RUTH (pt. 1): A Story of Redemption
The book of Ruth is powerful. Just four chapters, Ruth is a small book easily read in one sitting. Contained in this book is the incredible story of God's redemption. Although God Himself is seldom mentioned, His work in the lives of Naomi and Ruth can be found on each page.
A Story of Redemption
The book of Ruth is powerful. Just four chapters, Ruth is a small book easily read in one sitting. Contained in this book is the incredible story of God's redemption. Although God Himself is seldom mentioned, His work in the lives of Naomi and Ruth can be
found on each page.
The story of Ruth focuses on three main characters, Naomi, the Moabite widow Ruth, and Boaz, an Israelite farmer. The story begins in the days of the judges, a difficult and unfaithful time for Israel. It is also during a famine that we pick up the story of Ruth and Naomi.
RUTH 1:1 (NASB)
"Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons.”
Elimelech, seeking to escape the famine, moves his wife Naomi and their two sons to the land of Moab. Moab was an ancient enemy of Israel (ref. Judges 3:12-31; 2 Kings 3). While in the land, Elimelech's sons take two Moabite wives, Ruth and Orpah. In a tragic turn of events, Naomi suffers the loss of her husband and two sons. With no resources left in Moab, Naomi decides to return home to Bethlehem,
where she has heard there is food. Naomi is in a destitute situation, and the decision to return home would not be an easy journey. In what seems to be an act of compassion, Naomi releases her daughters-in-law to return home to their fathers. The story of Ruth, Naomi, and God's redemption begins.
Through the literary design of Ruth, several movements take place. The return to Jerusalem (1: 6-22), gleaning the fields (2: 1-23), the advice of Naomi (3: 1-18), and the nobleman Boaz (4: 1-12). The design of Ruth is a profound theological exploration inviting us to consider how God is involved with the daily hardships we each experience. Is God working through our decisions and choices to accomplish His purposes? This is one of the questions we should contemplate as we read Ruth.
One of the most striking images we discover in this short book is Ruth's loyal and selfless love, an expression of God's love. Naomi releases her daughters-in-law to return to their fathers. However, Ruth refuses to leave the side of Naomi. She expresses her love as she pledges to stay with Naomi even in the uncertainty of the days ahead.
RUTH 1:16-17 (NASB)
“But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”
From their story, God works His story as we read of the promised Messiah through Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. Ruth is a powerful story of redemption through difficulties, trials, and hardships.
READ THE BIBLE
RUTH 1:1-5 (NASB)
Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. And a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to reside in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons. 2The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. So they entered the land of Moab and remained there. 3Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons. 4And they took for themselves Moabite women as wives; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other, Ruth. And they lived there about ten years. 5Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.