Divine Providence in Ruth
Author: F. Duane Lindsey
Week of April 20, 2014
Two books in the Bible are named for their leading female character—Ruth and Esther. Both books trace God’s providential actions at critical points in Israel’s history. Ruth was a foreigner (a Moabitess) who immigrated to the land of Israel. Esther was a Jewess in exile in a foreign land (Persia). Through Ruth, God provided a lineage to the Messiah; through Esther, He delivered the exiled nation Israel from extermination.
In both books we see the providence of God operative in His behind-the-scenes activity through precise timing of everyday events to guide His people into the experience of His will. Unlike the Book of Esther in which the name of God is not mentioned and His providence is implicit, the Book of Ruth clearly reveals the Lord’s presence in the daily life and conversation of His people and His name is on their lips in their decisions and relationships. But God’s actions in Ruth are not manifested by supernatural activities or by priests or prophets. God is at work in the events of Ruth, but mainly through His people who manifest righteousness and loyalty in character and conduct. He is also the provider of food and life (Ruth 1:6; 4:13).
The Book of Ruth links the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants by providing the bridge between God’s promises to Abraham and His covenant with David. Also Ruth the Moabitess is an example of God’s blessing through Abraham to all nations of the earth (Gen. 12:3).
Questions: Have you ever been delayed in traffic so that you missed traveling on a plane or bus that was involved in a serious mishap? Have you somehow been prevented from seeing a friend to tell him certain information, only to find out later that the information would have been very disturbing or discouraging to him? We are not always aware of the reason certain things happen to us. But we can trust our all-knowing, good God to dovetail happenings together and to accomplish His purpose in our lives (Rom. 8:28).