Ruth is like a look behind closed doors; it’s a picture of what God is really doing when all we can see is chaos, hurt and pain.
What is God really like?
An amazing relationship of love, ever widening the circle. He’s interested in taking all types of people and through them experiencing, loving, appreciating his kindness, his grace, his covenant love, changing them to be like that and so widening this relationship of covenant love. God is particularly interested in organising the world.
Dealing with the cliffhanger
Bows wins the right to take Ruth as his wife but it is not without cost. There is financial obligation and lifetime of obligation to Naomi. Why is this little episode in chapter 4? Why is it not sewn up in a more straightforward way?
Firstly, this passage shows us the cost to Boaz of his decision to redeem Ruth. We are only bought back by God because a great cost was paid. Secondly, we see God’s sovereignty hemming in the whole of Ruth and Naomi’s lives. At key events in their lives, God hasn’t been absent. He has been working out his purposes through tragedy and triumph.
‘As it turned out..’
Boaz won the right to marry Ruth, much to the celebration of all who witnessed it. Home she thought she would find with Naomi’s God, as it turned out, God’s own quiet working, as it turned out, it happened. Sometimes we can’t see the whole picture. Naomi couldn’t see the end. Yet in the bits we do see, God is providentially working in the bits that still seem unresolved.
Israel was in chaos, yet behind the scenes God was working through the lives of an individual family. Always true. Remember that we can thank God for what we can see and trust God for what we can’t see.
It gets better
God is working to do something really good. It’s not just a happy ending. The child, through Ruth, is going to be the grandfather of King David. God is interested in bringing people from far away into his amazing circle of love and then working out his plans to bless and love and redeem the world through these strangers, who have no right at all to his love.
Ruth is without visible miracles, yet totally miraculous. It gets even better because the writer wants to underline even more of this truth about God. He points out that the family includes an earlier guy called Perez – a son born back in Genesis when a father in law raped his son’s wife because he thought she was a prostitute. God is sovereignly quietly working. To do what? Bring salvation to the world, reestablish his rule through a great redeemer King.
We can be in God’s plans. We can be a display of God’s kindness and expand his ever widening circle of love, no matter how bad or how messed up you feel. It gets better than just God has a plan, God has an amazing plan to win the nations through winning outsiders like us into his circle and turning them into people who are used to welcome more people in.
In our weakness we can point others to the kindness of our redeemer and so bring people into God’s ever expanding circle of love.
We have a choice. We can look at the mess of the world and write our own story. God is always writing. It can be uncomfortable and messy but from the joy of Ruth 4, it’s well worth it.
Remember that you have the same God as Ruth has. And with a God like that, who knows how it may turn out?