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Let us go to Bethlehem (1 of 5)
We will study about the message and the meaning of Christmas this year around the book of Ruth. Every time I think about the book of Ruth I think about my first date with Janet. I remember that I was just a country preacher and I was calling this beautiful city girl and asking her for a date. I never will forget that she said, "What would you like to do?" I said, "See if you can find a revival somewhere." I figured that at a revival I could put what I wanted to in the offering so that the date wouldn't cost me a great deal.
Janet spent all week looking for a revival meeting in Atlanta, hoping all the time that she couldn't find one. She couldn't. Finally, she found a religious movie about the story of Ruth. She arranged for us to go see the story of Ruth.
We went to the movie. I don't know a whole lot about Ruth, but Janet sure was good looking. She told her mother that week, "He better not preach to me." The Lord has a sense of humor, because now for the last 45 years she has heard over 7,000 sermons from me.
I well remember the book of Ruth because it reminds me of my first date with my wife Janet.
The book of Ruth is one of only two books in the Bible named for a woman. The other is the book of Esther. Think about those two books in contrast. Esther tells us the story of a Jewish woman who married a Gentile man. Ruth tells us about a Gentile woman who marries a Jewish man. The book of Esther begins with a feast and it ends with a funeral. The book of Ruth begins with a funeral and it ends with a feast.
You will notice in the first verse that the story is set for us. It's like one of those "once upon a time" stories. The Holy Spirit is a good reporter and just tells it all in the first verse. It tells us that the story of Ruth took place in the days of the judges.
The book of Ruth is really a little attachment, an addendum, to the book of Judges. We ...
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