RUTH AND NAOMI
The account of Ruth is one of my favorite Bible stories. It is all about the Church. If you are not familiar with the story, read the Book of Ruth. It is only four chapters long.
The story is about a Hebrew woman named Naomi, who moved with her family to Moab because of a famine in Israel. There her two sons married Moabite women. Later, Naomi’s husband and both of her sons died. The famine ended and Naomi determined that she would return to Israel. One of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, returned with her.
In this story Naomi is a type of the Jewish people. She had to leave her land and then later returned to it. Ruth, as a Gentile, is a type of the Gentile Church. It was Ruth who gleaned in the harvest fields, a picture of Christian missionaries working in the harvest field. Naomi did not work in the harvest, nor do Jews generally work as missionaries for Judaism.
There is one more important character in this story, Boaz. Naomi, whose land had gone to another, recognized that Boaz was a relative and could redeem her land. Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer and is a type of Jesus, our Redeemer.
Naomi coached Ruth on how to approach Boaz to request that he fulfill his obligation as a near relative. The process is known as levirate marriage and is part of the Law given by the Lord to Moses (Deuteronomy 25:5 and following). The purpose was to keep the land allotted to a family in that family. Ruth was the widow of a relative of Boaz, and he was required to fulfill the levirate marriage obligation.
What is interesting is that this occurred on Pentecost. To this day in Jewish synagogues, the Book of Ruth is read on Pentecost. While the Jews do not realize it, the Book of Ruth is a picture of the marriage of Jesus, the Redeemer, and the Gentile (Christian) Bride as described in the Revelation 21:9. And it all happened on Pentecost.
There is another interesting fact derived from this story. Ruth did not replace Naomi. The land was redeemed for Naomi. Ruth was the bride, but she did not get the land. This is just one more indication from the Lord’s Word that the Church is not a replacement for Israel. May His will be done.