We do a great injustice to sacred Scripture by contenting ourselves with quaint stories and life lessons as if they were the prime products of our study of God’s word. The book of Ruth has undoubtedly received its fair share of undervaluation at this point. For example, the theme of marriage occupies much of the story, but when viewed as an idealized romance between faithful Ruth and godly Boaz, the rich theology of this book passes right under the noses of many of its admirers. Before the story is about this couple, it is about God. The book of Ruth is first and foremost about the covenant faithfulness of the LORD to ensure the arrival of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.
It has been said that Ruth 1:1-7 may be viewed as a microcosm of the entire book. It is in itself a movement from emptiness to fullness even as the Book of Ruth opens with death—the death of Elimelech and his sons (1:3-5)—and ends with life in the birth of Obed (4:13). It is, in this sense, a paradigm for redemption as it contains a shift from human deprivation to God’s saving provision. If we can observe how some key events within this passage develop to meet Israel’s needs, we might develop a greater hunger for the theological richness of the book.