It seemed so promising. The Israelites had entered by the mighty hand of God into the Promised Land. Joshua left the people with a firm reminder of the need to be mindful of their covenant with God. This covenant had as its basis obedience to God’s commands which would lead to existence in the land. If they disobeyed and turned their back on the covenant, chaos would ensue. Unfortunately, as man often does, the Israelites chose the latter option, setting in motion a repetitive process of disobedience, them calling out to God for salvation, a short period of obedience, and then the cycle resumed with another period of disobedience and you get the picture.
The books of Judges and Ruth take place during this period of Israel’s history. In his excellent commentary on these pivotal books of Scripture, Barry Webb examines how God worked in the lives of His people even during this chaotic period of rebellion, repentance, rebellion, and repentance. We clearly see that God’s divine plan is never stifled by man’s proclivity to sin. Furthermore in the midst of the aforementioned chaos of sinful behavior, the promise of redemption moves forward.
This is another wonderful addition to the revamped Preaching the Word Commentary Series from Crossway Books. This venerable set has undergone a bit of a facelift of late with a new cover. Despite the new look on the outside, the content remains ever vigilant to sound biblical exegesis with a distinct pastoral focus in its insight and application.
Users will quickly note this is not an academically minded type of commentary. This is not to say Webb does not insert scholarly insight regarding matters of a linguistic or historical nature when necessary. The focus of Webb is on examining the text and drawing out the application of what God is revealing to His people. Through the many examples of what disobedience looks like throughout Judges and the beautiful message of redemption and the inclusion of a Gentile woman into the fold as a member of God’s people such as we find in Ruth. Webb shows the reader the “God in Chaos” that is noted in the subtitle of this commentary. God is ever present and at work regardless of how desperate or dim the circumstances.
Having recently worked through the book of Ruth, I can attest that Webb’s commentary was quite impactful in working through the text and applying the lessons of redemption that can be gleaned from that amazing book of Scripture. He aptly notes regarding the genealogy found in the closing chapter of Ruth:
“Watching these four redeemers emerge has been like watching a magician produce rabbits from his hat. But this is no magic; it’s the work of a sovereign God quietly but powerfully working all things together for good for the sake of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). It is also part of a much larger story in which the full outworking of that same loving purpose can be seen.”
This is a small sample of the valuable exegesis and application that can be found throughout this commentary on Judges and Ruth. I highly recommend this as a great tool for Bible study for not only pastors but for all believers. In fact, the entire commentary series is well worth the investment.