The Book of Ruth, a Love Story
Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth–lehem–judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth–lehem–judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.
The Book of Ruth is an exciting adventure during a most difficult time in history. The story of Ruth occurred during the time, “when the judges ruled,” bridging the time from the judges to the rule of the kings of Israel. It was the worst of times because, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” The Book of Judges is a book of apostasy, anarchy, bloodshed and brutality–––a picture of the unregenerate man in an unrestrained time doing “his own thing.” Why did this happen? How could this happen? The answer is made evident in one phrase which is repeated four times in the book of Judges, “there was no king.” What king is missing? God!
During this time in history, we come to the little book called Ruth which has only four chapters and eighty-five verses. It is a true historical account of God using the most difficult of times to show He is never idle but continuously working in the lives of the people of Israel and in our lives today as well. Ruth is a picture of the helpless, hopeless sinner, alienated from God and doomed to eternal darkness. There is one who is able to redeem and all that come to Him, He will in no wise cast out (John 6:37.) The Book of Ruth is not only a story of God’s amazing grace but a picture of God’s redeeming love for unworthy sinners.
Beginning the story: (The eighth book of the Bible is the Book of Ruth. Eight is the number of new beginnings in Scriptures.)
Ruth, a Moabite by birth married an Israelite man who came to her country to escape the famine in Israel. Elimelech, the father, whose name means “My God is king,” only intended to live in Moab temporarily while waiting for the famine to pass in Bethlehem, Judah. Elimelech’s name signifies that he was most likely a devout man and was committed to the God of Israel. Naomi, Elimelech’s wife’s name means “pleasant,” Ruth’s name means “friendship,” Mahlon and Chilion’s names mean “sick and “pining,” in the order already mentioned and Orpah’s name means “stubborn.”
The Book of Ruth lifts the curtain just enough for us to see the beautiful picture God is revealing to us of His redeeming love. Not all the actors in this small book even realize the impact their
lives will play in God’s wonderful plan. Ruth, the Moabites, a member of a race that began in an incestuous relationship (Genesis 19) was under the curse of God (Deuteronomy 23:3-6). God’s plan was to take this poor woman in the lowest conditions and bring her to the highest honor of life...the lineage of Christ. This book has one outstanding message–––REDEMPTION!
Thought: As you read this delightful story of redeeming love, allow your heart to be prepared for a Biblical account of the doctrine of salvation through the life of Ruth. Look for the picture the Book of Ruth gives of a sinner alienated from God, but comes to know the One who is able to redeem. If you will cast yourself upon His redeeming grace, making no claims to the works of righteousness you have done, but believe in His finished work on the cross for you––––that is REDEEMING LOVE.