Author: Ron Graham
—And her virtues and faith
Time ~ 4. Conquest of Canaan
Span ~ 170 years
Books ~ Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1Samuel
Figures ~ Joshua, Samuel
Begins with ~ Entry into promised Land across Jordan
Amid all the turmoil in the time of the conquest of Canaan, there were still those who managed to live quiet godly lives in villages and farms. The story of Ruth is a welcome respite from the book of Judges, and a fitting prelude to the book of Samuel.
This true story demonstrates the providence of God —how he helps people through hard times and grants them new seasons of refreshing and joy as he did in Bethlehem.
1 Not All Bad News
Approaching the time of Samuel, a general swing upward occurs in the morality, and morale, of Israel. The story of Ruth shows that the seeds of Godliness were being sown in Israel by good men and women like those who feature in this story.
While the rest of the world may abandon the right ways of the LORD and live in darkness, there are still pockets of people who remain close to God, and in whose lives the light of God's love shines.
While the rest of the world lives in selfishness, there are good men and women who are willing to commit themselves sacrificially to others and, of course, to God. They have the spirit of the Lord Jesus Crist (Philippians 2:1-8). In this story, they also happened to be his ancestors.
2 The Main Point
Behind this story is the faith that Ruth showed in God and her beauty of holiness. The kindness and generosity of Boaz stands out too.
The community that welcomed the stranger also shows a lovely spirit. From this story we learn the attitudes that make a strong church.
3 Bible Summary (Ruth 1-4)
- Naomi falls on hard times -she and her daughters-in-law become widows (1)
- One of them, Ruth, vows not to desert Naomi (1)
- Naomi and Ruth journey from Moab to Bethlehem in Judah (1)
- Naomi's relative, Boaz, shows kindness to Ruth, and lets her glean in his field (2)
- At night on the threshing floor, Ruth lies down with Boaz at his feet. He is greatly touched, and promises to marry Ruth if law and custom will permit (3)
- With great diplomacy, Boaz arranges that Ruth can be his wife, and he can redeem the inheritance that Naomi nearly lost (4)
- Out of their love, Ruth and Boaz produce a son, and Naomi becomes his nurse (4)
- The boy's name is Obed. He was the grandfather of King David (4)
4 Ruth's Good Qualities and Commitment
- Ruth's lovely pledge to Naomi
Do not intreat me to leave you,
Or to turn back from following you,
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.
Where you die I will die,
And there I will be buried.
May God do thus to me,
And do worse
If anything but death parts you and me.
- She felt a duty of care to an elderly member of her family —and did not let her husband's death destroy the bond.
- She left her home town to take up life in an unfamiliar place —and made every effort to adapt to new ways.
- She trusted in God, and under his wings sought refuge —and accepted his providence humbly and thankfully.
- She was not afraid of hard work, and not demeaned by it —and she was willing to share what she had earned.
- She knew her place and showed courtesy and good manners —and she followed the advice of those older and wiser.
- She married a man for his goodness, became a faithful wife —and shared her joy and love unselfishly with others.
5 God's Acceptance of Ruth
- Ruth was a Gentile, a Moabite (Ruth:1:4).
- She made the true God her God (Ruth 1:16).
- God accepted her and blessed her (Ruth 4:13).
- She became the mother of Boaz's son Obed, thus she was king David's great grandmother and one of Christ's ancestors (Ruth 4:21-22, Mtt1:5-6).
- Moab is east of the Dead Sea at its southern end. The town of Bethlehem is west of the Dead Sea at its northern end. The journey from Moab to Bethlehem is around 80km.
- The origin of the Moabites: Moab was the son of Lot (Abraham's nephew). Moab's mother was Lot's eldest daughter (Genesis 19:36-38)