“Are you struggling on the Bethlehem Road? Is your burden of grief or pain too heavy? Do you feel as if God must be out to get you since you are being made to endure such terrible circumstances?” Michael Whitworth asks in his book, Bethlehem Road: A Guide to Ruth.
At one hundred and eighteen pages, this paperback targets those wanting to learn more about the Biblical book of Ruth and how it relates to us today. Using the English Standard Version of the Bible, the HCS, NASU, NCV, NIV, and NLT are also referenced. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.
Set up similar to expositional teaching of verse by verse, the book authored by a preacher is divided into four chapters. With a foreword, introduction, and a question and answer from the author, the ending contains an epilogue, abbreviations, acknowledgements, and bibliography. There are extensive footnotes, offering interesting additional information by several well-known sources
With the writer’s personal interjections about his father’s passing, family friendships, wife, son, bike riding, and movies, Whitworth breaks the Old Testament book of eighty-eight verses down into three to eight verse sections, ending each chapter with talking points.
Focusing on the two widows, Naomi lives day to day brokenhearted and disappointed being alone and destitute while Ruth pledges her unfailing love to her mother-in-law. Ruth could have returned to her parents’ home like her sister-in-law, remarry, or support herself by working. Instead she chooses to leave the land of Moab to travel to Bethlehem where Naomi’s kin lives. There Ruth meets the worthy Boaz as she gleans his fields for food to share with her mother-in-law. It is Naomi who coaches Ruth to see if Boaz would become her kinsman-redeemer, which he does after legally pursuing proper channels.
Suggesting that perhaps the women’s husbands could have died from disobeying God, that Ruth may have been sexually harassed in Boaz’s fields, and that Ruth drank the same water as the male workers, discussions explain Hebrew words such as hesed, shaddai, margelot, regalim,go’el, and levir.
While many may consider Ruth and Naomi’s predicament happenstance, it is obvious their lives had divine providence as God turned their heartbreaks and struggles into blessings, especially since Ruth and Boaz became King David’s great-grandparents decades later.
Reminding readers that suffering is always part of God’s grander plan, faithfulness has eternal consequences as we rely on and trust in Him. As Whitlock correlates Boaz and Ruth to Christ and us, His powerful, unfailing love overcomes any hardship we face.
Thanks to BookCrash for furnishing a complimentary book in exchange for the reader’s honest opinion.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.