I want to keep writing about each book of the bible that I finish reading this year so that I have these writings to looks back on and reflect on in the future. So here are my thoughts on the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. These thoughts are a bit scattered, and I’m sure that they aren’t explained in the best way, but I wanted to try to write something before moving on to the next books.
Joshua–God fulfills, in many ways, his promise to Abraham and his promise to Moses to give the people of God a promised land. Getting there requires obedience, and they stumble along the way, but eventually they fight off many tribes currently in the land and take possession, each tribe a portion, of this promised land of Canaan. God ordains a specific portion for each tribe, and I love how specific God gets even though it makes for a few boring chapters about property lines.
Judges–what a cycle these Israelites get into with sin, separation/punishment, repentance, and redemption…God gives them so many chances to do the right thing but they continue to each do “whatever is right in their own eyes.” I suppose this is exactly what our lives look like as we continue to make many of the same mistakes again and again, and we continue to need God to rescue us. The beautiful thing is that God doesn’t give up on us, and he didn’t give up on Israel.
Ruth–I have always loved this story of loyalty, but I was fascinated to learn about how perfectly the structure of the chapters is organized…for example, the story begins with the loss of a husband and son, then ends with gaining a husband and child. Also, each chapter has a part where Naomi and Ruth make a plan or discuss a plan for what comes next. This is also a nice little family story to break up the larger story of God’s people that continues from Judges into 1 Samuel (the next book of Scripture). Sometimes it’s hard to apply the stories of Israel with our own lives, but I find it much easier to learn from the story of one family, or from a small number of characters.