We are tempted to see Ruth as a one-dimensional love story, but it is much, much more than that. The narrative of Ruth shows us a young Moabite widow who comes to know the covenant love (Hebrew word: hesed) of the one true God and the joy of belonging to His people. As Ruth and Naomi navigate extraordinarily dark and difficult circumstances, there is unmistakable evidence of God’s sovereign hand at work to redeem a people for Himself. Additionally, we see the establishment of the lineage of King David as well as Jesus Christ (see Matthew 1:5-16). God is the hero of the story as the faithful One, who with great lovingkindness (hesed), pursues and cares for His own to provide what they need. In Ruth’s story, we see a reflection of our own story. We too were “alienated from [God’s people] and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God…” (Ephesians 2:12). Like Ruth, we too need a Kinsman-Redeemer who will do what is necessary to remedy our helpless condition. Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi are part of a much larger story that reveals God’s grace and lovingkindness (hesed) in the midst of human frailty.
Act 1: Ruth 1
Title: Dark Times with A Ray of Hope
Big Idea: Even in the midst of dark, difficult, and chaotic times God still works on our behalf for His glory and our joy.
Seeing Christ: Ruth, the emigrant, reciprocates covenant lovingkindness (hesed) to Naomi. Jesus, the ultimate Emigrant, left the comfort, perfection, and majesty of heaven to descend into our brokenness with covenant lovingkindness (again, hesed) that promises to never leave or forsake His called-out ones (see Deuteronomy 31 and Hebrews 13:5).
Act 2: Ruth 2
Title: THE Most Import Question of Life
Big Idea: Boaz is introduced as a close relative of Elimilech, Naomi’s deceased husband. He is a “kinsman-redeemer” who is able to restore the land and legacy of Elimelech’s household. We see that Boaz is a good and godly man who rewards Ruth’s lovingkindness (hesed) toward Naomi as well as her humility.
Seeing Christ: Jesus is the better Boaz and is our Kinsman-Redeemer who saves and protects the believer from our own hopeless and helpless condition and whose death and resurrection make the way for us to have peace with God.
Act 3: Ruth 3
Title: Finding Rest
Big Idea: This chapter both begins and ends with the theme of the search for rest. In 3:1, Naomi asks Ruth, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?” Then in the last verse of the chapter, Naomi assures Ruth that Boaz, “will not rest but will settle the matter today” (3:18).
Seeing Christ: The threshing floor is where the harvested grain is crushed with the kernel being separated from the chaff. The cross is the ultimate threshing floor where Jesus was crushed for our iniquities (see Isaiah 53:5). Ruth humbly approaches her kinsman-redeemer to ask for redemption.
Act 4: Ruth 4
Title: From Emptiness to Fulness
Big Idea: The book begins with Naomi empty and bitter (1:20-21). The book concludes with Boaz redeeming both Ruth and Naomi, restoring fullness to their lives and legacy.
Seeing Christ: To “redeem” during the period of the judges had three basic meanings: freedom from bondage (Lev. 25:47-48), from poverty (Lev. 25:25), and from death (of the family lineage, see Deut. 25:5-6). Boaz shows us Christ in that he redeems both Ruth and Naomi in all three ways, revealing the redemption that Jesus offers freely to us–freedom from our slavery to sin, our poverty of spirit, and freely welcoming us into the family of God.
- Jared C. Wilson, Ruth: Redemption for the Broken, Study Guide with Leader’s Notes (The Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible Series 2019)
- Paul E. Miller, A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships
- Carolyn Custis James, The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules
- Children’s book about Ruth: https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/ruth-P005786379
- Kelly Minter’s video women’s home group look at Ruth (bottom of page): https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/ruth-music-P005327484
 The Hebrew word hesed is one of those words, like shalom, that has no English equivalent. It is often translated as lovingkindness, yet it means so much more. Another description of hesed would be the consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly-pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, energetic love of God, which is supremely demonstrated through the life and death of our Savior Jesus Christ. While the word is only used three times in Ruth (1:8; 2:20; 3:10), it is noteworthy that hesed is actively and continuously demonstrated by the three main characters.