The Story of Ruth – Ruth 1:1 – 4:22

The Story of Ruth – Ruth 1:1 – 4:22

“Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me —a foreigner?”

The story of Ruth is a beautiful love story… the love between Ruth and her mother-in-law… and the love between Boaz and Ruth.  But central to our understanding of the story is the way in which God told the Israelites to treat the stranger or foreigner in their midst.

Deuteronomy 24:19-22 gives the Israelites instructions to leave the leftovers from the harvest for “the alien, the fatherless and the widow.”  This was one way that they were to reflect God’s nature to the world around them, caring for the poor and outcast the way that God does.  This was also connected to their time as slaves in Egypt, for God tells them “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt.  That is why I command you to do this.” (Dt. 24:22)

In other words, God wants them to remember what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land… to be the outcast… the alien… the underdog.  And as they remember what it’s like to be oppressed, they are told to make sure to look out for the orphan, the widow, and the immigrant.

Ultimately, we recognize a little bit of ourselves in Ruth.  Grafted into the Chosen People of God, we are all foreigners and outsiders, gentiles who have benefited from God’s grace and favor.  May we never forget that we are outcasts and underdogs, and may we treat others with the same grace and favor that God has shown to us.

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!
Redeemed thro’ His infinite mercy-
His child, and forever, I am.
Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!
Redeemed thro’ His infinite mercy-
His child, and forever, I am.
– Fanny J. Crosby

 

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