There’s this narrative in Scripture where the God who created the universe and majestically reigns over it narrows His focus to a young Jewish couple in a little town without much worldly significance, called Bethlehem. He providentially orchestrates every detail of their lives so that they meet, fall in love, and then God gives them a baby that would eventually lead to the redemption of people from all over the world throughout all time. Most of you are probably thinking about God’s work in the lives of Joseph and Mary, the earthly parents of Jesus, but those same words are also true of Boaz and Ruth, the parents of Obed. Luke 3:32 tells us that Obed stands directly in the genealogy of Jesus.
Those aren’t the only similarities between the Book of Ruth and the story of Jesus’ birth. Granted, Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and Joseph and Mary were not married until after His birth, while Boaz and Ruth conceived Obed naturally after their marriage, but outside of those extraordinary circumstances the events surrounding these narratives are extremely similar. That is why I am excited to spend the four Sundays of Advent preaching through Ruth.
Ruth is a book of hope and promise. It is a narrative about the sovereign work of God, His care for those who turn and follow Him, and the outworking of His providential plan. That’s true of history, but it is also true of our own lives. As I have read and studied this week, I’ve been struck by how often the tension of the Advent season is mirrored by the tension of Ruth. On Sunday morning we will talk about Ruth 1, which begins with great tragedy and personal devastation, but ends with the possibility of hope. That’s what we celebrate as we approach Christmas, the realization that much is not right with the world, but we have hope in Christ. It begins with His birth and points us toward the promise of His return. When we ask, “Where will our help come from?” God answers, “It will come from a Redeemer.” For Naomi and Ruth, their immediate redeemer was Boaz, but even as we’ll see in four weeks, their ultimate Redeemer is ours as well, Jesus Christ.
Christmas is a busy season, but in the Church we celebrate Advent. Advent is a time to slow down, to meditate, to ask difficult questions, and to hear God’s promises of hope for this life and peace with Him. I know your schedule will be full over these next weeks, but I believe it is important for you to gather together with God’s people on these Sunday mornings as we sing to Him, encourage one another, and, for the next four weeks as a church family, hear two remarkably similar ancient narratives that proclaim the truths that God is sovereign and He is with us.
For the sake of His name,