90 Days Thru the Bible

90 Days Thru the Bible

A lot of people know stories from the Bible. But do we really understand the big story behind it? God has given us an epic of cosmic history that answers our questions about why we're here,  where we're headed, and what it all means. And when we understand his story, we can ultimately understand our own.

90 Days Thru the Bible is a devotional journey through scripture. It's part overview, part guidebook, and all adventure. Suitable for individuals or small groups, it gives the essential meaning of each book and tells how it fits into the overal themes of scripture. Above all, it describes a God who has relentlessly and passionately pursued the hearts of human beings—and how when we respond, our story can be written by him.

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Tyndale 2012, paperback and e-book
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Not everyone in the semi-anarchic period of the judges was lawless. A beautiful love story shows us a family and a community that was living faithfully toward God. It takes place in hard times, as most good love stories do, but the hard times are overshadowed by the goodness of God who, by implication, is orchestrating His favor toward those who are faithful to Him.

The story begins tragically after a drought—one of the consequences of Israel’s disobedience—has caused a family to go searching for livelihood in neighboring Moab. This is no small gesture; it’s this family’s statement in hard times that perhaps the Promised Land isn’t all that promising and maybe the rival nation’s land is better. After all, plenty of people, including those we meet later in the story, have remained in the land are enjoying a harvest by the time the family returns. But this family of four had decided to seek sustenance elsewhere, and things haven’t gone well. Naomi’s husband dies, and then her two sons die. She is left as a true widow with no one to take care of her but her two widowed daughters-in-law. And she is rather bitter about it.

In a sense, then, the book of Ruth is really the story of Naomi, of how God meets the needs of a bitter woman and restores her back into the land of promise and into the people of God. But along the way, it becomes the story of Ruth, a foreigner who selflessly commits to care for her mother-in-law and identify herself with God’s people. She finds work at harvest time in the fields of one of Naomi’s kind kinsmen named Boaz, and, at Naomi’s instigation, rather daringly goes into the fields in at night to let Boaz know of her desire to marry him. Though no immoral behavior is implied, there are quite a few connotations in that culture attached to a single woman being out at night, sleeping in a field full of men who have been drinking, and not coming back home until morning. It’s a racy move, albeit with pure motives. Boaz symbolically covers her and becomes a picture of redemption. After cultural protocol is followed, they eventually marry and bear children. Naomi’s inheritance has been restored to her, she is vindicated, and Ruth becomes the great-grandmother of King David and an ancestor of the Messiah.

Ruth is a small book with huge themes, a rich picture full of deep truths. It shows us God’s heart to restore bitter souls and redeem broken lives. No calamity is beyond His ability to reclaim with His goodness. In Naomi, we see someone who had given up find a rewarding place in the eternal plan. In Ruth, we see a foreigner who would be scorned in normal conditions become an integral part of the people of God, simply by showing admirable loyalty and love in an every-man-for-himself era. In Boaz, we see a man with no heirs being given a new bride, a new family, and a fresh start in life. And in the God who quietly authors this story, we see a tender, romantic heart, a Provider in hard times, and a Redeemer who has His eye not only on the chosen nation but on Gentiles who display His nature and accept His ways. It’s a small fulfillment of the covenant He made with Abraham to bless those who bless the Jews. And it’s a powerful foreshadowing of how God will draw many into His kingdom at a harvest festival many centuries later by pouring out His Spirit on Jew and Gentile alike.

This book is a case study in the scriptural truth that God lifts up the humble and draws near to the brokenhearted. Even in our deepest disappointments, He finds ways to make our lives meaningful and bring us into a place of fulfillment. That process can take a frustratingly long time, but when we demonstrate faith and patience, He makes sure it ends well. And it’s always worth the wait.

© 2012 by Walk Thru the Bible

©2013-present by chris tiegreen