Today’s Tasting: Ruth: Ruth is one of the shortest books of the Bible, containing only four chapters and eighty-five verses. It is also a beautiful love story. As the story opens, Naomi is left alone with her two daughters-in-law—Ruth and Orpah—because of the deaths of her husband and sons.
Naomi decides to leave Moab where they had been living and return to her hometown in Judah. Because Naomi had no sons left to marry her daughters-in-law, she attempted to send them back to their mothers’ households. Orpah went back to her people, but Ruth refused to leave Naomi and instead chose to follow her back to Judah.
“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD do this to me and more so if even death separates me from you.’” (Ruth 1:16–17)
The story ends well when Boaz, a close relative of Naomi’s, observes Ruth collecting barley from his field and asks who she is. When he finds out she is Naomi’s daughter-in-law, he praises her for the sacrifices she has made for Naomi and the dedication she has shown to her mother-in-law. Boaz agrees to be her kinsman redeemer according to the custom of that time, and he marries her so that the land of her father-in-law would stay in the family. Ruth and Boaz have a son, Obed. He became the father of Jesse, the father of David, from whom (28 generations later) Jesus Christ was born.
Today’s Nourishment: Ruth is not just a story with a happy ending of a widow and her daughter-in-law. It is also a representation of the story with the happiest ending of all—the story of the followers of Jesus Christ.
You see, just like Boaz recognized and rewarded the faith that Ruth displayed by following Naomi, God recognizes and rewards the faith we display when we choose to follow Jesus. Boaz was Ruth’s redeemer, allowing her to inherit what was rightfully hers. Jesus is our redeemer, allowing us as his followers to inherit what is rightfully ours—the Kingdom of Heaven.
One of the things I found most interesting about Ruth is that, because she was a Moabite and not one of the children of Israel, when Boaz married her, a gentile became part of the blood line of Jesus. This points to the new covenant, under which gentiles are equal to the Jews in the Kingdom of Heaven (see Romans 3:29). Even back then, God’s plan was unfolding so that each of us could experience the salvation that came as a result of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
What a beautiful message as we move into the Easter season and celebrate the redeeming grace of Jesus’ resurrection!
Tomorrow’s Delight: 1 Samuel 1–3