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By: Larry Shaffer
We recently toured the Washington National Cathedral
Ruth – Introduction
I have recently been compelled to read and study Ruth. I carefully read all of Ruth this morning and would encourage you to as well. This is an epic love story of kindness, grace and virtue. The story of Ruth takes place during the time of the judges and a couple of generations preceding David. This book is the prequel of I Samuel.
In a word, the story is heartwarming. There is plenty of tragedy and wickedness in various Old Testament stories, so sometimes it just plain nice to spend time reading the stories of noble, virtuous and God-fearing people. The main characters are Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. Ruth is a foreigner from Moab. Naomi is Ruth’s mother-in-law and Boaz is a relative of Naomi’s late husband. The themes that emerge throughout my initial reading this morning are the following:
1) The character of a Godly women. Doubly unique in this historical context because Ruth is a foreigner and convert to the God of Israel. Ruth is told that her reputation as a “woman of excellence” is known throughout the village.
2) The blessing of our foreigner. The fact that God so fully blesses a foreigner foreshadows our present situation as gentile Christians to whom God has extended His grace beyond Israel through Christ.
3) Despair often precedes joy. I said this story is heartwarming but there’s a caveat. Just like in our study of Esther, there is a period of despair that precedes the happy ending. The circumstances are volatile, but the character of the Godly people in this story is stable and consistent.
4) The theme of redemption runs throughout the story. Boaz provides us a foreshadowing picture of Jesus as our redeemer.
The example of Ruth and Boaz
In the coming weeks, we will unpack this story and prayerfully ask God to reveal how we should live considering the scripture before us. I plan to now go back and study this book chapter by chapter. Lord, our lives are volatile. Our lives are challenging. But what brings stability is your steady hand and your commitment to fulfill Your plan. May we be faithful and humble servants and we consider and meditate upon Your Word in the book of Ruth. May we renew our resolve to live lives after the example of Ruth, a woman of excellence. Amen.