The Bitesized Bible
29 November 2020
As with all scripture, Ruth offers different theological avenues on which to travel. From a Christian perspective, I would argue that Ruth is one of the clearest Old Testament pathways to Jesus. Ruth’s four chapters signpost this with strong indications of what the New Testament would eventually reveal.
Bread of life: Like other Old Testament examples journeys begin with a ‘famine in the Land’, a common occurrence that prompts a need to leave one place and move to another. The odd thing about Ruth, is that Naomi and family leave Bethlehem – aka – The House of Bread. For them to leave, the harvest must have failed. Bread was scarce! After the loss of husband and sons, Naomi hears positive news about Bethlehem. God had provided and Bread was back in town.
Redeemer: Naomi returns to Bethlehem – with Ruth the Moabite and widowed daughter–in–law in tow. Boaz enters the story as a ‘Kinsman Redeemer’ – a male relative that provides. Boaz – who provides for Ruth, has been used as a template for Jesus making provision. However, Ruth is not about feeding miracles, more about being an initial storyboard for understanding redemptive history.
Prince of Peace: The book of Ruth works here as a bookmark in the Letter to the Hebrews in its claim that God’s people are waiting to realize the security of everlasting peace and rest (Heb 4:8-9). Ruth’s chapter three points to Boaz as the incarnation of a redeemer, for Ruth’s benefit. In him Ruth can find the security Hebrews alludes to. For the Christian, Jesus promises, “I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
Son of God: Following three chapters of advent style implications, - watching and waiting, a child is now expected. A baby is born in Bethlehem. The beginning of a new dynasty: The House of David. Ruth is a hero of faith, journeying away from who she was to where God wanted her to be. The model of Ruth in its deeper meaning, makes the joy of Jesus easy to grasp. In other words, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, Jesus is the Kinsman Redeemer for all humanity, Jesus is the Prince of Peace and, best of all, Jesus is Immanuel - God with us. As the anticipated son. Born of Mary in the line of David, with the influence of Ruth and Boaz, and of course, in Bethlehem – The House of Bread.
I painted the image as a nativity and apply it to Ruth as a book
with the potential of being the Old Testament template for the nativity.
I invite you to consider what that might mean?
© 2020 David Hollingsworth
Last Updated: 30 November 2020