Rather than talking about vast enemy armies that threaten God’s people, the story of Ruth speaks about something smaller: a family almost dying out but, instead, being revived. While it includes two larger themes-God’s creation being destroyed and His people being under threat-Ruth also tells of the great controversy on a personal level, where it is, in reality, always being waged.
It is no surprise that the land of Judah suffered a famine during the time of the judges (Ruth 1:1, Deut. 28:48, Deut. 32:24; see also Judges 17:6, Judges 21:25). This was a sign that the people of the covenant had forsaken God. Sin and rebellion had reduced the land flowing with milk and honey to a barren dust bowl but, in the book of Ruth, God “visited” the land and put life back into it, “giving them bread” again (Ruth 1:6).
When Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two young sons first went to Moab, they did so because they wanted a future. The land of the enemy gave temporary relief but, with her husband and two sons dead, Naomi finally decided to go back home.
Ruth was from an enemy nation that had on many occasions tried to destroy Israel, but she chose to identify with God’s people and worship their God. In addition, she found favor in the eyes of her adopted homeland, not just by Boaz (Ruth 2:10) but also by the people who knew of her (Ruth 2:11) . Boaz was confident that she also found favor in God’s eyes (Ruth 2:12) , and taking his admiration for her a step further, he agreed to marry her (Ruth 3:10-11) .
However, there was a closer relative than Boaz who had first claim to the land of the dead man if he married Ruth. The nearer relative was not interested in another wife, however, because it complicated his financial plans (Ruth 4:6) . At this point the assembly of witnesses blessed Ruth, likening her to the great women of Israel’s history (Ruth 4:11-12) , which was fulfilled when she became a forebearer of the Messiah (Ruth 4:13, Ruth 4:17; Matt. 1:5-6) .
Talk about a living-happily-ever-after story. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many of those in the Bible. Of course, there are not too many outside of the Bible either. Here, too, though, we can see how, despite the ebb and flow of life, God’s will, in the end, shall prevail; and that’s good news for all who love and trust Him.