Ruth – part 4 (3:1-18)

Previously, in Ruth…

Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, had moved from the land of Israel to Moab, with her husband; but her husband soon died, and she was left with her two sons. While they were living in Moab, Naomi’s sons married Moabite women – Ruth and Orpah. But ten years later, her sons died, too. So Naomi and Ruth, her daughter-in-law, moved back to Naomi’s home town of Bethlehem, empty: no food, and no children.

But yesterday, in chapter 2, we saw how God graciously provided for them. Ruth went to glean grain in the field of Boaz, of one of Naomi’s relatives. There, she found incredible kindness – more than was required by the law. Boaz encouraged Ruth to remain under his protection by only gleaning in his fields; he even instructed his workers deliberately to leave behind some of the good parts of the grain for her to gather. And when it came to mealtimes, Boaz invited her to share in the meal with him and the other workers. Naomi spoted the potential, and encouraged Ruth to keep gleaning in Boaz’s field.

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Ruth – part 5

Although we still have one chapter to go in our Ruth series (see this week’s previous posts), at the end of chapter 3 we stopped to ask what this ancient story of romance has to do with us. We don’t want to go down the Men are from Israel, Women are from Moab path (yes, it’s a real book), or turn it into a moral lesson about dating etiquette. So we asked the question: what does this story tell us about God? (After all, the Bible is primarily about him!)

The first thing that struck me about the story of Ruth was how it’s a great picture of how God intended his people to act. You know all those boring and slightly confusing laws in books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy? Ruth is the story of some of those laws in action.

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Ruth – part 6

Last week we paused in our series through Ruth to ask: what does this story tell us about God? We saw firstly that it illustrated God’s extravagant kindness to his people – and urged us to show that to others (like Boaz did).

The second thing I noticed  story is the way in which both Ruth and Boaz behaved honourably; with integrity. In chapter 2 Boaz is introduced by the narrator as ‘a man of standing’ – a noble man. And in chapter 3, Boaz responds to Ruth’s actions by saying something similar about her:

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