What makes a good movie or novel? What about tragedy, death, loyalty, vivid characters, abiding love, and a happy ending?
That’s the book of Ruth, the Bible’s classic love story, a timeless and true tale of ruin and redemption.
The opening line of Ruth is a snapshot of Israel during the time of the judges:
“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons” (Ruth 1:1).
This famine drove an Israelite family from Bethlehem to the nation of Moab, where the men of the family died.
The surviving widow, Naomi, and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, returned bitterly to Bethlehem where God, in His providence, brought a loving man into their life – a wealthy landowner named Boaz, who redeemed and married Ruth.
From start to finish, Ruth’s story is about redemption. The Hebrew words for “redeem” and “redemption” occur over twenty times in this book.
Boaz became a picture of the redemption offered by Christ. By her acceptance of Naomi’s God, Ruth became a picture of what Paul would teach centuries later: it’s not by physical descent from Abraham that one is redeemed, but by faith of Abraham.
Ruth shows us the importance of both human and divine love.
This four-chapter book teaches us to trust God who redeems the hardships of our past and who also provides for the needs of the present moment.
We can entrust the future results of our day-to-day decisions to Him, who is our Kinsman-Redeemer.
Boaz, God provided Ruth a kinsman-redeemer who exchanged her bitterness for blessing and foreshadowed the redemptive work of the coming Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” (Ruth 1:16).
Trust in the God who redeems the hardships of our past, blesses us now, and provides for our future.