The Story of Ruth brings light to a dark part of the Old Testament. The opening line of Ruth says, “Now it came about in the days when the Judges governed, that there was a famine in the land” (1:1). We know that the book of Judges is full of violence, disobedience, and war. The opening line gives context to the unfavorable setting; famine in the land. But in the most unfavorable of settings, God continues to reign supreme.
Although Ruth’s story has a happily-ever-after ending, the majority of this book leads us through confusing, dark situations. The short, sweet book of Ruth unveils many issues that we still struggle with today: economy and job security, immigration, racism, equality, death and loss, and the timeless question of “Where does God play into all of this?” The story of Ruth shows us that in the bleakest of times and in the unlikeliest of people and places, God is at work.
Ruth breaks the status quo and writes herself into the genealogy of Jesus. Where she was born doesn’t define her. Her race doesn't define her. Her gender doesn’t define her. But her loyalty and dedication to both Naomi and Naomi’s God do define her. The story of Ruth shows us that above all, God’s plan is greater than any human thought. His ways are above our ways.
As we study through the book of Ruth for the next two weeks, I encourage you to really engage with this story. Looking past the ancient implications of the text, I pray you find that Ruth is more than just a loyal Moabite girl with luck on her side, but a symbol of God’s faithfulness to His people, all of His people.
Be Committed: OT Commentary Ruth/Esther, Warren W. Wiersbe
Flame of Yahweh, Richard M. Davidson
Interpretation: Ruth, Katharine Doob Sakenfeld
Judges and Ruth, Arthur E. Cundail and Leon Morris
Joshua, Judges & Ruth for Everyone, John Goldigay
Ruth and Boaz: Strangers in the Land, Terri L. Fivash