The story of Ruth is often read as this isolated story that celebrates commitment. On the surface, it is easy to make that argument. It is about a woman named Ruth who, along with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law, lose everything. The tragedy turns to sadness with Naomi, the mother-in-law, tells the daughters to return to their homelands in hope of starting a new life with new husbands. But it is here where Ruth commits to Naomi. She informs her that she will not abandon her and that she will go with Naomi wherever she goes. It’s beautiful and powerful but it is not the main point of the story.
There is another story in Genesis 13 about Abram and Lot. They have amassed so much wealth that is no longer financially beneficial for them to stay close to one another. So, while overlooking this vast land, Lot and Abram separate to maintain their wealth. Abram goes towards Canaan and Lot goes toward what will eventually be known as Sodom and Gomorrah. This breaks this family apart. And it’s easy to see where there is no hope of restoration for Abram and Lot.
It is important to know that God is always at work. Even when we cannot see what God is doing, God is working behind the scenes in our lives. And regardless of how you feel, God has not abandoned you. For me, that is what the story of Ruth is about. Boaz is from the line of Abram, that is impressive on its own and it allows gets us to King David. But what is often missed is that Ruth is a Moabite. Moabites were descendants of Lot. It is easy to make the story of Ruth about commitment and trusting God. Those elements are certainly there but this story is also about God restoring a relationship that was broken many years ago. And furthermore, it is about God using an unlikely hero in Ruth to restore a broken relationship.