Summary: We see some costly things involved in the story of Ruth, including the costs of her "Redeemer." The book of Ruth reveals: A Spiritual Conversion; A Substantial Compassion; and a Significant Commitment.
1. Benjamin Franklin and the book of Ruth
Benjamin Franklin had an appreciation for the Bible as he, along with T. Jefferson and J. Adams designed the first US Seal for congress with the Red Sea episode depicted. When he was the newly formed US government's representative to France he indulged in a group of literary intellectuals. This group held no respect for the Bible and they would consistently make fun of it. One day, Ben decided to read a book from the Bible but he changed the name of God and other names in the book to disguise it. After the reading of this short story to this group of literary scholars they sat shocked that they were unaware of such an interesting, well written, classic piece of literature. They asked Ben of his source for this story and Ben was pleased to say, "It comes from the book you so despise, the Bible." The story Ben had read was the book of Ruth.
2. Ruth is a story of Romance; Acceptance; Providence set during the period of the Judges
3. Ruth 1.1-5
a. Moab -- an enemy nation to Israel; cursed for the way they treated Israel in the wilderness
1) Balak hiring Balaam to curse the Hebrews and then tempting them with immorality;
2) Caused the long term exclusion of Moabites from the assembly of God's people to the tenth generation (Deuteronomy 23.36)
b. Bethlehem -- House of Bread -- Naomi and family moved away because of famine -- no bread in the house of bread; years later, we come full circle and Yeshua (Jesus) is born as the "Bread of Life" at the House of Bread (Bethlehem) -- descended from Ruth -- a convert to Judaism
I. A Spiritual Conversion -- Ruth the Moabite becomes an Israelite
I've read that Michelangelo, the great sculptor and painter, was pushing a heavy rock up a small incline to his studio so that he could do some sculpting. A neighbor watched him for over an hour as he worked to get this rock in place. Finally he asked, "Michelangelo, why do you labor so hard over that ugly, heavy piece of rock?" Michelangelo said, "Because there is an angel inside that wants to come out."
A. Harvest time of grains -- Barley (1.22) and Wheat (2.23)
B. With Symbolic Applications
1. Passover (Barley) -- First Fruits (wave offering on first day of week: Leviticus 23.9-11)
a. Application to Yeshua as First Fruits -- 1 Corinthians 15.17-23
17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
b. Application to Yeshua's First Fruits -- Matthew 27.45-54
2. Pentecost (Wheat)
a. Wave Offering of two leavened loaves of bread -- Leviticus 23.17 and 20
17 You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as first fruits to the LORD.
20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.
b. Jews made acceptable to God by Yeshua (Jesus) -- Acts 2
c. Included Gentiles made acceptable by Yeshua (Jesus) -- Acts 10; 15 etc.
Even from the beginning of Abraham's story and the promise God gave him, God's chosen people were to be a light to the nations. Throughout scripture, God-fearing people everywhere were drawn to Israel's faith. There were Egyptians who left with Israel in the Exodus, a harlot of Jericho who joined God's people in the conquest of Canaan, Gentiles who served God during the ministries of Elijah and Elisha, a queen who came to Jerusalem to marvel at Solomon's wisdom and wealth, Assyrians who repented at Jonah's preaching, and Romans who aligned themselves with Jewish synagogues. God has always been relentless about drawing the world to himself.
a. Harvest of Davidic line -- Ruth and Boaz -- Obed -- Jesse -- David (4.13ff)
b. Ancestor to Yeshua (Jesus) -- Matthew 1
c. Note: Ruth was from a cursed nation and Rahab was from a cursed town -- both in the lineage of Yeshua (Jesus)