Finding Jesus in Ruth
Next year my husband Dave and I will celebrate our fortieth wedding anniversary. Through our ups and downs he has faithfully been my provider, my protector, and if I need someone to stand up for me: it’s him. That’s the kind of man Boaz was. The book of Ruth is a love story for sure but it has an upper story that can’t be missed if we’re finding Jesus in the Old Testament.
Back in Gen. 17 we read that Abraham, our father of faith, was told by God that he would be the ‘father of many nations’. As we continue in this time period, that of the Judges, we have to wonder when these ‘nations’ will appear. It begins here in the book of Ruth.
Here’s the lower story. During a famine a Jewish family (Naomi’s) decided to leave Bethlehem and endure it in a neighboring country, Moab. Over a period of years her husband and sons died leaving her a widow and alone. That’s another story. Her daughter-in-law, Ruth, is committed to Naomi and makes this provocative statement:
“Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. 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 1:16 NLT
That statement, by a Gentile (non-Jewish) woman, kicks off Abraham’s prophecy mentioned earlier and commences the royal line of kingship into Israel. We read in the New Testament that Ruth and her Jewish husband Boaz, who was from the tribe of Judah, were the great grandparents of King David. Royalty was inaugurated in Israel with the marriage of Boaz and Ruth and continued through the generations until God appeared in human form: Jesus the Messiah, Son of David, was born.
To bring this home let’s look at the upper story; what does this drama have to do with me? Boaz is a picture of Jesus. He was a Jewish man, called a kinsman redeemer, who literally purchased the right to marry Ruth. He provided for her, protected her, and stood up for her when she needed it. Isn’t that what Paul was talking about when he said that marriage was a picture of Christ and the Church (Eph.5)? Our Redeemer purchased us with His own blood and spiritually married us, Jew or Gentile. He’s our Bridegroom and we are His Bride, a profound mystery; He is our Boaz and we are His Ruth.
But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5 NLT
Reading the book of Ruth with Jesus in mind keeps you aware that our sovereign God always had a plan, is always in the process of fulfilling that plan, and we are privileged to participate in that plan.