For the next few months, we will be looking together at the book of Ruth on Sunday mornings. This past Sunday, I provided an introduction and overview to the book as a whole (if you missed that sermon, you can access it on the sermon audio page of our website), but I wanted to take this opportunity to say a bit more about why this book can be so helpful to us theologically and what to be looking for as we read it and study it together.
While this short book captures both our imaginations and our emotions as a great and heart-warming story, it is so much more than that. And thus to view it only as an engaging piece of literature or merely as a touching narrative would be to miss much of its brilliance and purpose. Now don’t get me wrong, Ruth is a heart-warming story, and it is an engaging narrative. But to view it in that vein alone would grossly neglect its profound theological depth.
Like most good stories, the theological teaching in Ruth is subtle. Though God’s name is mentioned twenty-three times in the book, only twice is it mentioned by the narrator; every other time it occurs in the midst of conversation. Such subtlety reminds us of God’s continuous work in the life of ordinary people and in the midst of ordinary situations. There are no supernatural events or extraordinary occurrences that take place in this book, and yet readers get a very real sense that God is just as involved in these everyday circumstances as he was in the parting of the Red Sea or in the fall of Jericho. Naomi and Ruth and Boaz are ordinary people who live ordinary lives, but their story teaches us how God so often works out his purposes through ordinary people and ordinary means.
Although the theological message of Ruth is subtle, it is not absent. God’s presence and activity is weaved into every part of this story, even if it is behind the scenes. As you read through the pages of this brief book, you get a glimpse of the hidden (yet very real) providence of God – that same providence that is present in our ordinary lives. Ruth should serve as both a reminder and an encouragement to us. God is working in our lives, even if it is not in ways that seem extraordinary or obvious.
I hope you’ll be able to join us on Sunday mornings as we study this wonderful book together. You may just come to realize that God is doing much more than you think!
Justin Wainscott - February 4, 2018
An Introduction and Overview of Ruth
Sermon Text: Ruth 1-4
From Series: "The Hidden Providence of God: An Exposition of Ruth"
This Sunday Morning Series walks through the book of Ruth and examines the hidden providence of God throughout the narrative.
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