I was recently made aware that the book of Ruth in the Bible foreshadows the gospel message of Jesus Christ. I just love it when God opens my eyes to new revelations in His word. It kind of takes my breath away and is almost always followed by an oooohhhh. It is awe inspiring as He is an awesome God.
A kinsman redeemer – Jesus Christ (Boaz). A gentile bride – the Church (Ruth). A Israelite woman who went into exile due to a famine, who went away full and returned empty, who stated that the hand of God had gone out against her, who changed her name from Naomi (pleasant) to Mara (bitter). Ruth was a Moabite who had a conversion from her false God’s to Naomi’s One True God. Ruth refused to depart from Naomi. She remained faithful to her pledging her support and serving her faithfully. Ruth then left her homeland to return to Bethlehem with Naomi. She did all that Naomi recommended. She waited patiently for her redeemer.
I encourage you to read this precious story. Walk in their shoes. Feel the loss and fear of the future. They had no one left to provide for them. They had no hope for a different outcome. They were unable to save themselves.
It struck me this week that in the midst of the Old Testament, here sits this jewel that is even titled for the Church. Why wasn’t this book called Naomi? Why wasn’t this book called Boaz? Why Ruth?
It is the Church, the gentile bride of Christ, right there in the midst of the Old Testament. It is a love story, told from the perspective of a woman. So counter cultural. It reflects Boaz as the kindness and provision of the Lord. There is no flaw to be found in him.
I heard this week, while listening to sermons on Ruth, that Boaz was the son of Rahab (a Canaanite prostitute) and a descendent of Tamar. Tamar was a Canaanite woman who played the role of a prostitute to have a child with her father-in-law. Ruth was a Moabite – a descendent of Lot through incest. Ruth and Boaz conceived and birthed Obed, who later fathered Jesse, who fathers David. These two gentile women included in the line of the Messiah with a few other ladies of some repute.
God uses the willing and the weak. He equips us for His great purposes. What we have done in the past and where we have come from are of no account when we are choosing to serve the one true God. It is our pure devotion to Him that matters most. We cannot hide from nor run from the purposes of God in our lives. His gifts and calling will not be revoked.
Isn’t it interesting that the redemption comes through marriage? Christ redeeming Israel through His gentile Bride the Church. God is going to restore Israel. The Church needs to stand with her as Ruth stood with Naomi.
The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. (Romans 11:25-31 ESV)
Study the word beloved, it is rich and deep and the breath of God. He will meet you there.
The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it—the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:1-3 ESV)
God has much to teach me. I cannot learn if I am not willing to open His word, sit at His feet, ask for His guidance and wisdom to know all that He want me to do. Then I must be willing and ready to do it. To leave my old gods and my home and faithfully say as Ruth told Naomi, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16-17 ESV)
We have received God’s great mercy. We have been redeemed by the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. Our gifts and calling will not be revoked. Go and tell of the good news of Jesus. Be encouraged. Press on.