Note: I’ve heard from a few that are unable to do the reading, but are benefiting from the devotionals. I am glad to hear that these readings are helpful to you. However, I encourage you to do two things: (1) Consider if there is something else you are doing during your day that can be eliminated or abbreviated so that you can do the Bible reading. Generally, reading the 4 chapters per day should not take longer than 15-20 focused minutes. It can also be divided by morning and evening or morning, lunch and evening. (2) If you really do not have the 15-20 minutes, let me encourage you to spend your time reading scripture rather than my words, as they are of immensely greater value.
The Book of Ruth is a brief, beautiful gem in the Old Testament. It serves many roles.
First, it bridges the gap from the time the judges ruled over Israel and the time of King Saul, King David and King Solomon. The former would be the lowest point of God’s people in the Promised Land. The latter is the heights of Israel as a nation. The former is a time of the ugly depravities and consequences of sin. The latter a time of promise and expectation (though it certainly has the ugliness of sin as well). As we see at the conclusion of the book, our heroes become the great-grandparents of King David; who himself establishes the eternal throne on which Jesus Christ sits. (see Luke 1:32)
Ruth is also a wonderful resource to teach both men and women how to honor others above yourself; how to work hard; and how to honor the differences and glories of the roles of the sexes. We should want our daughters to be like Ruth and our sons like Boaz. We should hope for our sons to marry a Ruth and our daughters to marry a Boaz.
Ruth also develops important types that point to the Gospel. Naomi, the Hebrew, who changes her name to Mara (“bitter”) because the Lord has dealt bitterly with her. In her grief, she even finds it better to advise her beloved daughters-in-law to return to their families and, as we see in Ruth’s response, to their gods. How much Naomi is a picture of God’s people at this time in their history. We should also take note, that the Book of Ruth is rather unique for the lack of acknowledgement of the direct activity of God. However, only the blindest of eyes can fail to see God’s activity.
While Orpah returns, Ruth refuses, saying, “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) Ruth, the Moabitess. Ruth, the Gentile. Ruth with a deeper commitment to and understanding of God than her Hebrew mother-in-law.
Then there is Boaz, the Kinsman Redeemer. He is the close relative who purchases them out of their poor situation; the one who redeems them. He is the clearest picture yet of the the coming Messiah, the Seed of Woman first foretold in Genesis 3:15, who would crush the serpent’s head and redeem His people.
Perhaps today you find yourself identifying with Naomi, struggling with bitterness because your plans and dreams have not come true. Wait. Even if you cannot see God’s hand at work in your situation, He is present, sovereign, and good.
Perhaps like Ruth, you are both trusting God and serving faithfully. Be encouraged. Your kinsman redeemer, Jesus Christ, has purchased you and will deliver you. You are to Him like a bride that He loves, sustains and protects and will one day deliver spotless into His presence. (see Revelations 19:6-13)