All the calamities [in the story of Ruth] seem to be designed to get a Moabitess into the genealogy of Jesus. Ruth is one of the four women mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy (Matthew 1:5). God pursued her. He turned the world upside down, you might say, to include Ruth in the lineage of his Son.
Surely this is significant for us. Does it not mean that God’s blessings are free and undeserved? Ruth was an idolatrous Moabitess before God pursued her (1:15). She did not merit this pursuit. It was free. That is the way God pursues you and me. “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16).
Not only that, but God moved the world in order to include a foreigner in the lineage of the Messiah. Ruth was not a Jew. Is not God showing us that his heart is for the nations—all the nations? The glory of Christ is that he comes from the nations and dies for the nations. His blood was shed for the nations, and the nations’ blood ran in his veins. The Jewish high priest prophesied better than he knew in John 11:51–52 “that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” “You were slain, and by your blood you ran- somed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9).
The redeeming work of Christ is free and undeserved. It is intended for every ethnic group on the planet. All ethnocentric and racist impulses are crucified in Christ. That too is what the story of Ruth is about.
Excerpt from A Sweet and Bitter Providence (January 2010).