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        Ruth - Grace in the Old Testament

 

The book of Ruth in the old testament is a clear picture of God's Grace, undeserved favor towards his children.  Like you and me,  Ruth did not deserve God's favor.  She was a Moabite, an enemy of the people of God and a people cursed by God.

In a manner of speaking, Ruth became Born Again.  When Ruth husband died Her mother in law Naomi urged her to return to "her gods", but Ruth said that Naomi's God (Jehovah, Yahweh, Elohim) would be her God - she confessed with her mouth (Romans 10:9.  When we become Born Again, we also become subject to the Grace of God, God's undeserved favor.  Up to that point in our lives we were God's enemy, Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  That is Grace!

Ruth 1: 15 And Naomi said, See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.  16 And Ruth said, Urge me not to leave you or to turn back 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.

So, Ruth is a Old Testament "type" of the New Testament church.  Ruth and Naomi travel back to Naomi's original home of Bethlehem, arriving at harvest time.  There, Naomi has a close kinsman, a man named Boaz. 

Immediately upon arrival, Ruth wants to look for Grace, she is expecting Grace.  Ruth 2:3 And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.  Ruth then "happened to appear at the part of the field belonging to Boaz".  Ruth found favor with Boaz.  He instructed his servants to not molest her (protection) and to give her water to drink (provision) when she became thirsty.   Boaz ordered his servants to let her glean in the best place and even to drop handfuls of grain in her path for her to pickup.  Ruth 2:15-16 And when she got up to glean, Boaz ordered his young men, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her.  And let fall some handfuls for her on purpose and let them lie there for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.

Ruth was unaware that she had a wealthy relative that was helping her.  From her point of view she was prospering and life was becoming easy.  Good things were happening to her and for her.  Like Ruth, we might sometimes be unaware that we have God's Grace working for us.  One mistake we make is to think that our works, our intelligence, our education is the reason for our success.  Jesus said in John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  With Jesus, we are to rest in Him.

Boaz is a "type" of Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer.  The New Testament says that Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17).  Jesus is Grace.  In this case, Ruth became Born Again and Boaz (Jesus) immediately began working on her behalf.  Boaz servants are "types" of Jesus servants, angels and men, working to show Grace to Ruth.

Later in the story Boaz decides to marry Ruth.  Again, this typifies the church becoming the bride of Christ.  But the Law of Moses was in the way.  Because Ruth was a Moabite, the Law stood against her.  Also, there was a relative that was closer to Naomi than was Boaz.  Boaz called for a group of ten elders of the city (ten typifies the law) to witness his discussions with the other relative.  The other relative was under the Law and refused to marry Ruth.  The ten elders witnessed that Boaz would marry Ruth and sanctioned the marriage.  In effect Boaz, like Jesus, fulfilled the Law.  Ruth 4:9 And Boaz said to the elders and to all the people, You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's from the hand of Naomi.  Chilion and Mahlon were Naomi's sons that dies in Moab.  The name Chilion means "wasting" in Hebrew.  The name Mahlon means sickness in Hebrew.  We have been redeemed from wasting and from sickness!

Boaz redeemed Naomi and Ruth, the outsider.  Jesus redeemed us, all outsiders as well.  We are now family members of the family of God.  Ruth was the great grandmother of King David and was in the lineage of Jesus.