Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

The story of Ruth takes place during the period of the Judges, something we explored in last week’s blog. The Book of Ruth provides a gratifying reminder that even in the darkest times, God was at work in the hearts of His faithful remnant.

If you were there for the sermon last weekend, we spent a great deal of time walking through the story thus far (Genesis-Judges) with particular emphasis on the bleakness in Israel’s history during the time of the Judges.

As a reminder, the period of the Judges was marked by weak faith and irresponsible conduct. The degree of permissiveness in Israel was a theme repeated often in the Book of Judges and restated in the book’s last verse: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

Against this background of national irresponsibility and weak moral character (sound familiar?) – Ruth, a Moabite, a people descended from Lot, and Boaz, a Hebrew landowner, shine as bright examples of purity, faith, and responsible living.

Ruth provides a view of people who acted responsibly with faith and highlights how God’s people can experience His sovereignty, wisdom, and covenant kindness.

The practice of levirate marriage (the requirement that a man marry the widow of his deceased brother, Deuteronomy 25:5-6) and the activity of the kinsman- redeemer provide an additional backdrop for the story.

After a closer kinsman refuses to take Ruth, Boaz redeems all the property of the deceased and marries Ruth. His willing acceptance of this responsibility showed the genuine quality of his character, as well as his love for Ruth.

Ruth in turn shows love for Naomi, her mother-in-law and provides for her.  A mother-in-law, daughter-in-law story that should serve as a model for all of us!

Ruth becomes a believer in the God of the Hebrews and they have a son, Obed, who becomes the grandfather of King David.

Although the book is relatively short, it is rich in examples of kindness, faith, and patience.

Like Ruth, we too need a Kinsman-Redeemer who will do what is necessary to remedy our helpless condition.  Jesus Christ is the ultimate Kinsman-Redeemer who voluntarily paid the price for the redemption of His people.

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts taken directly from the following study bibles and commentaries: ESV, HCSB, GTB, BKC

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