Audio listeners, there is additional content included at the bottom of this post that is not mentioned in the audio.
Good morning brothers and sisters!
Today we read the book of Ruth in it’s entirety! Don’t panic, it’s a very short book and a wonderful read.
There are only 4 chapters in the Book of Ruth so don’t feel overwhelmed reading it on one day, it’s easy peasy! In fact, if you check out my Bible Reading Times Checklist, it is estimated that you can read Ruth in about fifteen minutes.
Ruth was written in the time of the Judges and after having just finished that book it should be seen as incredibly encouraging. Even during this time when so many of YHWH’s chosen people worshipped other gods alongside Him (a worship He does not accept), when we come to Ruth we see that there are still those who are faithful and obedient unto YHWH, even to the extent of Gentiles joining themselves to God’s people in order to serve and follow Him.
How fitting that we are reading one of the many stories foreshadowing our Messiah today, the story of His grandmother (many generations before), Ruth. This book is very special to me personally because it is one that I landed on when I decided to dive deeper into the word and really learn to pick the meat off the bones, several years back when I was traveling on my own on one of my book tours. Ruth got me to questioning some of the things I had been taught and where I fit into the plan of our Father. It drew me in and helped direct me to the novel idea of beginning the book at the beginning of the book – and giving the words of our Creator the authority they are due.
Ruth is one of only two books in the Bible named after Gentiles. The other book is Job. Whether or not Luke was a Gentile is still pretty debatable and there are opinions on both sides of the fence.
Ruth is also one of only two books of the Bible named after women, the other being Esther. Esther and Ruth actually have a lot of parallel contrasts, beginning with Ruth being a Gentile living among Jews and Esther being a Jew living among Gentiles.
It was important to Naomi that her daughter in laws marry again because in Hebrew custom the first son born to their next marriage would be dedicated to their deceased husbands, carry their name, and be able to carry on their line rather than it die out. This would also provide security for both the wives and for Naomi.
Ruth makes five promises to Naomi.
1. Where you go I will go
2. Where you stay I will stay
3. Your people will be my people
4. Your God will be my God
5. Where you die, I will die
This is a beautiful moment that has no doubt made an impression on many of you as it has me. It is important to realize that in this moment, Ruth is making a covenant with Naomi.
Not only that, but she is joining herself to Israel, promising to worship YHWH, and leaving her old life and ways behind. We tend to look at this book as one of dedicated friendship and even romance, and both elements are certainly there. But I feel an even greater theme is that of Gentiles joining themselves to YHWH’s people through covenant relationship.
It is important to note that gleaning was a right that each land owner was required to offer to the less fortunate. It was a Torah prescribed form of social welfare at the time and owners were explicitly instructed not to harvest all of their land but to leave a certain portion and amount set aside for those in need (Lev 23:22). This was provided for the poor and especially for widows.
In chapter 3 where Ruth goes to find Boaz on the threshing floor, some believe that she did something very forward and even lewd with regards to that interaction. My personal opinion is that this is absolutely not true. We should take the time to note the character of both Ruth and Boaz throughout this book and we will find their behavior honorable towards each other and towards YHWH, both before and after this encounter.
And lastly, Ruth is a foreshadowing (as so much of what we read is) of our Messiah as the kinsman redeemer. This is a great rabbit trail for you to look into if you’ve a mind to.
Thank you for being here today as we honor our Father, Creator, the one true God, YHWH.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!