The Book of Ruth is one of only two books of the Bible to be named after women (the other is Esther). Despite its short length, this remarkable book is filled with useful principles that can positively impact our relationship with God.
The Book of Ruth begins with a story about another woman named Naomi. Naomi packed up and moved from Judah to Moab due to a terrible famine that was affecting her family. She and her husband moved there with their two sons, who eventually took wives while living in Moab. Tragically, Naomi loses her husband and two sons. She is devastated by grief and decides to move back to Bethlehem in Judah. Her daughter-in-law, Ruth, wants to go with her because she has also lost her husband (Naomi’s son). Ruth was a Moabite woman and moving to Judah meant she was entering the land as a foreigner. Culturally, this was an immense sacrifice for her and it proves her commitment to Naomi and her immense desire to follow after the God of Israel.
While in Judah, God devised a plan for a man named Boaz to take Ruth as his wife, give her a child, and provide for both her and Naomi. What’s remarkable about this plan was that Boaz was qualified as a “kinsman-redeemer” to take Ruth as his wife. It was customary during this time period (Deuteronomy 25: 5-6) that a relative of a man who dies should marry that man’s widow in order to perpetuate his lineage through this woman. According to God’s remarkable sovereignty, it turned out that Boaz was a relative to Ruth’s husband who had passed away; so, he was qualified to marry her and perpetuate his lineage.
Lessons In Ruth
As we read through Ruth, we can apply some of its key themes to our own lives.
First, Ruth teaches us that God is concerned about all people regardless of race, nationality, or status. Remember, Ruth was a Moabite, not a Jew. Many discriminated against her. However, God does not discriminate and his love for Ruth demonstrates how He clearly loves all his children.
Secondly, the Book of Ruth shows us that both men and women are equal to God. Each of us is important in His eyes. There are many religions that elevate men and devalue women. However, Christianity is meant to emphasize equality amongst gender, not establish a hierarchy.
Ruth also teaches us that everyone is important to God. Very few individuals saw Ruth as an important individual. She had come from Moab which was known as a nation that had originated from the incestuous encounter between Lot and one of his daughters (Genesis 19:30–36). Ruth was a penniless widow. She was living in a foreign land to which she had no familial ties. However, God saw her as an important part of His plan. God uses Ruth to become an essential component of the lineage of Jesus because she will be the grandmother to King David. Ruth is an excellent example of how God often chooses the most unexpected individuals from society’s perspective to complete His plans for us.
Finally, the Book of Ruth proves God will send a Redeemer for our lives. We all know that Jesus, God’s Son, is the great Redeemer. Boaz could also be seen as a prophetic symbol of redemption. Each of us can find ourselves feeling empty at times. Naomi was undoubtedly empty after losing her husband and sons before moving back to Judah. Like Naomi, our sins can make us feel empty and spiritually barren. However, if we call upon Jesus to redeem us, He will rescue us. All we need to do is to call upon Him (Romans 10:13).