Summary: Bethlehem becomes the hometown of Ruth. Because of her faith and character, God brings her into the nation of Israel. She will become the ancestor to David and Jesus. Things of God are revealed in and to Ruth as she experiences redemption by His hand.
1. A Ph.D. candidate at the University of Southern California, was eager for the title of "doctor" - until one newly degreed professor shared his story. He said: A friend had called his home and asked, "Is the doctor in?"
The Professor's 10 year old son replied, "Yes, but he's not the kind that can do you any good."
Credentials are important. When we see the letters: PhD, MD, DDS, etc. these titles indicate that the person bearing those letters is valuable to us as individuals, or to society at large. These credentials indicate that an authorized organization or individual has placed their stamp of approval on that person.
2. God put his stamp of approval on the life of Ruth in the little town of Bethlehem
3. The story of Ruth is simply this:
a. Ruth and her Mother-in-law, Naomi go to Bethlehem after their husbands die
1) "House of Bread"
2) During Pentecost/harvest of wheat/ceremony in temple with two loaves of leavened bread offered
3) Where Ruth takes care of her mother-in-law by gleaning the fields of Boaz.
b. As she works the fields she catches Boaz' eye; he makes inquiries about her; they meet and eventually marry. That's basically it!
c. But, that's not the whole story. You see, we live in a society where women have to...
* Win a beauty contest
* Marry a rich or prominent man
* Or have a position of prominence or importance (royalty/ actress/ politics) to get noticed.
d. GOD SAYS -- that's not what gets MY attention!!! CHARACTER is more important!
1) Tamar and Rahab have mention in the lineage of Jesus -- Ruth gets a book
2) She was humble (willing to convert)
3) She was noble in character (Proverbs 31)
4) She was a hard-working servant with a heart for others
e. Boaz' view of her: 11 But Boaz answered her, "All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!" Ruth 2.11-12
I. Bethlehem is the Place of Revelation -- Ruth 4.10-11; 13, 22
A. Revelation of Ruth's Character -- 3.11
1. Same as the Virtuous woman in Proverbs 31; of Boaz in 2.1
2. Seen in her loyalty (Orpah's departure; Ruth's commitment)
B. Revelation of the God of Heaven
1. Ruth's Faith in God begins with her Interaction with Naomi
2. We see a Unique God with a Unique Community ("Edah" -- witnessing community; Matthew 16.18)
a. God is King
b. Judges are Local Leaders
c. A Declaration to the World of the Living God and His Abilities
3. She sees Romans 8.28
C. Revelation of a New Land: Naomi's Home and Boaz' fields [Pic of Fields of Bethlehem
1. A Land of Milk (shepherds) and Honey (farmers)
2. Ruth returns to Bethlehem with Naomi -- Ruth 1.16-18
But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you." 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
3. Jewish Targum to Ruth 1.16
But Ruth said: "Do not coax me to leave you, to turn from following you, for I desire to become a proselyte."
Said Naomi: "We are commanded to keep the Sabbaths and holidays, not to walk more than two thousand cubits."
Said Ruth: "Wheresoever you go I shall go."
Said Naomi: "We are commanded not to spend the night together with non-Jews."
Said Ruth: "Wherever you lodge I shall lodge."
Said Naomi: "We are commanded to keep six hundred thirteen commandments."
Said Ruth: "That which your people keep, that I shall keep, as though they had been my people before this."
Said Naomi: "We are commanded not to worship idolatry."
Said Ruth: "Your God is my God."
D. In following God, Ruth is revealed as an ancestor to David and Jesus
1. Boaz and Ruth -- Parents of Obed ("Serving")
2. Obed -- Father of Jesse (I Possess)
3. Jesse -- Father of David (Beloved)
4. Lineage of Jesus -- Matthew 1.1-17
II. Bethlehem is the Place of Redemption
A. Boaz, the Kinsman (Guardian) Redeemer -- "Ga-al"