As part of my chronological Bible reading plan I'm following this year, I recently made it through the heaviness of Judges and finally got to the book of RUTH.
Narratives are always easier to read, aren't they? This one only has a few main characters and a direct plot line, so it's a great story to read in one sitting.
It's a tale of a widowed mother, Naomi, and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, who have a special bond especially after the death of their husbands.
Ruth chooses to leave her homeland of Moab to accompany Naomi back to her native land in Bethlehem. She even chooses to follow Naomi's God and her cultural beliefs.
By her actions, Ruth demonstrates that she is "all in" with Naomi, aligning herself with her mother-in-law through their current and future circumstances.
I used one of the Women of the Bible templates to highlight the attributes of Ruth and some of the poignant dialogue that resonated with me.
Ruth's loyalty, perseverance, and tenacity catch the attention of Boaz, the owner of the field in which she is gleaning. Her physical appearance is not described in the text yet Boaz seems attracted to the beauty of her character as he learns more about all that she has selflessly done for Naomi.
Boaz treats Ruth honorably and, in fact, turns out to be a kinsman-redeemer for Elimelek's family line. Even though Boaz is interested in Ruth, he pursues the appropriate legal & cultural channels to clear the pathway for their marriage. The kinsman who is actually next in line declines to take Naomi's estate/responsibilities, so Boaz is able to marry Ruth and they have a son, Obed.
Like a fairy tale, Ruth's story has a fortuitous and happy ending.
The book of RUTH is also a tale of redemption.
Since we are focusing on 31 Days of Redemption this month, the theme of redemption really struck a chord with me and is evident in this story on multiple levels.
Naomi was so forlorn and downcast at one point that she changed her name to Mara which means "bitter." The allegiance that she and Ruth have results in Naomi finding joy again, notably in the verses about her holding her grandson, Obed. Her joy is redeemed.
As the kinsman-redeemer, Boaz takes on the responsibility of Elimelek's property and eases the financial burden of both Naomi and Ruth. Their security is redeemed.
"I have also acquired Ruth, the Moabite, as my wife - to maintain the name of the dead, so his name will not disappear from among his family or hometown." 4:9-10
Elimelek's family legacy is redeemed.
Both Naomi and Ruth were destitute widows without offspring. When Boaz marries Ruth and they have a son, both women receive the gift of this child to love. Naomi's lineage is redeemed.
The book of Ruth concludes with a family tree. Did you know that Boaz and Ruth are the great-grandparents of David?
Another interesting ancestor of Boaz is Rahab.
All of these genealogical pieces are important because they establish the lineage of the coming Messiah, highlighting God's sovereign plan of redemption for each of us.