As Ruth partakes of the generous provision of Boaz, she discovers that she has more than enough for her needs. She eats until she is satisfied herself, shares with her mother-in-law Naomi, and still has a bag of barley left over! Boaz, as we have often observed in this series, is a pointer to Jesus Christ who is our Redeemer. In Christ, we are likewise more than cared for. “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
The rip-roaring romance between Ruth and Boaz is but a shadow of the mutual love between Christ and his church. Yet, it does contain many instructive lessons for anyone seeking a similarly beautiful and successful romance. Or healthy relationships of any kind. The chief lesson we learn from both Ruth and Boaz is this: we do not seek God in order to obtain his blessings, but rather we seek God as the greatest treasure of all. Every other blessing is the overflow of knowing God and centering our life in his will.
The first half of Ruth 2 is beautiful, expressing two simultaneous truths: 1) God is completely sovereign over our lives, and yet 2) we are completely accountable before him. Nothing we do, or decide, or pursue will in any way shape or unravel the perfect purposes of God. Yet, God has given us means of grace by which we come to greater understanding of his ways, greater dependence on his strength, and greater joy in his service.
The name Naomi means “pleasant.” Yet the life of Naomi in the first chapter of Ruth seems anything but pleasant. Naomi herself is brought to wonder, “Is this who I even am any more?” Yet Naomi’s story is that of the sweet bitterness of God’s affliction, of the pleasant paths of pain that God sends.
Ruth is not so much the story of Naomi’s provision but of God’s sufficiency. It is not so much a love story between Ruth and Boaz as it is between Ruth and God. And it is not so much a story of friendship between Ruth and Naomi as it is a story of the faithful friendship of God to them both. As we continue through the book of Ruth, make no mistake: like every other Bible book, the book of Ruth is ultimately about the exclusive glory of the one true God, and the foolishness and futility of seeking help
Reading the book of Ruth is like reading a tragedy (the book of Judges) into which someone has inserted a happily-ever-after fairy tale! In fact it is so sweet, so beautiful that we might be tempted to think it is just a too-good-to-be-true legend or myth. Thankfully, however, Ruth’s real story is just a microcosm of what God is actually doing in every believer’s life, all the time.