Scripture reading for March 16: Ruth 1-4
The story of Ruth is set in the time of Judges between 40-100 years before the time of David (1000 BC). This simple story unfolds as a famine forces an Israelite family to leave Israel for Moab. Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, stay in Moab. Nothing good appears to happen to them there. The husband dies. Both sons marry Moabite girls and then they die as well. Naomi is left bitter and ready to return to her land and people. The daughters-in-law are left with a choice to make.
Naomi tells her daughters-in-law to go on back to their own people. She is too old to have more sons for them to marry. Orpah goes on back. Ruth, the other daughter-in-law, clings to her mother-in-law and makes a beautiful confession of devotion and faith. (Ruth 1:16-17) Ruth is ready to follow Naomi and Naomi’s God until death! What conviction and faith are exhibited by this descendant of Lot!
Choices have consequences. In choosing to go to the land of Israel, Ruth would have been an alien and would not have had an inheritance or a people to take her in. She would have had to rely on God’s grace and try to help her older mother-in-law to live. There was no welfare or jobless benefits. Those that did not work, did not eat. Ruth began to glean fields. The law in Israel left the corners of the fields and the grain that was dropped for the orphan and widow. (Deuteronomy 24:19) She would work as she could and get food for her family. God’s divine providence placed Ruth in the field of Boaz, a close relative of Naomi’s. Boaz was also a descendant of Rahab, the harlot that hid the spies!
Because of her hard work and humble spirit and her choice to stay with Naomi, Ruth’s good reputation was spread around. Boaz heard about her and showered her with favor. (Ruth 2:11-12) In Israel, the closest relative to a widow had the right to buy the widow’s property and also to take the widow and continue the family line. Boaz was in that line. He was a possible “kinsman redeemer”. Boaz responded to Ruth’s humble appeal, purchased the field, and took her as his wife! Both Boaz and Ruth are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ! (Matthew 1:5-6)
Jesus Christ is our “kinsman-redeemer”. He is a “close relative” who has bought us back from slavery to sin. When we humbly appeal to Him in faith, He will surely make the transaction for us as well! Ruth is a type of Gentile bride for Jesus Christ. When we closely read this beautiful story, we get a glimpse into the heart of God and Jesus Christ! Thank the Lord for being our “Kinsman-Redeemer”!
“Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.” (Ruth 3:9)