So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Ruth 4:13

It was a good thing the Pharisees weren’t around in Ruth’s day. They would be telling Boaz, he was wrong to marry Ruth because she was a Moabite (Deuteronomy 23:3-6) despite the fact she had made a strong commitment to the God of the Israelites. In orchestrating the events that led to this marriage, God showed his amazing grace. The Pharisees never understood that God loves to show grace.

The Pharisees only focused on the text. Jesus said of them, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life” (John 5:39). They studied the Scriptures looking only for the “right thing to do” but not for the “right way to be.” They didn’t let the text lead them to God, to his purposes, to his heart. God’s laws had simply become a list of rules and regulations to be obeyed robotically. They gave no thought as to why God asked them to live with high moral standards so they enforced the law in unloving and ungracious ways.

God intended that his law would lead people to Jesus, “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). It never happened for the Pharisees who missed God’s visitation because Jesus wasn’t what they expected. They had studied the Scriptures mindlessly. Jesus wasn’t impressed, despite their show of adhering to the outward forms of faith with impressive devoutness. They missed displaying the thing that impressed Jesus the most, that is, faith (Matthew 8:10 & 15:28).

Let’s also be unimpressed by devoutness without love and grace, but rather be delighted when we see faith, love and grace in action.