• Barbara Brittain

Searchers - Bible Book Club

Book: Ruth – an Old Testament short story with a strong message about loyalty and love.

Key words: love, loyalty, faithfulness, suffering, bitterness (mara), selflessness, trust, devotion, care, charity, equality, integrity, boldness, command, generosity, immigrants, poor, family, widow, heirs, kinsman redeemer, cultural practice, land, grain, protection, provision, providence.

Key themes: race, women, struggles, blessing, redemption, love “hesed” (Hebrew word meaning God’s covenant love with this people).

Key verse: “… your people shall be my people and your God my God …” (1:16)

Why the story was told:

To supply the family tree of David.

As a political statement about intermarriage between nations.

To be a humanitarian plea on behalf of those who are in need and are struggling.

As a gritty narrative about survival.

As an inspiring story about love, relationships and the value of family love.

To depict an overruling providence.

To present a case for racial tolerance.

The story could be all these things.

It challenges us to show love and loyalty to God and our neighbour, irrespective of race, gender and financial position.

It shows that in our day to day lives, God provides, at the same time as fulfilling his will. God is working his purpose out and people, rather than being pawns, are part of the providence of God. Naomi and Ruth think this through themselves and see God at work.

Lindy put it this way, that the ‘magic’ of the book of Ruth is in the words,

“... A son has been born to Naomi ... he was the father of Jesse, the father of David.”

The story looks forward to Jesus, of the line of David, who will come to bring God’s love and redemption to humanity.

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