Like a good detective, let's examine this book.
The book of Ruth is short but beautiful. It shows the story of what simple faithfulness can do. Even when the world around us goes crazy, God still sees our faithfulness and rewards us more than we can imagine. We tend to overestimate what we can do in the short term and wildly underestimate what God can do through a lifetime of faithfulness.
🔍 Things to Notice
- According to the Talmud (oral Jewish tradition), Samuel wrote the book of Ruth.
- This happens at the end of the time of the Judges.
- This is happening during one of the many 'cycles of sin' discussed in the book of Judges.
- Moab was an enemy to the Jewish people. So Naomi's family moved to enemy territory during the famine. This shows the cycle of sin in full swing. When things are going well, the nation of Israel does not keep God's covenant.
🙏 Jesus in this Book
(Every book reveals the glory of God, displayed in Christ Jesus)
- Jesus is our Kinsmen Redeemer. He is Boaz and comes to rescue us in our time of need.
- Faithfulness sometimes looks dumb... but it's not.
- Faithfulness grows our good reputation.
- Faithfulness is noticed over time.
- Faithfulness opens doors that nothing else will.
- Faithfulness becomes a generational blessing.
Who wrote it: Samuel.
Who is the original audience: The nation of Israel.
Where are we: The major places mentioned in the book of Ruth are Moab and Bethlehem. Moab was a gentile enemy of Israel. Bethlehem is the area where David came from and eventually where Jesus was born.
When was it written: Approximately 1160 t0 1100 BC.
What is the big idea: Namoi has lost everything. It would be understandable for Ruth to return to her homeland and remarry. However, she chooses to be faithful to her mother-in-law with nothing good promised in return. The lesson is the power of simple faithfulness. When we are faithful, it can look like the worst decision ever. However, many times, it is more valuable than we realize. Simple faithfulness does more than we can imagine.
Why is this book important: Our culture seems to glorify everything but faithfulness. We bail on everything that does not show results fast enough or doesn't serve us. Ruth did the opposite of what would seem wise according to our standards. She stayed in a situation that seemed hopeless because she deemed it to be the right thing. She did something that did not benefit her. She took care of someone that she had no responsibility for. If Ruth had asked someone living in today's culture what she should do, she would likely have not been advised to stay. But, it turns out that God rewards faithfulness. Truthfully, there is a time to end something and celebrate what was. However, we often give up too quickly out of our impatience, not because the Lord is finished.
How can I apply it?: God's Word is powerful for many reasons. One reason is due to the timeless nature of what it teaches. We can have something called 'recency bias.' This means we can think what is recent is best. However, when we look over history, the lessons of Ruth tend to work out more than anything else. Stay faithful. Don't give up. Do the right thing, even if it does not benefit you. These lessons will serve you much more than anything our current culture may teach. When you are faithful, God will reward you.