What does it say?
Ruth is set in the days of the Judges and gives evidence that even in the worst of times there can be many people that hold to their faith and love God. Ruth is the pearl in the oyster. Elimelech of Bethlehem takes his family to Moab in time of famine. His two sons marry Moabite women and then Elimelech and both sons die, leaving three widows.
Elimelech’s widow Naomi returns to Bethlehem after the famine and urges her daughters-in-law to remarry. But Ruth’s faith in Jehovah God and her devotion to Naomi are genuine and she returns with her to Bethlehem. Taking advantage of provisions in the Law, Ruth gleans in the fields of a rich man named Boaz that falls in love with her. Since Ruth’s dead husband is a relative, Boaz faithfully exercises his rights under the Law to take her as his wife, as a closer kinsman declines those rights in fear of causing division in his family over inheritance issues.
One of the most important genealogies in the Bible ends the book tracing the ten generations from Pharez, illegitimate son of Judah, to David the King. Boaz and Ruth are the great-grandparents of King David, whose lineage traces to Jesus himself.
What does it mean?
Even in the worst of times God is at work in the details of life, carefully and faithfully fulfilling his mission. Knowing that one can live a godly life while surrounded by chaos should be an encouragement to all. God, not the Devil, is in the details! According the to Law, descendants of an illegitimate son could not be full Israelites for 10 generations. God had chosen the tribe of Judah for the lineage of kings, and now we know why there could be no king until David, tenth generation from Pharez.
The gentile Ruth’s faith and devotion are examples of godly character. The love of Boaz in redeeming her and taking her as his wife is a beautiful prophetic picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and his bride the church.
How will I respond?
Can I think of one example of how God has demonstrated his faithfulness to his mission in my life through totally unexpected circumstances? What is one of the biggest challenges or trials I face currently? Am I willing to trust God to do his work out of my sight and even beyond my understanding until he might chose to reveal to me how he has been at work all along?