Intro to the Book of Ruth – In stark contrast to the Book of Judges, this one, although occurring within the time frame as Judges, is a wonderful story about how God is ever mindful of seemingly unimportant people and circumstances. It is also refreshing to realize that amidst the backslidden state of the sons of Israel at this time of history, some people were faithful to the faith. Out of nowhere enters Ruth, a Moabite (non-Jewish) woman whose love for her Jewish mother-in-law and her God actually helps to deliver the seed of the Messiah Jesus! Sit back and enjoy.

Ruth 1 – A famine drove a Jewish family into Moab (heathen country, bad reputations, especially the women). Naomi’s husband died there. Both her sons, who had taken Moabite women as their wives, died as well. One of those widows was Ruth, the other was Orpah. After her ten year stay in Moab, Naomi, with her two daughter-in-laws, returned to Judah because food was there now. Upon arriving, she told them to return to their homes in Moab because she had no other sons to give them as husbands. She felt like they would have a better chance to be fulfilled and happy if they returned to their homeland. Both women wept. Orpah left, but Ruth clung to Naomi and said, “…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.” I personally believe that this statement sealed salvation for Ruth because she surrendered her soul-life to God (Matthew 10:39). So Ruth stayed with Naomi and did not long to go back to her old life of worshiping false gods (another sign of salvation).

When they reached Bethlehem, Naomi caused quite a stir because she had been gone so long. Naomi, however, was very sad due to the deaths of her husband and sons. Her attitude was that God had inflicted this fate upon her so she was bitter. Little did she realize what a gem she had in Ruth. Historically, we are getting close to David, for Ruth’s son would be Obed who was the father of Jesse who was the father of David.

Interesting Note: Ruth’s soon-to-be husband Boaz, who would also be in the messianic lineage and was a real gentleman, was the son of Rahab the prostitute.

Applications for Today:

1) Over the years many people have misunderstood God regarding Him having a “chosen race.” Here, He demonstrates that He loves all people, and the ones that turn to Him for Life will be blessed. Prostitutes have always been looked down upon by others as somehow being worse sinners, yet God not only saves some with eternal life but also includes one in His prophetic messianic lineage – a tremendous honor. Therefore, we all must be careful not to judge (condemn) people with certain backgrounds or reputations.

2) Although some of our circumstances seem like God is against us, He never is, and He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). He sees the finished puzzle, we see only our one piece, and sometimes not too clearly at that. I have come to know our Father as One who tends to allow darkness to come to help make things right which also makes our dawn brighter.

Ruth 2 – Ruth meets Boaz. Boaz was wealthy and Ruth and Naomi were poor. Since Boaz had heard of how Ruth supported Naomi when things got tough, and how Ruth turned to God and His people, Boaz made sure that Ruth got good grain and was protected from other men in the fields.

Ruth 3 – Naomi hopes that her kin, according to Levitical Law, will marry Ruth and raise up children for the sake of Ruth’s dead husband (Naomi’s son). Boaz was not the closest relative, so another man had the chance to marry Ruth. If he turned down Ruth, then Boaz promised to marry her.

Ruth 4 – The city gate is where all the business transactions and legal work were done. Boaz was there discussing land, and then offered Ruth to a close relative, according to the law. The man turned down Ruth because of complications with the inherited land that used to be Naomi’s husband’s land. If he bought the land, Ruth would have to be his wife and he would have to take care of her. He thought that was too much so he let Boaz buy the land and take Ruth for his wife. Now Naomi feels and sees the blessing and favor of God whom she felt forgot her years earlier when her husband and sons died. Boaz and Ruth had a baby boy. They named him Obed who became the father of Jesse, who became the father of David.

Applications for Today:

1) God is always faithful (in His time). So do not forsake your faith in dark times. Know that His light will follow.
2) He never forgets His promises. Despite the faithless sons of Israel, God’s Messianic seed continued to the birth of Jesus Christ.
3) God is an active intervener on behalf of mankind, in fact, all the great things that came Ruth’s way in the end were out of her realm of control. Acting as a Christ-type, Boaz did all the work and arranging for Ruth’s blessings. Salvation comes to us in a similar manner — we do nothing to gain it, Christ did all the work.