Day 23

Ruth



Ruth 2:3-12, Ruth 4:1-13, Ruth 4:18-22, Psalm 16:1-6

BY Rebecca Faires

Have you ever seen the Bayeux Tapestry? I haven’t seen it in person. It lives in Normandy, France—ooh la la! I felt incredibly lucky to go to the grocery store alone this afternoon, so, you know, I don’t often get out to Normandy. But seeing pictures and reading about it will do for now.

The tapestry narrates William the Conqueror’s victory at the Battle of Hastings. It’s very famous, very big, and sometimes very beautiful. The top side of it makes sense and tells a story. The underside is messy and looks like the weaver didn’t have a plan.

God’s will throughout history is like a tapestry. We are underneath looking up, and all the random threads tied in knots and snarls don’t make sense to us. We can’t see the tapestry of history like God sees it. From His perspective, it tells the story of His love and plan for mankind from the beginning of time.

Our earthly perspective is limited. For example, when God wove together the family line of Christ, He used people we would never expect. We assume the line of ancestry for the Son of God would be filled with respectable leaders. But God used women, foreigners, illegitimate children, and a prostitute. (Sidebar: the Bible is unique and awesome because it does include women, and in ancient cultures women didn’t often make the rosters.)

Ruth was not only a foreigner, she was from an enemy country. The Israelites despised the Moabites. So when Ruth walked into town, that’s likely what they saw—a woman with the invisible sign “Moabite” hovering over her head. Not guilty herself, but an easy target for prejudice. And God chose to weave her into His kingly line. See how the tapestry looks crazy from underneath?

Because we see Ruth’s story with the perspective of thousands of years, it seems to be all tied up with a pretty bow. But it didn’t feel that way to Ruth. After her husband died, her life looked like a chopped down tree: all stump and going nowhere.

But God took that stump and gave it new branches, and that family tree became the line of the Messiah. When we look at Ruth’s children and their children, we can trace the line of David and of Christ. It is the greatest honor. This is the story God was penning all along, from the beginning of the book. It is His perfect design!

God takes the despised and the rejected, the lowly, the insignificant, even His enemies, and He binds them to Christ (Psalm 87). Christ comes to us, takes the mess of our lives, and makes it mean something.

He takes the loose threads of our story, and weaves something beautiful.

Even though Ruth couldn’t see the whole beautiful tapestry of her story, God had blessing and goodness planned for her. He promises that His plans are always good for us, and that He is enough (Rom. 8:27-28). He holds our future, and we are safe in Him.

Lord, you are my portion and my cup of blessing;
You hold my future.
– Psalm 16:5

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152 thoughts on "Ruth"

  1. CaiGes says:

    one of my favorite books in the Bible . what i really like about the story is how God redeemed His people, and how the life of these people especially Ruth being part in the holy line of our Saviour Jesus. i love the faith of Ruth that despitr being widow she still pursued going with her. mother in law because she knew that the God of Naomi is atrue and living God.

  2. Andrea Z. says:

    God will always use the unlikely. On paper everything was going against Ruth, her husband died, she had nothing, she left her hometown and family to follow her mother in law, she was a foreigner. But she believed in God and God was faithful towards her. He used a foreign widow to keep the lineage of Jesus alive.

  3. Shelbi says:

    I have a question. It says he bought Ruth as his wife. Did he actually buy her or is this just the wording for this version? Or like were women actually bought during this time period? I’ve heard the story of like fathers getting things in return for their daughters’ so I’m curious. I just don’t know how I feel about her being bought. I mean if buying someone’s daughter for marriage was a normal thing it would make since to be in the Bible because that’s what happened, but it just makes me feel uneasy and a little angry. So if anyone could give me some answers to easy this anger that would be appreciated.

    1. Alicia says:

      It wasn’t so much that Ruth was bought because that’s what everyone else was doing, but because this was a case of redemption based on God’s laws that he had established for situations like Ruth and Naomi’s. In order to fully understand what is going on with Ruth and Boaz, it is important to understand what a kinsmen-redeemer is and why that is so important in this story. A kinsmen-redeemer is a male relative who had the responsibility to act on behalf of a relative that was in trouble or need and was one who delivered or rescues or redeemed property or even a person (which is the case in the book of Ruth). When Ruth lies at his feet, she is the one proposing marriage to him based on this law of Levirate marriage, which God set up in the law of Moses that says the brother (or relative) of a deceased man is to marry his widow in order to continue the family name (Deut. 25:5) . Recall, when Naomi and Ruth lost their husbands, Naomi and Ruth were left with nothing –no income, no home, no means of saving themselves. They needed a redeemer –someone who would purchase their land back for them and also would take on Ruth as their husband and also take care of Naomi, which would prove to be difficult or near impossible because Ruth was a foreigner from this enemy country. Since Boaz was a man of integrity, though he willingly accepted Ruth’s proposal, he had to check with a nearer relative on if they wanted to purchase the land that would come with Ruth as their wife and Naomi to care for. When the nearest kinsman-redeemer turned down the offer, it was a *privilege* rather than just a responsibility for Boaz to act as redeemer and redeem Naomi’s land and Ruth with it. You see, he was able to redeem because he willingly paid the full price of redemption, and through this story of redemption it was the direct line of the Messiah that God had promised and would bring over 1000 years later. What makes the story so important is that Boaz is a picture of our kinsmen-redeemer–Jesus who would purchase us, buy us for himself, out of the curse of sin. Jesus paid the full price in full and we have received redemption. We lie at the feet our kinsmen-redeemer and say, “spread your wings over your servant” –cover me with your blood and grace. Our salvation has been purchased by a great and personal cost because Jesus willingly gave himself up for us so that we could finally be in our rightful place as His bride.

      I know this was long, but I hope this answered your question and helped you to understand the significance of a purchase being made. For if it is through this beautiful story of redemption in Ruth that the ultimate redeemer came. We are redeemed and that is a beautiful thing.

      1. Katy says:

        Awesome reply brilliantly put- thank you!

      2. Sarah says:

        Agreed. Thank you for this background!

      3. Heather McDermott says:

        Beautifully written response to her question! At face value, without digging deeper, it seems a difficult concept to understand and even accept, especially by modern standards. When we dig deeper into the text to understand the customs and the Jewish traditions, we see a beautiful example of God’s redemptive work on display through Ruth and Boaz!

  4. Julia says:

    So encouraged by this study! I had been struggling so much with sexism in the Bible and church in general, and reading about all these incredible Bible women has shown me that women have been JUST as important to Israelite history and Jesus’ story as men. It makes me feel more prepared to be a Christian woman.

    1. Nikravesous says:

      Julia, I went through a similar struggle when I first came to faith. It is hard to shift from a lifetime of wearing my feminist glasses, always on the look out for sexism and being told by the culture that the Bible is the pinnacle of such discrimination, to putting on God’s glasses and seeing the larger context of our lives and the Bible. Of course this study is awesome for that but if you would like some other resources I would recommend the book Does Christianity Squash Women? by Rebecca Jones. God is our Father and Creator, He made men and women to be as we are and He loves us dearly as his daughters!

    2. Sarah says:

      Another great source – “Let me be a Woman” by E Elliot.

  5. Lwest says:

    Amen. What beautiful comforting words this morning. God is in control, we need only to trust our lives in his hands, letting go of the control.

  6. Sarah says:

    I needed to read this today. This was perfect! Thank you God for answering my prayers and leading me to read this.

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