From the beginning:
In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband… So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, ‘Is this Naomi?’ She said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?’ So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
From the end:
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. 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! 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.’ Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. 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.
An old widow who lost her sons, a young widow who never had any, and an old man without even memories of marriage or children.
The gods of Moab, the gods of 21st-century America would have nothing for these people; they could never hear their prayers or hold them up.
But the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob sure did.
And that God, Maker of Heaven and earth, was about to send His strong Son through their broken little family line, a Lion who would crush the head of the serpent and unwind death forever and ever, amen. Right in this little town, born among animals into a carpenter’s family, under the rule of a pagan king, would come the Promised Prince who would put down sin and all its scars, would slay every lie Satan ever sprang upon the world, at the price of His own life. 1,000 years later came Jesus, the One who reigns forever, through the line of these three.
This is a God who became human because He is for humans, and who bore unimaginable wrath and sorrow to free us from what we all share.
This is a God who redeems.