Oh man guys, I love this story so much. It is a story of hope to illustrate God’s character in the midst of total anarchy. On one side you have people who have completely syncretized the Lord with the total anarchy and debauchery of the Canaanite culture, on the other you have a man who is devoted to the Lord and living out His commands. Just when you think you cannot read any more of the OT because you can’t stand what the Israelites are doing, BAM! The book of Ruth shows up.
Yesterday we read the context for the book. It is during the time of the Judges. So, we know from that statement the people of Israel are doing what was right in their own eyes. To solidify that idea, we see that in Elimelech eyes it was wise to escape God’s judgement (famine, explained in Deuteronomy) and move into the exact people group God said to avoid. So, he dies, (sin=death), his son’s marry Moabite woman (sin for the Israelites), and then they die too, (sin=death). So, then we are left with a widow, and two single women. We know from what happened to the concubine, that times are not easy for women right now. Unprotected women were very vulnerable. God moves in Naomi and she knows that she needs to get her tail back to the Promised Land before she ends up chopped up into 12 pieces. On the road Ruth accepts the Mosaic Covenant and becomes a follower of God. “Your God is my God” At first Ruth refers to God as “Elohim” which is the kind of a generic sense of God the creator. Through the story though, we see God woo this woman into a deeper understanding of who He is. Later in the story Boaz blesses her using God’s personal name Yahweh, showing that she understands who God really is in her life.
Boaz is our example of a person following God’s commands. He protects the vulnerable. He follows the rules. He shows deference to God. He is Naomi and Ruth’s kinsman Redeemer. Do you remember that from the book of Deuteronomy? If the husband dies, then the brother marries the wife, and so on down the line, so the woman is not left unprotected and enslaved. God moves in the lives of these people to show Ruth who He is and to bless Boaz for following Him. We have to look past the cultural weirdness of passing a sandal and getting dressed up to sit at someone’s feet to see that God is fulfilling the promises He made to Boaz, Naomi and the new convert Ruth. This story is recorded to show us, also, that this marriage carries on the line that will eventually give us Jesus. Names on the list include Salmon, who was married to Rahab! Remember her? She was the prostitute in Jericho! And now we have a Moabite woman on the list too! Guess what? God uses imperfect people to carry out His perfect plan! That is great news!
There is truth for us to glean (pun intended) as well. This is how God works in our lives too. When we follow His commands, we are sowing in good soil. This will yield a harvest of blessing. I am not saying blessings in the sense of money and stuff like that. I am talking about blessings in the sense of stuff God cares about. Wisdom, love, peace, joy, patience, gentleness and self-control. Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer. He saved us from death. He claims us and provides for us now and in the future.
I wrote a Bible Study on Ruth a few years ago. If I can figure out how to put it up on my site I will, and you can download it so you can dive deeper into this amazing book.
I have already used up my words for the day on Ruth! You know how I never want to say too much in one day. (Except that is exactly what I do!) Anyway, check out John 4: 43-54, Psalm105:16-36, and Proverbs 14: 26-27