Read: Matthew 1:1-6
. . . and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth. (v. 5)
We’ve been noting Matthew’s inclusion of four foreign women in Jesus’ family tree and how most of them had stories that included some R-rated elements. We said yesterday it was a reminder of why our world—even Jesus’ own family—needed a Messiah to come and save it. The least controversial relative of Jesus in this list is Ruth, the loyal Moabite widow who refused to leave her mother-in-law, Naomi, and so ended up moving to Bethlehem where she fell in love with Boaz. Together they end up becoming great-grandparents of King David.
But Ruth’s story is also a story of grace. As a foreign widow, Ruth was as vulnerable as you could get in the ancient world. Immigrants, widows, and orphans were routinely taken advantage of—indeed, a woman like Ruth was vulnerable to cruelty, rape, and exploitation. That’s why God’s law for Israel always made extra provision for such people, including that law that told farmers to leave some crops behind so a poor person like Ruth could come and glean.
Lots of people in Israel ignored God’s laws. But not Boaz. By grace, he did what God had commanded and so saved Ruth’s life. And she ended up becoming a great-great-great . . . grandma of Jesus! God’s ways of grace always make for life instead of death. Ruth and the other women listed in Matthew 1 testify to that. But then, so can we all! —Scott Hoezee
Prayer: For the undeserved, surprising, wonderful gift of your grace, O God, we say thanks. Amen.