I love the story of Ruth from the Scriptures of the Bible. A good love story is always a joy to read, and certainly Ruth and Boaz’s story is counted among the great love stories of history. But that Ruth, a widowed woman left with her also widowed mother-in-law, is literally rescued by the wealthy kinsman redeemer, Boaz, is not even the best part of the story.
The best part of this story is actually what even Ruth didn’t know!
Scripture says that Ruth and Boaz married and had a baby boy named Obed. Obed grew up and fathered his own son, Jesse. Jesse grew up and fathered several sons, one named David. Yes, the same David who slew Goliath, who became King and who was counted as a man after God’s heart. Exciting? Yes! Fascinating? Yes! The best part of the story? Nope!
The best part of Ruth’s story is actually tucked in the Scriptures of the book of Matthew!
Matthew 1:2-16 (NASB) reads:
“Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.
David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.”
Did you see it? Do you get it?
Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior came through Ruth’s generational line!
Ruth never knew.
There was a lot of “begetting” and “fathering” between Ruth’s baby, Obed, and Jesus but nevertheless, Ruth and Obed were essential generational links.
Ruth’s story offers many invaluable lessons for us; here are a few to ponder:
- God is faithful. The Scriptures foretold the coming of the Messiah. The genealogy in Matthew makes clear that many generations passed before the actual birth of Christ, but just as promised, the Messiah came.
- God rewards obedience. Ruth experienced a long, hard season of loss. Her husband died leaving her with her mother-in-law. They were poor. They were alone. Ruth had to glean the fields (translation: harvest the leftovers) for food. She had no inheritance and was rejected by the closest relative expected to be her redeemer. But Ruth made a commitment to her mother-in-law and to God. God, in turn, rewarded her faithfulness, obedience, perseverance and commitment.
- Ruth never knew, and we may never know. We can only imagine Ruth’s simultaneous delight and relief when in Ruth 4:10 (NASB) Boaz said, “I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place…” Many of us can relate to her joy at conceiving and birthing a son (Ruth 4:13) NASB. But Ruth never knew that Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior and Redeemer, the Messiah, came through her generational line. And we may never know the generational line or influence that flows from us.
Three passages best summarize the lesson for us:
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
Be faithful. Obedient. Persevere. You just never know!