I have never read a book before that has changed how I interpret an entire book of the Bible…until now. This book has left me scratching my head wondering how I never saw this before.
The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules by Carolyn Custis James is a must read in my opinion for any student of the Bible. I have never heard this interpretation of Ruth before, which is sad, because it has helped me in answering a question that has vexed me for years…Is God good for women? It has also added some much needed depth for me to the feminine hall of faith. Finally, my new understanding of the book of Ruth enables me to draw stronger connecting lines between Jesus’ teachings and the Law.
Better than merely seeing Scripture in an insightful way, James unearths Ruth, making the traditional love story interpretation with Boaz as the kinsman redeemer riding in as the hero, a superficial treatment to God’s message. The truth is, most of us have missed the point of this book. So what is the point?
To answer that, you have to ask what question is raised in Ruth. What was the dilemma? The broken link of Elimelech’s family line, yes, but there is a louder dilemma if you look closely. The point is not the bloodline of the Messiah…the point is the heart of the Messiah of that bloodline.. At its core, (my conclusion, not James’), Ruth is about the Law. Specifically, two story lines are taking place in this book, two instances where the Law is being followed to the letter and yet producing a result far short of God’s will. The book of Ruth is essentially God’s sword to the Pharisee in all of us and it is a message of hope as well to a beleaguered Eve struggling under it. The takeaway for Naomi, Ruth, Boaz and us is do not view the Law as God’s heart. Ruth shows that neither God nor His thoughts, are understood or served through the Law, unless man goes beyond it. In both story lines the Law, even while being carried out, exposes something despicable in man. Indeed, even if one could fulfill all of the Law, they could still not be righteous for the Law does not love. God and man, need to bring that to it. Read the rest of this entry »