In the small town where I grew up, a person was known by his or her last name. From whence you came—who your kinfolk were—made all the difference in how everyone in the town perceived you. In my extended family, there were people of both honorable and ill repute; my last name could have wrought respect or shame, depending from which family branch I derived. In my youth, I understood that one’s lineage brought the trappings of significance or disgrace. But now I know that ancestry doesn’t define a person—only God can do that.
- When you think about your history—from whom you came, and the person you are today—how do see God’s grace at work?
READ THE WORD: RUTH 4:13-22 (ESV)
13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15 He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. 17 And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
18 Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, 19 Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, 20 Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, 21 Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, 22 Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.
(Today’s questions cover verses 18-22.)
- Perez (vs. 18) was the illegitimate son of Judah and his daughter-in-law, Tamar. In Genesis 49:10, God had promised to raise up a kingly ruler over Israel through Judah. Why is this information significant in our understanding of the genealogical snapshot in verses 18-22?
- Boaz was the son of an Israelite, Salmon, and the former prostitute, Rahab (vs. 21). Tamar, Rahab (both Canaanites), and Ruth (a Moabite), were all foreigners who entered into Israel’s history. Through their sons, God would eventually raise up which earthly king (vs. 22)? Who was the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to Judah (see also Matt. 1:1-17)?
- The lineage of Jesus Christ reveals God’s grace by the inclusion of both non-Israelites and people with great moral failures. How does knowing this lead you to a deeper understanding of God’s heart for redemption—in the story of Ruth, in the history of Israel, and in Christ’s sacrifice for all people, including you?
RESPOND TO GOD
The book of Ruth opened with the deaths of husbands and sons, and the choices of their widows; it closes with the widows’ restoration—life and hope in the birth of a son. It is a beautiful story of how God uses those who willingly turn their hearts in obedience and faithfulness to him to accomplish his purposes. In these final verses, the providence of God is especially on display. He fulfilled his promise of providing a ruler for the nation of Israel, first through King David, and later, through the Messiah, Jesus. In the generations before Obed’s birth, and in those that came long after, our gracious God was at work, raising up redemption for all.
- Praise God for the specific ways you’ve experienced his grace, provision, and sovereignty.