What’s a chick flick like Ruth doing in the Bible?

29 April 2013

Have you ever been browsing in a bookshop and suddenly found a book completely out of place? When we stumble across the book of Ruth in the Bible, sandwiched between the war and gore of Judges and 1 Kings, it feels a bit like finding Bridget Jones’ Diary next to War and Peace. What’s a chick flick doing here?

Well, Ruth is a whole lot more than a chick flick and here are seven short reasons to read it (blokes most definitely included):

1. History

While not as epic as it’s neighbouring books, Ruth is still history. The events we read of really happened to real people and so we can’t lightly pass over them.

2. Great Story

The book of Ruth is quite simply a brilliant story. God, in his infinite wisdom, knew that sometimes personal stories speak to us more clearly than sweeping history or explicit instructions. Our God is a creative, story-telling God.

3. God’s Sovereignty

This could be said of any book in the Bible, but we see it in wonderfully clear strokes in the story of Ruth. If Judges is a big epic scene of God’s dealing with the whole nation of Israel, we see in Ruth a detailed sketch of God’s personal sovereign care for individuals.

4. Marriage

Married and courting couples, as well as singles considering what they should look for in a spouse, can’t go far wrong in looking to Ruth and Boaz as role models. Both are godly individuals in very imperfect circumstances, who work hard at their duties and responsibilities before them.

5. Redemption

In this short story, a redeemer is sought after, found and embraced. The story is less ‘rags to riches’ and more ‘redeemed to riches’. Boaz jeopardies his own prosperity to legally redeem Ruth the foreigner. How much greater a man who redeems the whole alienated world?

6. King David

The last word in the book of Ruth is ‘David’. The reader left finishing with their eyes on King David. It is widely accepted that the book of Ruth wasn’t written until after David had come to the throne. (And possibly quite a bit later than that.)

Why? Well what we have in the book of Ruth is the backstory and ancestry of King David – someone who’s origins may have been fairly obscure. Who is this David? Well here is his story before he was even born. I also believe that the story of Ruth is not meant to function purely as a family tree but also a character explanation. What is this David like? Here, in Ruth, you see his character.

7. King Jesus

But ultimately it’s God’s character shining through the story, pointing beyond King David to King Jesus. The godly characteristics in the book of Ruth are found in King David, but they are all flawed – whereas in King Jesus they are perfectly realised.

You can follow and listen to TCC’s sermon series on the book of Ruth here.

This blog post was written by Dave Hewer.