There are so many lessons that we can glean from the incredible book of Ruth. Many beautiful realizations await us as we dive into this Old Testament book. The people in the story and the circumstances that they find themselves in show us things we can learn about God and His character, even in the midst of struggle and uncertainty. Here we go, down a road through Ruth!
While the book of Ruth itself barely mentions the name of God, we can dig deep and see that this story is all about God. We can see God’s glorious intentionality and redemption at every turn. The Bible is full of things we can learn about our God’s character and design for our life on this earth as we walk with Him. We see time and time again from scripture how our extraordinary God works in ordinary ways. Some may discount the Bible as an ancient fairy tale, but we can hold fast to the timeless truths that we see on every page.
The book of Ruth begins out with a statement about the time period they were in. This was a hard and dark season of having no king and everyone just doing whatever they wanted to do. They were in cultural unrest and in the midst of this, there was a famine. We start the story looking at a family who fled the famine and went to Moab in search of food. This family contained Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion. They arrived in Moab and soon after that, their father, Elimelech passed away. Following this, the sons married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. A little while later, they experienced even more loss as both sons passed away.
Little did Naomi know that so much turmoil would occur in her life. Back to back she experienced civil unrest, a famine, moving to foreign land, the death of her husband, witnessing her sons marry women who were Moabites, losing both of her sons, and being left in an unknown land with her Moabite daughter-in-laws. This sounds like the lowest point imaginable. During her time of lamenting, she even changed her name to “Mara,” which means “bitter.” She was so low that she renamed herself bitter.
That is not the end of the story, though. As we continue reading, we see her try to go alone back to her country. Ruth, her daughter in law, would not let her go alone. She decided that she would go with Naomi wherever she went and worship the God that Naomi worshiped. They returned to Israel and came across a man named Boaz. He allowed them to glean grain and have enough to eat from his barley harvest. Further in the story we see that Boaz was a man of noble character and Ruth was a woman of noble character. After doing things the right way, they were married and bore a son named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David. Just a few generations after this, we see Jesus come through this lineage.
As we look into this story, it is so important to look at how God worked through it all. There was loss, hardship, and deep lamenting. We see how God led them to redemption and gave them provision. God used this story and all of its parts to bring us the lineage of our Savior, Jesus! The people and stories involved in the genealogy of Jesus are undeserving in the eyes of the world. Most of them have major mess ups or deep losses. God chose to allow these people and situations to lead up to the birth of Jesus. This shows us that He can use every story and every person for our good and His glory. From this story we can learn about God’s faithfulness, intentionality, and the way He can work all things together just like He did for Naomi and Ruth.