A perfect typology of the story of redemption is Ruth’s story. It is more than the love story some people paint it as. It depicts the beauty of salvation and the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.
To understand this post better, Naomi represents the Jews, Ruth represents the gentiles (and us) and Boaz represents Jesus the Redeemer.
Let’s start with Chapter 1 of the book of Ruth where Naomi and her family left God’s Promised Land to an unknown land because of a famine. A tough time had come and they were in search of somewhere better so they moved to a land where they met Ruth and Orpah, who later became Naomi’s daughters-in-law. A few years later, tragedy struck and the three women lost their husbands. Because of this, Naomi was bitter and asked that the women return to their families since they had no other reason to stay with her but Ruth told Naomi sternly that she would not leave her. In her words “…your people would be my people and your God would be my God” (Ruth 1:16).
Before moving further, I would like to draw our attention to the fact that when you walk away from God and His family (the body of believers), you end up living not just a hard life but a desperate one. Naomi and her family walked away from the family of God in the Promised Land because of hard times but unfortunately, things only got more intense. When we leave God’s protection we cannot blame Him for the things we may face at that point.
By the statement Ruth made in verse 16, we see that she came to acknowledge God as her God through Naomi. Naomi’s disobedience had caused Ruth to come to know the God of Israel. Just as the Bible makes us to understand that the Gentiles (we) have been saved by the reason of the disobedience of the Jews (Romans 11:11, 30-31). But this is not where the story ends. Matter of fact, it gets even more interesting as a man named Boaz comes into play.
I don’t know if it’s just me but it does seem very significant to me that Boaz was a man from Bethlehem who was rich, merciful and kind and the very first words of his recorded were “God be with you” (remember Emmanuel means God with us). This man was a potential redeemer of both Naomi and Ruth, both Jew and Gentile. (Ruth 1:1-4)
After Naomi and Ruth returned to the land of Israel and had spent a few days combing through the harvest fields -it was allowed as a way to cater for the poor-Ruth came across Boaz’s field. He was compassionate towards her and even gave her more than she expected. (Hmm, seems like what Jesus does for us). Because Naomi happened to be a relative of Boaz, customarily, he had the right to redeem her and Ruth and restore all their property that they previously had to sell. But Boaz couldn’t do that right away, there was an even closer relative who could do that for them. (Ruth chapter 2)
This relative who could have redeemed Naomi and Ruth refused to. This represents the law. The law seems like such a close call to redemption. If only I can just do this and do that, I would be saved, but the law cannot redeem us. Boaz could have easily redeemed the duo, himself being interested in Ruth anyway but he chose to follow the due process. Just like Jesus, He did not cut corners to redeem us, He went through it all and in the end, He lost nothing. (Ruth chapters 3&4)
Cutting corners is not Christ-like. If we are truly aiming to live like Christ, we would learn to enjoy the process. In the end, you lose nothing, Joseph can testify.
So, by the reason of Naomi’s disobedience, Ruth came to salvation and through Boaz, the two were redeemed. Likewise, we, who were not born into the covenant (that only the Jews had access to then) have been made to know salvation by their disobedience and God in His infinite mercy, offered up Jesus Christ for our sake, who atoned for the numerous mistakes or needs we had which the law could not fulfil, and He thereby redeemed us.
The story of Ruth reveals Redemption; God’s great plan and man’s ultimate hope.