October 29: The Story of Ruth

Read Ruth 1:1-4:22

ruthA “chick flick” is a movie where women are wiping their eyes while men roll theirs!  Perhaps you were tempted to give one of those responses as you read the book of Ruth today.  The storyline includes a matchmaking widow mother and her efforts to connect her widowed daughter-in-law with the right man.  The curtain closes with grandma holding a baby boy!  On the surface, it seems to meet the classic criterion for categorization as a “chick flick.”  But, thankfully, it is so much more…it is a tale of hope for all.

The events of these four chapters took place “In the days when the judges ruled…”  Those were difficult days!  It was a time when the Jews had settled into their homeland.  These days included the leadership of familiar people like Deborah, Gideon, and Samson.  But, these were generally days in which the spiritual and moral climate of Israel was in decline.  This story of faith and love is like an oasis in a desert during this time of downward spiral!

To truly understand the book, you must grasp the idea of levirate marriage.  If a woman was widowed without children, the closest relative on the side of the deceased husband had a responsibility to marry the widow.  Their first child was to be raised in honor of the deceased husband/relative.  (See Deuteronomy 25:5, 6.)  According to this Old Testament principle, Boaz was, then, one of two possible husbands who could serve as Ruth’s “redeemer.”

On their journey towards marriage, both Ruth and Boaz demonstrate godliness, integrity, and purity.  What a contrast to Samson’s story from yesterday!  Their lives are worthy models for the unmarried today!

Meanwhile, the book of Ruth is much more than a “chick flick” on a number of levels.  First of all, Ruth helps us to connect the period of the judges (1:1) with that of the kings (4:22).  The “judges” are mentioned in the first verse of the book.  At the other end, the last verse closes with the mention of David, Israel’s greatest and most prominent king.

But that’s not all.  Ruth also demonstrates how sweet but seemingly otherwise insignificant people make great contributions to the eternal plan of God!  Ruth and Boaz are important people in Christ’s family tree.

As you pursue godliness and purity, your life is significant too!

sbk