Blog Post: Term 4, Week 4, 2018
In Old Testament times, there was an understanding and mandate between family members to care for relatives who were widowed. In particular, women. For many reasons, women were extremely vulnerable if left without a husband and had very limited means of income or protection. Compounding this was the importance of producing an heir so that the family name would continue. As such, it was a brother’s duty to marry a widowed sister-in-law if her husband had died. This sounds a little odd to a 21st century audience, but is actually a very kind and caring duty to be fulfilled.
The book of Ruth works through this dilemma. Naomi and her husband leave Israel and travel to another land due to a severe drought. Whilst there, her husband and two sons die, leaving Naomi and her son’s wives, both of whom come from a foreign land themselves. The story unfolds, and Naomi decides to return to Israel. She urges her two foreign daughters to return to their families and worship their gods. One leaves, the other (Ruth) stays. For the remainder of the book, we follow the story of Ruth.
Upon returning to Israel, Ruth gleans in the field of a man named Boaz who is one of Naomi’s Kinsman Redeemers. That is, he has a duty and responsibility to care for Naomi and Ruth. After a series of events, Boaz marries Ruth,
Ruth has a baby boy and Naomi’s joy is restored. A beautiful story of love, faithfulness, integrity and a demonstration of God’s goodness and sovereignty.
As the book concludes there is a very short and simple statement. It says,
“The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David”.
We all know that it was from the lineage of David that Christ, the Redeemer of the world would be born. How amazing it is to see God’s sovereign hand at work through all hardships. Not only did he redeem and rescue Naomi and Ruth, but the entire world through Christ his one and only son.