Gideon and Ruth: The Common Thread

Gideon and Ruth
The Common Thread
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
April 8th, 2018
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

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Gideon and Ruth: The Common Thread

The story of Ruth (Ruth 1-4) and Gideon (Judges 6-7) are two very different stories. 

The story of Gideon is about a man who God called to step out on faith and defeat a Midianite army with just 300 men.  And the reason God asked him to do this, was to prove to the Israelites that it was God who defeated the army, not the Israelites themselves. But this would take great faith.  So, Gideon wanted to make sure that this is what God was calling him to do, so he asked God for confirmation using a fleece.  First, he asked God to make the fleece wet, but the ground dry, and then he asked to make the fleece dry and the ground wet.  So, God, did this and confirmed this was his call.   And ultimately, God defeated the Midianite army with Gideon and just 300 men.  Gideon then went on to become a leader of the Israelites. 

The story of Ruth is about a widow who was living with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi.  Since both women were widowed they were poor and their life wouldn’t have had much hope.  In fact, Naomi, tried to convince Ruth to leave and go back to her family, where they would have been able to provide better for her and perhaps she would have a chance to remarry.  But Ruth stayed with Naomi and began to worship Naomi’s God, which is our God.  Then Ruth met Boaz and eventually was married and had children.  One of which was Obed.  And Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the Father of King David.  So, if Ruth had not stayed with Naomi and began to worship God, she never would have been King David’s great grandmother.

The Differences
To get us started in talking about the common thread between these two stories, let’s first talk about all of the things Gideon and Ruth didn’t have in common, because, let’s face it, there are more differences than there are similarities in these two stories. 

1. Gideon was a Man and Ruth was a Woman… which is not that big of a deal now, but back then, that would have been a huge difference.  Women and men back then were not equal so this would have been an incredibly huge difference back then.

2. Gideon came from wealth (not strength) but his family according to some commentaries, Gideon’s family was wealthy enough to have built and maintain the Asherah poles, and they had many servants, some of whom Gideon called on to help tear down the Asherah poles.
Naomi and Ruth, were poor… dirt poor.

3. Gideon was a natural born Israelite (from the tribe of Manasseh), Ruth was Moabite (the descendants of Lot) but married an Israelite.

4. Gideon’s call was a HUGE call and was very bold and seen and revered by many, Ruth’s call was almost unrecognizable (in case you missed it, it was to raise Obed in the ways of the Lord, who would then raise Jesse, who would raise King David).

So, those are just a few of the may differences between Gideon and Ruth.  Their stories and even who they were are like night and day.

The common Thread
So, what are some similarities in their stories?

1. They both lived during hard times.  Life was not easy.  Ruth and Naomi were poor and had no family to take care of them. Gideon lived during a time when they were under attack from the Midianites. And they would often destroy their crops and their livestock.  Life was hard for both of them.

2. They had believed in God.  Ruth stayed with Naomi and worshiped the Israelite God.  And Gideon had great faith in God, so much so that when God asked him to do incredible things, Gideon was able to step out on faith and do them.

3. God had a purpose for both of them.  God used Gideon to defeat the Midianites and to restore some peace to the nation of Israel.  And God used Ruth by giving her Children.  One of which was David’s grandfather.   David was pretty important to the history of our faith, not to mention that Jesus was of that same line.  In fact, Ruth is one of only 4 women listed by name in Matthew in Jesus’ genealogy.  In Matthew 1:5-6 “Boaz, the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David."

As I was thinking about all of the differences and similarities of Gideon and Ruth, I thought about a bolt and a rubber hose…  I found these two things in my garage.  And these things are two completely different things.  One is metal, the other is rubber. One is long and the other is short. One has threads and the other is smooth.  But these two things do have something in common. And that is that they are both a part off of a corvette. 

Now they have completely different roles in that car.  The bolt helps hold the seat to the floor… that’s pretty important.  And the hose is part of the vacuum system that keeps the car running smoothly.  Both of these seemingly completely different things are all part of the same car and both have important roles that help accomplish the same goal, which is to get me from point A to point B. 

And here is the thing, both Gideon and Ruth are a part of the Body of Christ. Both had different roles, but both were important roles and both helped accomplish God’s will. 

Our Common Thread
In the stories of Gideon and Ruth, you may connect more with Gideon or you may have more in common with Ruth, but no matter who we associate with more… We have the same things in common with them, that they had with each other. 

1. Life is not easy.  We live in difficult times. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or if you are poor, if you are a Christian then we are told life will be difficult.

2. If we are Christians then we serve the same God that Gideon and Ruth serve and we are a part of the same body of Christ as they are. 

3. God has a purpose for us.  As a part of the Body of Christ, we have a role and we have a purpose.  And each one of our roles may be vastly different.  But as a whole, the Body of Christ has the same purpose, to do the will of God.  And if we do our part then we will be helping accomplish that will.

So where does this leave us?  
Since we have these things in common, then we must do what they did.  First, we must have faith and hope in God.  And second, we must remain obedient. 

I think sometimes it is easy to associate with Ruth.  Life is hard, and an Angel of the lord hasn’t come down and said…. Hey this is what I want you to do and this is why I want you to do it.  And because God’s will for us isn’t so obviously in our face, we feel like maybe we aren’t really a part of the Body of Christ, or maybe we don’t feel like we are a very useful part of the body of Christ and so our motivation to stay faithful, to remain obedient, and to keep and teach hope start to fade. 

But here is what we have to remember, We DO have a purpose in the Body of Christ and it is important even if we never realize just what it is.  The importance of our role may not play out until years after we are dead, like it did for Ruth, but that is the very reason it is so important to have hope and faith, and to remain obedient. 

Are you tempted to phone in your faith because you are starting to feel uncalled and unused by God?

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