What woman doesn’t love the dynamics of a love story?
Whether a love story is read or watched, a good romance reveals setting and plot with most emphasis on characters. Well-written classics include the unlikely tales of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Wuthering Heights. And then, there are timeless tales set to stage: Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, and Dr. Zhivago to name a few. The string of films starring Meg Ryan, some of the most popular love stories (chick flicks) produced in my lifetime, are Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, French Kiss, Kate and Leopold. Though the biblical story of a relationship between Ruth and Boaz is remarkable, Ruth is much more than a love story.
The Story’s Setting
With unknown authorship (possibly Samuel, David, or Solomon), the story’s setting is intriguing: The period is during the judges, one of the darkest times in history. The primary locations where the action takes place are the city of Bethlehem, the land of Moab, a farmer’s field, a threshing floor, a city gate, and a bedroom.
The Story’s Plot
The story’s plot involves not only the redemption story concerning the days of Naomi and Ruth, but also the overarching story of redemption. Like any well-written tale, there is conflict in this book when Naomi stands as a widow with no son to carry on the family’s lineage. But there is resolution found in Boaz, a figure who shows a lot of similarities to Jesus Christ.
The Story’s Characters
The book of Ruth is such a well-written story that we are drawn to the characters: We read words of grief and despair from an aging woman, the trust of a loyal daughter-in-law, and the compassion of a wise man. Here we enter historical record of the lives of real people: An Israelite gentleman and a Moabite widow. The writer not only gives the details of how God works in their relationship, but he allows the reader to see God working in redemptive history, the line of Jesus Christ.
Why Should we Study Ruth?
We need to study Ruth because we need models of godly character. We need to read Ruth because we need to recall how God works in both good times and bad. We need to study all of scripture as a reminder of looking for Him beyond the present, in the larger story of redeeming grace.
*Sources listed in last post of series.