Monday, August 10, 2009

Romance in the Bible?

Faithful God: An Exposition Of The Book Of Ruth
By Sinclair Ferguson

This book is based on a series of sermons preached by Sinclair Ferguson. The story of Ruth is a beautiful story on its' own, and I've heard preaching on it many times. But it always amazes me to hear (or read) it again and see things that I never noticed before. That's one of the things that sets the Bible apart from other literature; it's inexhaustible nature.
The book of Ruth is short, only four chapters, but there is much in little. On the surface, it is a love story of an unlikely woman, a poor widow from Moab, with a wealthy, honorable Israelite, named Boaz.
Ferguson describes how a personal ad would have appeared in the Bethlehem Star:
"Single Moabite woman, widowed, childless, with mother-in-law, seeks well-to-do Bethlehem businessman with view to marriage; must love mother-in-law."
The story is about the themes of returning/conversion, loving-kindnesss, loyalty and faithfulness. It shows how Ruth and her meddling mother-in-law, Naomi are saved by their Kinsman-Redeemer. It has an overarching theme of the providence of God in difficult circumstances to advance his kingdom. It was written a few generations after the fact to show how God used an unlikely foreign woman to be the great-grandmother of King David. Ruth is also listed in the gospel genealogy in Matthew to show that she is also in the family line of Christ. It shows the inclusion of the Gentiles (non-Jews) in the great plan of Redemption.
Ferguson also contrasts Boaz with Adam. They both seemed to have it all, but they were both alone, and that was "not good". They both went to sleep, and when they woke up, the woman of their dreams was there.
Ruth is always used as an example of loyalty and faithfulness. Her famous words (spoken to her mother-in-law) are often quoted at wedding ceremonies to show devotion.
It's a good book to add depth and insight to an already beautiful love story.

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