In case you haven't discovered, Ruth is an awesome book in the Bible. I especially like it because the major thread that weaves in through this book is that God built a systematic way to take care of the poor into their society:
Inalienable Land Law - (Leviticus 25): This law protects the family land and ensures that it will stay in their lineage. The nearest kinsman has the right to purchase it back in the year of jubilee.
Gleaning laws - This allows the poor people to follow the harvesters and "glean" food rations from what had fallen on the ground. This has the poor working to get their food, yet is constant source.
Levirate law - (Deut 25): When a man's brother died before having a son, it became the living brother's responsibility to marry the widow and father a child in his brother's name.
Kinsman Redeemer - In the case that the widow's brother-in-law won't redeem her, the next closest kin has the option to purchase the dead brother's land and have a son with the widow that would carry the dead man's name and be the heir to the land! Think about this. The kinsman redeemer purchases land with HIS own money only to give it to the dead man's child (that was actually his). This puts his own lineage and finances in jeopardy.
This may all sound a bit strange. It is in our culture. But, it was God's way of caring for the widow, orphan, and poor. It is actually quite beautiful if you stop and think about it. When you read Ruth, you see her cleaving to her mother-in-law when she had every right to go back to her father. Instead, she utilized all these God ordained laws for survival!
God blessed her faithfulness!
As a leader, the time Israel spend wandering in the desert really bothers me. Here, these people saw miracle after miracle and they still wined and complained! Moses has his leadership moxy tested to the max! Here are some lessons from their time that leaders can extrapolate:
Lesson One:: Focus on mercy. People get set in their ways even if it is detrimental to them or to the church. As leaders we must not get exasperated with the people that refuse change. Instead, employ mercy and trust that God will lead them past.
Lesson Two:: Bloom where you are planted. God may want you to lead from somewhere you don't feel comfortable. Aaron and Miriam with all their flaws were called to back Moses up and lead. We may not feel comfortable with it, but know that God will provide you with the wisdom.
Lesson Three:: Employ humility and let God do the defending. When we are humble while leading, our message is more receptive. Remember humility is not being a doormat or meek. It is understanding that there is a lot you DO NOT know and leaning on God's understanding. God can defend himself!
Lesson Four:: Sometimes, God wants us to go against the norm. 10 out of 12 of the spies (leaders) did not want to disrupt the norm by entering the Promised Land. Despite the Promised Land being plush, beautiful, and sustainable! We may have to cut a new path.
Lesson Five:: Do not take your leadership role lightly! God expected a lot out of Moses. He expects a lot out of us! We must be dilegent, prepared, and obedient!
Lesson Six:: Succession planning! Moses (with God's help) decided to pick a successor. Could you have imagined Israel if he hadn't done that? Upon his death, it would have been scrambling and chaos. I was part of a similar plan when I came to Living Hope! It was Pastor Dave and the leaders' insight!
I am a man on a journey...