I don’t know about you, but I am glad that the book of Ruth comes after the book of Judges. The end of Judges is disturbing and shows the depressing results of how quickly things degenerate when people “do what is right in their own eyes.” In Ruth, we see, with somebody like Boaz, how delightful a person who is faithful to God can be.
The other interesting thing to note within the book of Ruth is Ruth herself. At the end of the book, it is noted that Ruth is King David’s great grandma. Ruth is on the outside looking in, in regards to God’s covenant blessing, as she was Moabite (not good news, see Dt. 23:3), and then her husband, an Israelite, passes away, and so she is widowed as well. She “clings” to her mother-in-law in hopes to want to go where, using her words, “Naomi’s people will be her people, and Naomi’s God will be her God”(Ruth 1:16). A romance blossoms between Ruth and Boaz, which is convenient as he is a kinsman redeemer, in that he was of a connected clan within the town of Bethlehem. Per the practice of the time, kinsman redeemers would be relatives to some degree, who could and would take in these relatives, either by marriage, or by joining the family, or by simply covering a debt. A social safety net to protect widows, orphans, and those heavily in debt if they have fallen onto hard times.
Ruth’s persistence is reminiscent of her ancestor Tamar (see Gen. 38) in that she showcases how under the umbrella of God’s grace what faithfulness looks like. Even though, it may look like she was on the outside looking in on God’s blessing, she humbly sought to be apart of God’s kingdom. God does surprising things, as we see a Moabite not only enter into the kingdom of God, but enter into Jesus’ genealogy (Mt. 1:5)! God’s grace is ever-expansive, and seeks people who are humbly faithful in response to his grace, and not spurning his grace. I hope for myself and for all of us here that we prioritize along with Ruth, faithfulness, and to use Paul’s words, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Phil. 3:12).
We see in Ruth, a woman fighting tooth and nail, to be blessed by God. Do we respond within such vigor to God’s goodness? Or do we slumber and cheapen His grace? Praise be to God as Paul put it, Christ Jesus has made me His own, and even though, I fall on my face in failure in regards to faithfulness, God still loves me, and has made me His own, and will enable me to “press on.”