Introduction to Ruth
In his brief commentary on the book of Ruth, Sinclair Ferguson opens with these words:
“The book of Ruth is not a work of deep theological reasoning like Paul’s epistle to the Romans, yet it is full of theology. It is not a magnificent symphony on the work of Christ like the Gospel of John, yet it ultimately points to the coming of Christ. It is not full of vivid apocalyptic imagery like the book of Revelation, yet it traces the details of God’s working in the unfolding of the events of history. It is not basic instruction about the Kingdom of God like the Sermon on the Mount, yet it contains important lessons about life in that Kingdom.”
Ferguson notes that the book of Ruth does all this by teaching timeless lessons illustrated in the lives of its three main characters: Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. This book is part of the biblical story of redemptive history. This story-line is often undetected by the persons involved at the time. God often works as we might say, ‘behind the scenes.’ As Ferguson writes, “It describes one more stage in the purposes of God as they moved inexorably towards the final redemption of his people through Jesus Christ.”
Noting the mysterious work of God in ordinary ways, Ferguson again writes, “Apparently the story of a small and insignificant family, it is actually one of the building blocks in God’s preparatory work as he sovereignly directed history towards the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ. In fact, the message of the book of Ruth cannot be fully understood apart from the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
He declares, “The book of Ruth shows us in miniature form, but in considerable detail, how wise God’s sovereign purposes really are.” Finally, emphasizing the book’s continued relevance and importance, Ferguson concludes,
“We are not able to detect with perfect clarity the hand of God in the circumstances of our lives, far less see where he is heading with them. But when we find his autograph in the narratives of biblical history, we begin to recognize the same or similar patterns and principles emerging in our own lives too – and so we learn to see his handwriting in our own experiences.”
Surely, finite creatures that we are, we can never fully comprehend what an infinite God is doing. But here in the book of Ruth, God allows us to see the kind of things he does, so that we may trust him when we see similar patterns being woven into our own lives.
Join us this week as Chad opens for us a study in the book of Ruth. Keep him in prayer as he takes us on a journey across the next four weeks through the tapestry of the lives of several persons who though they could not always detect the hand of God, they knew to trust the heart of God. Likewise, we can learn from this biblical story of the ordinary ways God works in and through our lives to accomplish his plans.
Don’t forget that Sunday School starts back this Sunday at 9:00 am. We have age-graded classes for children. For our students and adults, we have a combined class on covenant theology.
Let me encourage you to reach out and invite your family and friends to join you as we learn of God’s ordinary ways of working. Your leadership team delights in serving you in Christ. We give thanks to God for the privilege of planting a Reformed work in our communities, and we join you in praying for a new Reformation.
For Christ and His Kingdom,