Well, that wraps up the Book of Judges. The Book of Judges covered a span of 325 years. During this time there were twelve judges. One of the Judges was a woman named Deborah. She was a judge for 40 years.
The judges were not kings. God was the king of Israel. The judges were appointed by God to handle disputes and arguments. During the rule of each individual judge, the Israelites experienced a measure of peace. But after a judge died and before a new judge was appointed by God, the Israelites turned their backs on God and did whatever they wanted. This caused chaos in the land. Samson was the last judge. After he died, the Israelites were back to their old tricks, doing whatever they felt like. They began to ask God for a king. Finally, 13 years after Samson died. The Israelites got their first (human) king. God tried to discourage them from wanting a king, but He finally gave in.
God wants to be king of our lives. More specifically, He wants Jesus to be our Lord. What does that mean? Jesus as Lord means this: That Jesus is the boss. Jesus is the ruler. Jesus is the master of our whole life. Not just a part of our lives. The more we know Jesus, the more we know what He wants. Doing what Jesus wants, doesn’t get us into heaven. Jesus is our Lord, our boss, our ruler, our master because He bought us. He paid for our sins with His blood.
We will talk about Israel’s first king, but there is an amazing story during those 13 years between the Samson’s death and Israel’s first king that we will look at first. It is the Book of Ruth. It is the story of a woman named Naomi, her husband (Elimelech), and her 2 sons. They lived in a town named Bethlehem. Does that sound familiar? That’s right. Bethlehem is where Jesus was born. There was a bad famine in the land. That means that there was no rain, so the plants wouldn’t grow. The people and animals had very little food and many of the animals died.
Naomi and her family decided to leave Bethlehem for a country called Moab. The Moabites did not like the Israelites, but Naomi’s husband heard that they had plenty of crops there. So they left Bethlehem for Moab. After a while in Moab, Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, died and Naomi was left with her two sons. Then her two sons married Moabite women. One was named Orpah and the other was named Ruth. Ruth is the woman that this book Bible was named for. About ten years later, Orpah and Ruth’s husbands died. This left Naomi feeling very alone. Sure she had Orpah and Ruth, but they were Moabites. They belonged in Moab. She was an Israelite.
Then Naomi heard that God had blessed the Israelites again with good crops. She decided that they go back to her home town, Bethlehem. This is basically where our story begins.