The book of Ruth is a love story. On the surface, it’s a love story between a young Moabite woman named Ruth and the Israelite, Boaz. But on a much deeper, spiritual level, it’s a love story between God and people. God is the hero, the true lover in the book of Ruth. The story beautifully demonstrates how God woos Ruth to Himself.
Ruth grew up in a pagan nation worshipping a pagan god. Although the Moabites were polytheistic (worshipped multiple gods), the primary Moabite god was Chemosh. The Moabites viewed Chemosh as a god who destroyed and subdued. On an ancient stone inscription, the Moabite king, Mesha, attributed victories in battle to Chemosh.
Pagan women who married Israelite men normally continued to worship their national gods. In fact, in direct disobedience to the true God, King Solomon helped his foreign wives cling to their pagan gods. He even built a “high place for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab” (1 Kings 11:7). Jehovah disciplined Solomon by taking the kingdom away from his descendants (1 Kings 11:11-13).
But Ruth acted differently than most pagan women. When she returned to Israel with Naomi, Ruth forsook Chemosh. Yesterday, Teri Lynne showed us Ruth’s commitment to Naomi. Her vow of devotion to Naomi included a vow of devotion to Naomi’s God.
“Where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16
In the very next verse, Ruth voiced her desire for the LORD to hold her accountable for keeping her commitment to Naomi. “May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” “LORD,” in Ruth 1:17, is translated from the Hebrew name for God, “Jehovah” or “Yahweh.” Ruth used God’s covenant name. Her commitment to Him was real, not superficial or reactionary.
Others recognized Ruth’s faith in the One, True God. For instance, Boaz acknowledged Ruth’s trust in Jehovah. “May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (Ruth 2:12). Boaz’s words paint the picture of a tiny bird snuggling under its mother’s wings. Ruth knew God as protector and provider. She depended on Him to supply her needs and keep her safe.
Why did Ruth choose to worship Jehovah over Chemosh? Even though the story does not specifically answer this question, we can draw some conclusions. Scripture tells us that no one seeks God on her own (Romans 3:11). We cannot come to Him unless He draws us (John 6:44). God wooed Ruth. He used Naomi’s faith and testimony to display His character. He planted belief in her heart. God drew Ruth with cords of love.
Yes, Ruth is a love story. A love story between a young Moabite woman and the Great I Am.
How is God wooing you? In what ways is He drawing you to Himself to experience His love?