In Ruth 4:12 the women of Bethlehem pronounced this blessing on Ruth and Boaz when their marriage was announced: “may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.” Why refer to Perez in the blessing? Surely Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob would have been a more suitable choice because the story of Perez is rather unsavory. The account is in Genesis 38. Tamar became pregnant by her father-in-law, Judah, and gave birth to twin boys named Perez and Zerah. Initially it seemed that Zerah would be the firstborn and inherit the privileges of that position but it was Perez who was born first. His birth was a reversal of what should have happened. The name, Perez, means an overturn of events.

When the women of Bethlehem blessed Ruth they were saying God was bringing about a reversal in her life. God had told the Israelites to have nothing to do with the Moabites and Ruth was a Moabite. She was not entitled to be included with God’s people or the blessings associated with being a part of God’s family. However she committed herself to God and he overturned her circumstances. The full extent of this reversal becomes clear when we read Ruth’s name in Jesus’ genealogy (Matthew 1:5). Ruth is the recipient of God’s amazing grace.

We are like Ruth. We are not entitled to be included in God’s family. He is a holy God; we are unworthy people. God should have nothing to do with us. Yet, God sent Jesus. It was an act of unmerited favor. Now there is a complete reversal in our circumstances when we commit ourselves to God. He puts us in the privileged position of being a favored son or daughter of God. We are the recipients of God’s amazing grace.