THE STORY OF RUTH
Over the next few weeks I will be preaching through the Book of Ruth. This biblical narrative is absolutely extraordinary. Ruth’s story (really God’s story) will prove to be a great encouragement to the faithful. We will see the providential working of the sovereign God who controls history and yet often seems so hidden. Pain, heartache, disappointment, seeming defeat, sickness and even the death of a loved one may leave each of us feeling perplexed, angry, depressed or just plain numb. We tend to question God’s love and concern while going through challenging times. We often wonder, why me? What have I done? Where is God? I believe we will gain a greater understanding concerning these questions as we go through the Book of Ruth.
We will start by looking at the story’s background, even at its very beginnings in Genesis. Biblical narratives must be studied in the context of God’s gracious covenants, and His redemptive plan as first seen in the promised “seed of the woman” in Genesis 3:15. We will take a look at Boaz’s family history and the origins of the Moabite nation.
My prayer is that with the comfort we find through the mercies of the God of all comfort, we will be better able to “comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3 – 4). “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
The following is the basic outline for the series on Ruth:
I. The Story’s Background
a. The Beginnings (Genesis 3:15; 12:1 – 3)
b. The Origin of Moab and the Moabite People (Genesis 19)
c. Moab’s Relationship to Israel
d. Judah and Tamar – Boaz’s Family Line (Genesis 38)
e. The Covenant In Deuteronomy – Blessings & Curses (Deuteronomy 6 – 8; 28)
II. The Context of The Book of Ruth (Judges) “In those days there was no king in Israel.
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25)
III. The Book of Ruth
Outline: (From the NIV Study Bible; Zondervan Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI. 2011)
I. Introduction: Naomi Emptied (1:1 – 5)
II. Naomi Returns from Moab (1:6 – 22)
A. Ruth Clings to Naomi (1:6 – 18)
B. Ruth and Naomi Return to Bethlehem (1:19 – 22)
III. Ruth and Boaz Meet in the Harvest Fields (ch. 2)
A. Ruth Begins Work (2:1 – 7)
B. Boaz Shows Kindness to Ruth (2:8 – 16)
C. Ruth Returns to Naomi (2:17 – 23)
IV. Naomi Sends Ruth to Boaz’s Threshing Floor (ch. 3)
A. Naomi Instructs Ruth (3:1 – 5)
B. Boaz Pledges to Secure Redemption (3:6 – 15)
C. Ruth Returns to Naomi (3:16 – 18)
V. Boaz Arranges to Fulfill His Pledge (4:1 – 12)
A. Boaz Confronts the Unnamed Family Guardian (4:1 – 12)
B. Boaz Buys Naomi’s Property and Announces His Marriage to Ruth (4:9 – 12)
Vi. Conclusion: Naomi Filled (4:13 – 17)
Vii. Epilogue: Genealogy of David (4:18 – 22)
The Book of Ruth
1. The author is unknown. Jewish tradition says Samuel is the author of Ruth. This may be, but cannot be known for sure.
2. Key Text: 4:14. “Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!’”
3. Key Term: “Redeemer.”
4. Date: Occurred during the time of the Judges (1360 – 1080 B.C.). Written somewhere around 1050 – 1000? B.C.).
5. A brief one-sentence summary: “Ruth, a Moabite widow, found love and fulfillment through Boaz, a rich Israelite bachelor who redeemed the land and the name of Ruth’s deceased husband, thereby restoring Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, from emptiness to fullness.”
6. Themes: Kindness, Faithfulness, Providence, Loyalty, and Redemption.