christendom! Christians may in some degree be enjoying their inheritance—that land of the heavenly places with its innumerable blessings—yet it remains largely unpossessed by the saints of God. The concluding verse of Judges summarizes that spirit of insubjection which will leave us barren of spiritual prosperity:

“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

The Book of Ruth is set during the time of the Judges and is like a sparking jewel set in a very dark background. Naomi leaves Moab for the land of Israel after having been bereaved of her husband and sons. She is a picture of Israel, desolate and without hope. Ruth, her daughter-in-law, a Moabitess, has a real and precious faith in the God of Israel. If in Naomi we see Israel’s desolate and hopeless state, then in Ruth we see the faith of the future godly remnant of Israel who return to the Lord. Boaz, a mighty man of wealth (who is a type of the Lord Jesus), encourages Ruth and eventually brings her into the commonwealth of Israel by marriage, for he is her “kinsmen redeemer.”

Ruth is also a picture of those redeemed from among the Gentiles who have now come to know the living God through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer!