Ruth is one of the most popular love stories in the Bible. It is often taught how Boaz, the kinsmen redeemer, is a picture or foreshadow of Christ and the redemption He provided for all on the cross. When I think about it, that’s the only thing I’ve ever heard preached on concerning the book of Ruth! Yet, after reading through this story recently, I noticed a few interesting things I haven’t seen before and thought I’d share them.
But before we get into that, let’s set up the book a little…
Theme: I’ve heard it said that the theme of Ruth is, “It is better to be in famine with the people of God than to be in feast with the world.” Meaning: If Naomi and Elimelech had not left Israel because of the famine, Naomi wouldn’t have lost everything. True. But, if that were the case we wouldn’t have the story of Ruth, now would we? And… Obed, Jesse and David never would have been born! Though I agree that the theme stated above has good principles and a positive message for the Christian life, I’m not sure that it really fits the whole story of Ruth. Yes, it fits the first five verses of chapter one, but after that we start to see a heavy amount of grace showered on these women – and being that there was no famine in the land of Israel when they returned, I’m going to suggest a slightly different theme…
When one forsakes Jehovah and the place where He has put them because of hard times and returns to the world, expect to lose everything. But those who return to God and the place He has for them, through grace they will gain the blessings of God that surpasses everything.
I really believe that the ultimate theme of Ruth is grace.
Naomi tried to send both of her daughter-in-laws back to their homes, but Ruth graciously stayed with Naomi and took care of her. Boaz showed grace to Ruth when he told his young men to purposely drop handfuls of grain for her during the harvest…and when he told her to drink water from his well. According to the Jewish law, the men of Israel were not to take women of other nations to be their wives. Jews were to only marry Jews, not Moabites. The fact that Boaz took Ruth as his wife even though she was a Moabite was an extension of grace on his part. Finally, that Boaz and Ruth are both in the line (family tree) of Christ is the ultimate grace!
Ruth is a beautiful picture of how the Greater than Boaz (Jesus Christ) extended grace to a Gentile (someone who was not a Jew) and welcomed them into the family of God.
Now that we have established a theme, next time we’ll get into the story!