This beautiful love story is one of only two books in the Bible named for women (Esther is the other); and not just a woman but a Gentile woman at that. Tucked away in the transition between the times of the Judges and the inception of the monarchy, the story of Ruth is pivotal to the integrity of the Messianic line which will develop from the root of King David. Much rich theology about the person and role of Jesus Christ as our Redeemer can be traced to the typology centered around the figure of Boaz. The kind providence of God uses seemingly insignificant people and events to accomplish critical kingdom objectives. The loyalty and devotion of Ruth is rewarded with unimaginable blessing that spills over to all those who come to embrace the Lord Jesus as their Redeemer.
The kind providence of God secures redemption and establishes the Messianic hope even for destitute Gentiles.
Ruth 4:14 “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today”
Overview of Ruth – Gospel Love Story
– Focuses on the Redemption of Ruth – inclusion of the Gentiles
– Focuses on the Redeemer – Boaz and the Royal Line leading to King David and the ultimate Son of David, the Messiah; Matt. 1:5 – Obed then to Jesse then to David
I. Ruth’s Background – Loyal Commitment as a Converted Gentile
II. Ruth’s Backbreaking Labor – Learning Lessons about the Providence of God
III. Ruth’s Boldness – Looking to Boaz for Redemption
IV. Ruth’s Blessing – Love Consummated – Redemption and Marriage
I. (1:1-2) Difficult Trials Test the Loyalty of Our Commitment to God’s Lovingkindness –
3 Approaches to the Difficult Trials God Brings Our Way
A. (:1-5) The Legacy of Elimelech –
Fleeing Trials – Trusting in the Flesh – Hitting Rock Bottom in Moab –
The Backdrop of the Sad Consequences of Sinful Choices
B. (:6-14a) The Lament of Naomi –
Grieving Trials – Limiting Your Vision to the Hopelessness of Your Present Circumstances –
The Burden of Guilt and Desperation
C. (:14b-22) The Loyal Devotion of Ruth –
Cleaving to Trials – Walking by Faith – Back to Bethlehem –
The Bravery of Ruth’s Commitment vs the Bitterness of Naomi’s Reaction to the Lord’s Hand of Discipline
II. (2:1-23) The Kind Providence of God Surprises Us as We Act Diligently and Responsibly in Our Journey of Faith –
3 Surprising Blessings of the Kind Providence of God
A. (:1-7) The Kind Providence of God Directs Us Into Favorable Circumstances that are Divine Appointments –
We Need to Take Initiative and Step Out in Faith
B. (:8-16) The Kind Providence of God Provides For Our Needs and Protects Us as We Trust in God’s Favor –
We Need to Act Responsibly and Work Hard
C. (:17-23) The Kind Providence of God Surpasses Our Expectations of Divine Blessing –
We Need to Persevere and Give God the Glory in Testifying to His Lovingkindness
III. (3:1-18) Because Our Redeemer is Not Only Willing and Able But Righteous, We Should Be Bold in Approaching Him For Rest and Security
A. (:1-5) Human Wisdom Can Lead to Compromising Situations When the Pathway of Expediency Trumps the Walk of Faith
B. (:6-13) Compromising Situations Can Be Successfully Navigated By Godly Men and Women of Integrity
C. (:14-18) Faith in the Kind Providence of God Means waiting on the Lord Instead of Rashly Pursuing the Path of Expediency
IV. (4:1-17) A Redeemer Who is Willing, Qualified and Capable Brings Abundant Blessing in Delivering Outcasts Who Were Desperate and Destitute
A. (:1-6) The Redeemer Must Be Willing –
Contrast Between Boaz and the Unnamed Closest Relative –
“Behold I have Come to Do Your Will, O God” (Heb. 10:7)
B. (:7-11a) The Redeemer Must Be Qualified and Capable –
Emphasis on the Legal Nature of the Transaction –
“It is Finished” (John 19:30)
C. (:11b-17) The Redeemer Brings Abundant Blessing –
(:18-22) EPILOGUE – Appreciating the Significance of Redemption
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
• To elevate the role of women and of Gentiles in God’s redemptive plan throughout history
• To bask in the simplicity and beauty of a love story with surprising twists and turns
• To see the Providence of God at work behind the seemingly insignificant people and events of normal day living
• To deepen our appreciation for loyalty and devotion as exemplified by Ruth
• To visualize the blessings that can result from stepping out in faith and trusting the Lord in difficult circumstances
• To track the ancestry of King David and witness the dramatic way in which God preserved the Messianic line
• To focus on the qualifications and role of our Messianic Redeemer based on the typology reflected in Boaz
David Malick: Purposes of the Book of Ruth:
A. To provide a biographical sketch of the pious ancestors of David the King (which the books of Samuel do not provide)
B. To contrast the reproach brought upon Bethlehem in Judges 17–21 with the account of the righteous in Bethlehem
C. To emphasize the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises through Judah at a time when the nation Israel had lost her first king–Saul from the line of Benjamin
D. To demonstrate how YHWH supplies for the enormous needs of his people both individually and nationally in accordance with his covenant promises
Brian Bill: Many people have said that the Book of Ruth is the most beautiful short story ever written. It’s an account of anxiety, fear, love, and commitment that inflames the imagination and soothes the soul. It begins with despair and ends with delight.
David Brock: The Book of Ruth is one of the most delightful literary compositions of the ancient world. The narrator is a master at painting word pictures. He skillfully employs the techniques of dialogue, characterization, repetition, reticence, ambiguity, suspense, wordplays, inclusios, et cetera to produce this moving work of art. But what is it about this picture that moves the reader? And what are the points he seeks to get across?
With respect to short stories like the Book of Ruth, which are at the same time historiographic in nature, the biblical narrator’s aim is never merely to recreate or reconstruct past events. And we have not fulfilled the demands of the text even when we, in our minds, have come to recognize exactly what has happened. In the Scriptures historiographic compositions are primarily ideological in purpose.
John MacArthur: At least 7 major theological themes emerge in Ruth:
1) Ruth the Moabitess illustrates that God’s redemptive plan extended beyond the Jews to Gentiles (2:12).
2) Ruth demonstrates that women are co-heirs with men of God’s salvation grace (cf. Gal. 3:28).
3) Ruth portrays the virtuous woman of Pr 31:10 (cf. 3:11).
4) Ruth describes God’s sovereign (1:6; 4:13) and providential care (2:3) of seemingly unimportant people at apparently insignificant times which later prove to be monumentally crucial to accomplishing God’s will.
5) Ruth along with Tamar (Ge 38), Rahab (Jos 2), and Bathsheba (2Sa 11, 12) stand in the genealogy of the messianic line (4:16, 22; cf. Mt 1:5).
6) Boaz, as a type of Christ, becomes Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer (4:1-12).
7) David’s right (and thus Christ’s right) to the throne of Israel is traced back to Judah (4:18-22; cf. Ge 49:8-12).
J. Sidlow Baxter: Priceless gems have often been found in unlikely places. Many a choice flower has been found blooming in a rocky crevice. Rainbow artistries have suddenly lit up the drabbest skies. Beauty spots have charmed the traveler at surprise turns on the least-promising road. It is even so with this superbly beautiful little idly, the book of Ruth.
What star of Messianic truth
More beautiful than Gentile Ruth?
In her the Gentiles find a place
To share the hope of Judah’s race;
Now see from royal David’s line
One hope for Jew and Gentile shine.