Day 12

Ruth’s Legacy

from the Ruth reading plan


Ruth 4:18-22, Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 1:2-16, Ephesians 2:19-22

BY Jasmine Holmes

One Sunday, a friend of mine stepped into the pulpit to read a section of Scripture. Our church was making its way through the Pentateuch, and this poor soul had been assigned a genealogy chapter. He was a seminarian, a fledgling pastor, and an optimist, but even he stumbled over a few unfamiliar names as he read about the fathers of, the sons of, and the sons of the sons of long-dead patriarchs. 

I come from a straight-laced church background, but when he got to the period at the end of the last sentence, someone let out a whoop, and we applauded because he had made it!

I thought about him often when I read through the Bible last year. My tendency is to skim over the genealogies with a dismissive, “We get it.” But if my friend could stand up in front of an entire congregation and read every name, then surely, I could give those names a moment in my quiet time. 

When we make it to Ruth 4:18–22, it can be easy to skim over the names we find there: Perez, Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, and David. Especially if we grew up in the Western church, when we see names that feel odd in our mouths or tinny in our ears, we give that dismissive nod to the foreignness of it all: they’re just names. 

But they’re so much more than names. In this small grouping of ten names, we see the promises of God fulfilled and the promises of God foretold. 

The promises of God are fulfilled in the very survival of this family tree. Way back in Genesis 12, God promised a man named Abraham that his barren wife would bear a son and that he would be the father of a nation (Genesis 12:1–3). God kept this promise through ten more years of infertility. Within two generations, He kept the promise through brotherly betrayal and famine. He kept the promise through harsh slavery in Egypt four hundred years later. And forty years after that, He kept the promise while Abraham’s offspring wandered the desert. 

He would keep that promise through judges and kings; through captivity; through exile. He would keep that promise through generation after generation until the promise bore its fruit in the person and work of Jesus Christ. 

Ruth 4 is just one moment where we see God keeping His word to Abraham: the nation would continue to have fathers and sons. 

And in that fatherhood and sonship, we see a promise not just kept, but also, foretold. Because although Ruth’s name is not present in this chapter, we will find her in Matthew’s genealogy in the New Testament as the mother of Obed. This woman—whose name would have been foreign to Israel’s tongue—was grafted into the genealogy of the Messiah.

Much the same way that we who are not of Abraham’s lineage have been grafted into the family of faith.

It would be easy to skim those names in the genealogies with little care. But imagine them as just a foretaste of what it’s like to read the names that God has written in the Book of life—the names of the people grafted into His eternal family. 

Imagine you will find your name there. 

And then read carefully—because each and every precious soul therein is part of the plan God has been mighty to see to the end. 

Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "Ruth’s Legacy"

  1. Terri Baldwin says:

    Loved this study!

  2. Mercy says:

    @Sara F, I agree that some will argue about Joseph being Jesus’ father, and this is the earthly father that God (His Heavenly Father) had hand picked Joseph. Joseph choosing Mary to be his wife is a divine union. It has to be Joseph and it has to be Mary. There is a reason why Joseph matters. There are 2 genealogies of Jesus in Luke and in Matthew which are different slightly. Matthew genealogy (Matt 1:1-17) records from Joseph’s line tracing down from Adam to Joseph’s real father Jacob. The genealogy in Luke 3:23-38 records Mary’s line, tracing down from Abraham to Mary’s dad which is Joseph’s father in law (here Luke 3:23, says Joseph the son of Heli – see the difference, which means Joseph the son in law of Heli). And the reason why the Luke genealogy listed Joseph’s name in place of Mary’s according to a commentary I studied, there is scriptural precedent for a man’s first son to be reckoned to the mother’s genealogy if her father has no sons (Numbers 27:1-11 and Numbers 36:1-12, Ruth 4:6,) and this is especially appropriate since Jesus was the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15) and not the seed of man. So considering from both sides of Jesus’ parents, either Joseph or Mary, Jesus is both the bloodline from David if you count down through Joseph or through Mary, which the Lord has promised and delivered. So Joseph must be the father and no one else. I find it so interesting that God is really technical (more than we even know) to cover all grounds of debate so that humans cannot doubt and raise arguments to dethrone His establishments. It is just our lack of knowledge that cause us to doubt and question God, but God since the days of old, He is legit. When God has planted something, it is secure, well thought out.

  3. Roxane Richardson says:

    I have enjoyed this Ruth study and actually kept up with it. I do like reading the genealogies. It took some time to get use to them but now I actually read them instead of skipping over them.

  4. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Amen

  5. Victoria E says:

    Whoops sorry my phone had a mind of its own! Adrienne praying for you!

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