Three Truths from the Book of Ruth
By Jeff Cranston
Ruth lived during a time when darkness had fallen on Israel in the days of the Judges. The last five chapters of the Book of Judges inform us that sin was rampant among God’s people. They were involved in idolatry and civil war. God, who had brought His people out of Egypt into the land of milk and honey, had been brutally booted out of the story by a people living in sin.
Ruth, a non-Israelite from the land of Moab, but the widow of an Israelite, swore fidelity to her also widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, and returned with her after the loss of Naomi’s two sons to their ancestral land of Bethlehem. As they set out, Ruth made a profession of faith that has immortalized her as an ideal of faith for Jews and Christians alike: “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” (Ruth 1:16b, NLT)
In this great story of Ruth, there are six truths that apply to our lives today. Let’s take a look at the first three:
1. God is concerned about all people regardless of what they are, who they are, or where they are from.
The Book of Ruth demonstrates God’s love for the Gentiles, even in a period of history when the Hebrew people were given prominence due to their role in God’s redemptive plan for humanity. Though a Gentile by birth, Ruth was selected by the Lord to be in the genealogical line of the world’s Savior, Jesus Christ. It is true God had chosen the Israelites as the primary avenue through whom to send his Son into the world; however, the very fact that there are Gentiles in the Lord’s genealogical background is evidence that God was still a God of all people.
2. There is hope even during the most devastating times of your life.
It’s crushing to lose a spouse. It’s heart-wrenching to lose a child, much less two children. That was Naomi’s story thus far. And Ruth also lost her husband. When these two women arrive back in Naomi’s hometown, they are destitute, devastated, and broken. But both of them had faith that somehow things would work out. They had hope for their future.
When life brings devastation, it’s not easy to hope and have faith. But when things are the most difficult, that’s when you need faith and hope the most. In the moments where life feels like it’s crushing you, start with a little faith.
3. God uses unlikely people for His purpose.
Ruth was a poor, hurting, outcast widow. She moved to a foreign land where she knew no one but her mother-in-law. They struggled with poverty. She had to go behind the harvesters in the fields to gather a bit of barley so they could survive.
Anyone looking at this foreign widow would have never guessed that God would choose her bloodline for the line of the promised redeemer—Jesus. Ruth’s story reminds us that even in our obscurity, and in the mess of what may be our lives, God finds a way to use the most unlikely people in ways that we could never imagine.
In my next blog post, we will explore three more truths from Ruth.
Jeff Cranston is lead pastor of LowCountry Community Church in Bluffton, S.C.