June 07, 2024

Ruth: Uncovering the Power of Vulnerability, Risk, and Story

In this episode, Whit and Lyndsey discuss the power of story, how to make sense of the seemingly risqué actions of Ruth, complete submission and vulnerability, and how it all points to Jesus.

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We are story-driven creatures.

As humans, we have an insatiable appetite for stories. Think about it: how much of your monthly budget goes to subscriptions that are centered around stories? Whether it’s books, movies, TV shows, or streaming services, stories are at the heart of our daily lives.

Why are we so drawn to stories? It’s because they help us make sense of the world. Art bypasses our logic and strikes us right at the heart. We see ourselves in stories; they reflect our experiences, struggles, and triumphs.

The Bible is the ultimate story, woven together from Genesis to Revelation. It’s a grand narrative meant for us to find ourselves and God within its pages. As we read, we’re invited to ask ourselves, “Where am I living?” and “What has God been doing all along?”

The story of Ruth and Naomi is a perfect example of how the Bible speaks to our spiritual journey. In just four chapters, we learn what Ruth and Naomi learned over a lifetime.

Their journey of loss, loyalty, and redemption mirrors our own paths and the overarching narrative of God’s faithfulness.

Let’s take a look at some key lessons we can learn from Ruth’s Story.

1. Submission is not the same as seduction.

The story of Ruth is filled with cultural actions and cues that can be challenging for modern readers to understand. There is a risk that Ruth’s actions will be misinterpreted, especially given the double entendres used by the author.

So, why did the author choose to include so much language with double-meaning? There could be multiple explanations.This language could serve to create dramatic tension for the reader, emphasizing the riskiness of Ruth’s actions and their possible misinterpretation. The language also serves as a reference to other biblical stories, like the story of Lot and his daughters. Interestingly, Lot’s firstborn son was named Moab, and Ruth is a Moabite. This connection would create tension for the reader: will Ruth follow in her ancestor’s footsteps?

However, Ruth is not there to seduce Boaz. Instead, she is making a marriage proposal. There is a significant difference between seduction and submission:

This act of submission parallels how we should come to Christ. It requires full surrender, giving up control, power, and position.

Ruth’s approach to Boaz on the threshing floor, with its potential for misinterpretation, ultimately underscores her integrity and the profound nature of her commitment. It also offers a powerful example of how we should approach Christ—with total surrender and vulnerability.

2. Removal precedes growth

The pivotal moment in Ruth’s story takes place on a threshing floor—but what exactly is a threshing floor?

In ancient times, a threshing floor was a flat surface where harvested wheat was threshed to separate the grain from the chaff. This process involved removing the outer covering to reveal the valuable grain within. The threshing floor became a place of separation and preparation, where what was necessary was kept, and what was unnecessary was discarded.

Embracing the Process of Removal

The process of removing what holds us back is echoed in Scripture. Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” so we can run our race with perseverance.

If we are to run unencumbered, we have to release the things that weigh us down. As God shapes us for new seasons and prepares us for the purposes He has in store, we often need to leave certain things behind.

This may not always be about abandoning sinful or immoral practices. Sometimes, God asks us to lay down good things, and our willingness to surrender will prepare us for something greater.

There are gifts and provision on the other side of obedience.

Parents understand that you can give your kids gifts that can hurt them. God is waiting for us to become the kind of people He can trust with His blessings. He is not withholding good things from us but preparing us to be the kind of people who can steward His blessings.

Transformation often starts with a process of removal. Whether it’s laying down sin, distractions, or even good things for a season, this act of obedience forms us into the kind of people we were created to be.

3. Trust takes vulnerability

Naomi and Ruth’s decision to trust Boaz was not made lightly. They knew who they were dealing with. Christianity often involves significant vulnerability, requiring us to place our lives and futures in God’s hands. This vulnerability raises a crucial question: How do we know we won’t be taken advantage of?

We all seek someone worthy to place our confidence in for the future.

There is One who is truly worthy—Jesus Christ. He is the one in whom we can place our hopes, dreams, and future with absolute confidence.

When we read the Bible, we find that Jesus is the One we’ve been looking for all along. The Old Testament stories and prophecies serve as breadcrumbs leading to Him. When Jesus finally appeared, God’s people were meant to recognize Him as the fulfillment of those promises.

Boaz’s actions in the story of Ruth give us a glimpse of what Jesus has done for us.

Boaz redeemed Ruth, ensuring her security and future. Similarly, Jesus redeems us, offering eternal security and hope. Ephesians 2 beautifully illustrates this, showing how Christ, the better Boaz, brings us from death to life and makes us part of God’s family.

Show Notes:

Listen to the Message: Ruth: Vulnerability & Risk


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