free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!
The Message of the Book of Ruth
In speaking of the message which this little book has for us, we shall treat it as conveying to us a message of redemption. Looked at in this light the book has, I think, these things to tell us:
I. It tells us that the range of God's grace is ever wider than our conception of it. The book of Ruth shows us how one who was a member of an idolatrous people, one who was a Gentile, an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, a stranger from the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world, was actually brought into the number of the chosen people, and became one of the direct line of which the Messiah came.
In the old time, as in the new, God's salvation, though reaching men through channels of His own appointing, was open to all who cared to avail themselves of it.
II. The second thing about redemption which this book tells us is, that although God's grace is so free and open to all, it can save us only when we make it ours by an act of deliberate choice. God does not force His salvation on any. Ruth chose Israel and Israel's God. Had that choice not been made, Ruth would never have gained her position as the wife of Boaz. And even after this decisive choice was made her position was not secured until she had claimed all that was hers. Ruth had to make herself and her claims known to Boaz. She had to possess herself of her rights by a holy violence. And this she did.
With like decision and like determination must we act if we would win the heavenly city. It is true 'whosoever will may come'. It is true 'him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out'. But if these blessed promises are to avail us, we must will and we must come.
III. The third lesson about redemption which this book teaches us is this that redemption is achieved by and only by a Kinsman-Redeemer. Ruth owed her position in no sense to herself. She owed it entirely to Boaz. Her knowledge of her claim, her presentation of her claim, would have availed her nothing had Boaz refused to act. And Boaz' power of acting depended on his being a kinsman.
God's grace is indeed wide, wide as the universe, great as God Himself, but God's grace reaches sinners only through the Redeemer. And our Lord's power to redeem us lies in the fact that He is our near kinsman. Our Saviour is God. But our Saviour is man as truly God as if He were not man, as truly man as if He were not God. Man alone could be the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. In Jesus therefore we have a Kinsman-Redeemer.
And as Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer of this little book, completed his work of redemption by uniting Ruth to himself and making her a sharer in all his glory and power, so is it with our Redeemer. He saves us by union to Himself.
G. H. C. Macgregor, Messages of the Old Testament, p. 101.
This text, in its Latin form, 'Priorem misericordiam posteriore superasti,' has been placed on a tablet in the porch of the ancient church of Guingamp in Brittany, to commemorate the blessings received during a recent mission.
Reference. IV. 1-22. S. Cox, The Book of Ruth, p. 123.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Ruth 3". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany