Aaaah… Ruth! What a breath of fresh air!
Sandwiched in-between the sorry tale of the failure of Israel’s judges and kings we find this idyllic little love story! It’s a bit of a chick-flick but after all that gore and bloodshed, a bit of PG romance is fine by me!
There’s so much to comment on really. But I thought that I’d just mention one thing that stuck with me from a talk I heard years ago and that is that Naomi wanted to be known as Mara – which means “bitter” – because she had returned “empty” (Ruth 1:20-21). The cool thing is that as the story goes on, through what happens with her daughter-in-law Ruth, God fills her life again. This fullness is hinted at during the story as Ruth returns twice from the fields with her shawl full of grain, the second time with the message from Boaz, “don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed”. At the end of the book the women of Bethlehem describe Ruth as “better to you than seven sons”.
In her loss, Naomi concluded that God was against her (Judges 1:13). She couldn’t see the good thing that was coming – that God would fill her emptiness, fill her to overflowing.
Did you notice who Ruth’s great-grandson turned out to be? Even at the end of the story, Naomi didn’t know the extent to which God was working through her – that through her offspring – David, and then through David, Jesus – God was working to bring fullness to all his people.
It’s a love story alright, the greatest story of love ever told.