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The Old Testament book of Ruth is just four chapters long, but it oozes with compassion for others. What would you do if you were living in another country and your husband, brother and father-in-law passed away? What if that was three thousand years ago and the only family left were three women?
There are no men around to make money or be part of their lives. Naomi, the family matriarch, begged her “daughters” to stay in their own country and she would journey to her home, near Jerusalem. One did stay in her own land, but one went to be a part of Naomi’s heritage, whatever that would be. Naomi had land near Jerusalem that was going to be sold. Ruth had an unwavering love and helpfulness in her countenance. She promised Naomi that whatever she did and wherever she went, they would do it together.
The compassion of Ruth for her mother-in-law is so strong that this story just ambles out of scripture and captures our own emotions. It does present some challenges ’cause we don’t know the customs of those times. Boaz is a near-relative, and it would become his responsibility to reclaim the land, and take care of Naomi, and Ruth. If we are going to keep this story righteous, as we should, “uncover his feet” is done in accordance with Jewish beliefs. It only means that if Boaz was willing to obey his Jewish responsibility; raising up children to his dead kinsman, Ruth would be willing to be part of that.
This book is important because it reveals that Ruth became the biological grandmother to King David. That means that Jesus had two biological, Gentile grandmothers. Jesus’ other relative was Rahab, a woman of the night in Jericho. It was very important to the Hebrews that their lineage could be traced back to Adam — even if it was flawed. It is also important that God chose fallen Gentiles to be his relatives.
This story shows that not all people were dyed-in-the-wool sinners. Naomi, Ruth and Boaz kept the law. They were faithful folks who were obedient and righteous. Besides compassion for other folks, this little book shows us an example of virtuous living. Today, we have the same choice as Adam and Eve. Choose to be righteous which is living for God, directed by the Holy Spirit. Go for it, friends!