The Book of Ruth in the Old Testament chronicles the life of Ruth. One of the few biblical characters who made life-changing choices amid severe trials and got it right each time. We can learn a great deal from this young woman’s example. Her epic journey from Moab through tragedy, death and despair, to eventually be engrafted into the lineage that led directly to the Messiah; our Lord Jesus Christ, is truly a love story.
The short book of Ruth is one of only two books in the Bible about women: it is a bridge between the two major parts of Israel’s covenant history. The first part (Genesis–Judges) focuses on how Abraham’s descendants became a nation and the covenant God made with Israel. The second part (Samuel–Kings) tells the story of the nation’s kings and the covenant God made with David as the head of Israel’s royal line. Ruth helps the transition by opening in the days of the judges and ending with the genealogy of David.
The Book of Ruth is important in connection with the coming of Jesus Christ into this world. Without this little book, we could not connect the house of David with the tribe of Judah. It is an important link in the chain of Scripture that begins with Genesis and goes right down to that stable in Bethlehem and to the Cross, to the crown, and to the throne of David on which our Lord will someday be seated.
However, the primary purpose of the Book of Ruth is the presentation of an important phase in the doctrine of redemption. Redemption is possible only through a Kinsman–Redeemer. God could not redeem apart from a Mediator. Since only God could redeem, it was necessary for Him to become that person. Boaz furnishes the only figure for the Kinsman–Redeemer aspect of redemption which is so essential for any proper theory of the Atonement. This little Book of Ruth comes down to our level and tells the commonplace story of a couple who love each other. They were ordinary folk, average folk, and their love story is a mirror in which we can see the divine love of a Savior for you and me. As we proceed into the Book of Ruth, we see this wonderful love story unfold before us.
Elimelek, his wife Naomi, and his two sons Mahlon and Kilion were from Bethlehem, Judah, the heart of Israel a mere generation after Joshua’s miraculous crossing of the Jordan. It was the Promise Land, flowing with milk and honey. But the bounty dried up because Israel lost faith in God’s Promises; a terrible famine came on the nation. Instead of repenting and getting right with God, foolish Elimelek decided to run away, taking his wife and sons to the enemy territory of Moab in search of food. Moabites and Israel were mortal foes who hated and habitually butchered each other. Satan was waiting and fed Elimelek just enough to keep him from God, and then killed him. The grieving widow, Naomi, struggled to raise her two sons in a nation famed for demon worship and seductive women.
The sons were as unfaithful and rebellious as their father. Both married and died in their youth, leaving teenage widows with no heirs. So ended the family tree in a dead stump.
Poor Naomi was crushed in spirit, having lost everything including her dignity and heritage. Satan stole it all in ten brief years from the time she left Bethlehem. As most sinners do, Naomi blamed God. Did not God promise countless blessings for obedience (De. Ch 28). When we ignore Him, we pay the price? That’s our fault not His.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have
come that they may have life and have it to the full.
Naomi heard there was bread in Israel, turned around, and took the first step back to where she belonged. Genuine repentance always results in immediate blessing.
Naomi tried to convince her Moabite daughters-in-law they would be better off in their own country. One agreed but the other was of more noble character. Ruth was drawn to the God of Israel. His Spirit was making her into an example for you and me. Instead of fear and loathing, He filled her with compassion for the heartbroken woman, Naomi.
That had to be the love of God. Jewish women rarely suffer in silence. Naomi was bitter, with plenty to moan and groan about. Ruth was steadfast. Confronted with the most important decision of her life, Ruth shrugged off her mother-in-law’s advice, fixed her eyes on eternity and made this immortal commitment:
Ruth 1:16-17 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back
from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people
will be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and
there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even
death separates you and me.”
Well plenty of romantics have made similar promises in human love and they always fail. God’s love never fails. Ruth’s reply was established on perfect love and caused angels to sing in heaven. Heaven knew she really meant it. When the last trumpet sounds their grave will open in Bethlehem, the dead in Christ will arise. And awe-struck Naomi will once again look Ruth in the eyes and see the love of God.
Shrouded, grubby, emaciated and downcast, Ruth displayed immense courage to support Naomi and dare set foot in Israel. She didn’t know it, but God was counting on her walking in His love, just as he is counting on you. Ruth was true to her word and God blessed her.
Naomi, prematurely grey and aged was welcomed back, but her neighbors cast suspicious glances at the small figure bowed behind her. Naomi spoke up for Ruth, and the alien was begrudgingly accepted.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have
been brought near by the blood of Christ
The family fields had gone to weeds so Ruth woke up early to scavenged for gleanings of barley behind the harvesters. It was hard work under a hot sun, but she managed to gather four buckets full, enough to grind into flour sufficient for three weeks of bread for the heartbroken widows.
As it turned out Ruth was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was a distant relative of Naomi. Well as they say, the rest is history. Ruth caught the eye of Boaz. Naomi acted as match maker. Boaz married Ruth
Their story is a subtle unfolding of God’s heart, packed with rich textures, poignancy and ultimately joy. Read it prayerfully and God will give you fresh insights into His Perfect Love.
Keep in mind that Boaz is a type of Christ, a Kinsman Redeemer and Ruth is a type of the Church in general and you, in particular. Male relative who, according to various laws found in the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act for a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need of vindication.
Boaz redeemed Ruth, the destitute foreigner with silver and gold. Christ redeems bankrupt sinners with His blood.
Naomi and Ruth’s nearest relative refused to redeem them, he was afraid it would jeopardize his estate. But another Kinsman willingly gave all He had to redeem you.
Perhaps like Naomi you once dwelt under God’s hand but chose to rebel and are paying the price for your sin. Do what she did, repent and obey the one you call Lord. He still loves you perfectly.
Christ can, be regarded as an example of a kinsman-redeemer since he identified himself with us and redeemed us because of our need. Hebrews 2:11 states that "Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So, Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers." Jesus is not only our redeemer from sin, but as Hebrews 2:16-18 and 4:14-16 point out, he is a kinsman to us and understands our struggles. Thus, he is able to help us in our times of need.
If, like Ruth you are unsaved, an alien sinner, dare approach the God of Israel seeking to settle in His Promise Land.
Be willing to give up all you have, to be counted amongst God’s people and you will discover He has opened wide the door to every outcast.
Follow Ruth’s example, humble yourself and lie at the feet of your kinsman redeemer who paid the full price to have you as his bride.
Dare to ask Him to take you as His own and cover you with is robe of righteousness. He wants you more than life and proved it on the cross.
You will bear his name, not only in this lifetime, but for eternity. He will give you His seed to sow, His food to eat and provide for you always.
In return He only asked for one simple thing, Your Perfect Love.
Prayer: Heavenly Father we pray. We may be like Ruth, an alien to the one true God, living afar from Him. The evil doer has his hold on us: we bow to idols real or figurative. We need a Kinsman Redeemer. Maybe we are like Naomi, strayed from the love of God, bitter in our misfortune, lost in a foreign land. We come home to revive, to bend on humble knees, a bankrupt sinner. Christ redeems with His blood.
Human love is fleeting, your love God is eternal. The story of Ruth is truly a love story, one that inspires us. But the greatest love story of all is Your love for us. You sent us a Kinsman, Christ the Lord, one who was willing to die for love. He loved us so much He gave His life for us. He suffered unimaginable horrors so we might live. This love is eternal.
If there is among us a soul who has not yet come to be redeemed, Christ our Kinsman-Redeemer is waiting. Turn away from that foreign land you inhabit and come to the Promise Land. Cast off the evil idols and place yourself at the feet of the Redeemer. Christ shed His blood for you. He gave His life for you, that you may be kin to the Lord and dwell in His house for eternity.
If one has strayed, bitter and troubled by woes do not blame the Lord. His love is true. He delivers. Return my brother or sister to the Land of Honey. His arms are waiting to receive you again, He will never fail you. He is a forgiving God.
We rejoice and sing the song of Joy, Joy to the Word, for from the loins of Ruth through the generations and God’s Everlasting Covenant With King David–We can be sure that the everlasting covenant is no other than the new covenant of the Passover. According to the prophecy of Isaiah, the everlasting covenant has the power to give life to a soul, eternal life. The covenant is sealed by the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
The blood of Christ protects us: Pardons, Purges, and Nourishes the Believer. You said “the blood shall be to us for a token upon the houses where we are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
Today we stand before you, dear God, we bear Your name, not only in this lifetime, but for eternity. You will give us Your seed to sow, your food to eat and provide for us always. In return You only asked for one simple thing, Our Perfect Love.
This we give in the name of our Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus Christ