by Jerry Vines

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Birthstones in Bethlehem (5 of 5)
Series: Ruth
Jerry Vines
Ruth 4:18-22

These are the concluding verses of Ruth which has its theme, ''The birth of a baby in Bethlehem.'' Ruth is one of two books in the Bible which bare the name of a woman. The other is Esther.

The book of Ruth is the story of how this Moabitess woman came back to Bethlehem with her mother in law, Naomi, and how Boaz redeemed her, married her and brought her into the family of Israel. As a result of that union a little child was born.

That's why the book of Ruth parallels the Christmas story. In the little village of Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago now, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ was born, and this is the time of year when we celebrate His birth.

Those are exciting verses. That just really thrills your heart. You rushed all the way to church to hear me read those names, about half of which I'm not sure if I pronounced them correctly or not.

There are 10 names listed in what we call a genealogy or a family tree. This is one of the small ones in the Bible. You Bible readers know that there are some long ones in the Bible. In fact, in the book of I Chronicles there is a genealogy which goes for nine chapters, 407 verses. It's not the most exciting reading you will ever do.

I started reading through the Bible many times when I was younger. I do pretty well until I get to those long lists of names and it would whip me every time.

As you read through those names it will pay you for your persistence because, a long the way, you will find some gems. For instance, in that I Chronicles genealogy in the fourth chapter you will find the account of a man named Jabez. Bruce Wilkinson of ''Walk through the Bible'' took that prayer of Jabez and wrote a book about it. It became a national best seller.

In and of themselves these names don't really thrill you. It's according to what you do with these names.

A number of years ago here in America, a man published a book about hi ...

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