Ruth is well-known to be a loyal and kind daughter. Though widowed, she made a choice that will make her life important in God’s purpose. What can we say about a woman who is Jewish-by-choice in making a decision that will inspire us in our daily walk with God?
Let us find out how Ruth is People Just Like You.
Ruth’s Back story
Samuel (the last Judge) told the Story of Ruth after the end of the book of Judges and before the beginning of the book of Kings. Ruth was loyal to Naomi, her mother-in-law, who was also widowed with his husband and two sons. She was asked to stay with her people in Moab but our protagonist insisted to come with Naomi back to her hometown, Bethlehem Judah, to look after her. Thus the Scripture in Ruth 1:16-17 became famous.
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
see full story in the Bible: Ruth 1-4
There was a famine in the land of Israel. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, named Elimelek, and his wife Naomi with their sons Mahlon and Kilion travelled to the country of Moab for a while to live there.
Elimelek died and left Naomi widowed. Her sons married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. But ten years have passed and the young men died. Naomi was left without the three men in her life.
“Ruth stayed with Naomi“
Naomi heard that the Lord came to the aid of His people and the famine in the land has already been lifted. At once, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home and left the place they once lived in and go to the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
Naomi wanted her daughters-in-law to stay in their hometown and be with their own mothers and roots. She kissed them goodbye and they wept. They begged to go with her to her people. She convinced them to remain until Orpah made her decision to stay, but Ruth clung to Naomi.
Ruth decided and told Naomi that wherever Naomi goes she will follow, her mother’s God becomes hers as well. Where Naomi dies she will depart and be buried. She promised that to whatever extent God deals with her, she will stay, if even death separates them. (See verse here.)
Naomi had seen her determination and so she stopped urging her. They went on until they reached Bethlehem.
Chapter Snippets!Naomi means “pleasant”.
The women in Bethlehem saw Ruth and Naomi coming and they called out “can this be Naomi?”
In Ruth 1:20, Naomi said that she didn’t want to be called “Naomi”. Instead, they should call her “Mara” because, for her, the Almighty has made her life very bitter.
Mara means “bitter”.
So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
“Let me go to the fields”
Boaz was a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek. Therefore, he was Naomi’s close relative on her husband’s side. Ruth the Moabite said to her mother-in-law that she wanted to go to the fields to gather leftover grains.
Naomi let Ruth go and she entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. Little did she know, the field belonged to Boaz, a man from the clan of Elimelek.
Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters until he saw a woman working with them. He asked his supervisor who the young woman belonged to. He learned that she was a Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. And that she asked them to gather some of the leftovers and she remained all day except for a small amount of rest.
That is when Ruth found favour in Boaz’s eyes and he was amazed by this woman’s loyalty to her mother-in-law. He let her stay in the fields and told her not to bother going elsewhere and that she could stay with the other women who work his harvest. The Moabitess was grateful for the man for accepting her. At mealtime, she was offered roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some leftover. She was there all night and gathered the barley she had picked. Ruth went home to Naomi, showed her what she gathered, and gave her some of what she had left over after she had eaten enough.
“Get Involved with Boaz”
The lady told Naomi everything that has happened that day. Ruth told Naomi that it was Boaz who took notice of her. So the mother asked Ruth to get closer to the kinsman-redeemer. And so she did.
Naomi said to Ruth:
“My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”Ruth 3:1-4
Ruth did what Naomi has instructed. So after Boaz finished eating and laid down, she approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. Boaz startled when he saw someone in the middle of the night. The Moabite woman asked Boaz to marry her to save her family. But he said she was kind to do what she just did and that there was someone who is more closely related to her family. If he agrees, so be it. But if he disagrees, in God’s permit, Boaz would likely take Ruth’s hand into marriage and become their family’s kinsman.
“Ruth married Boaz”
Ruth went back home in the morning and told Naomi everything that had happened. Her mother has faith in her kinsman that he wouldn’t let the day pass by without any results.
In that same day, Boaz asked the guardian-redeemer to buy Elimelek’s land in order to redeem Naomi’s family. But to do all that, he shall acquire Ruth the Moabite woman to be his wife for it to maintain the name of the dead with his property.
He refused to take the offer and told Boaz to marry her himself. Then he took off his sandals.
7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)Ruth 4:7
Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people that they are witnesses of him buying from Naomi the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. They are witnesses that he acquired Ruth the Moabite, as his wife, to maintain the name of the dead with his property so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown.
Naomi Gains a Son
Ruth and Boaz got married and they made love. The Lord enabled Ruth to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The Lord was praised by the women of Judah for they have proven that Naomi was not abandoned by God and was given someone that will renew her life and sustain her in her old age.
Through the loyalty of Ruth, Naomi gains a son. She took care of him. The child was named Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
We Reflect on Ruth because:
We make our own decisions.
God has allowed us to have free-will since Adam and Eve was brought to earth. In our young age, our options are limitless and we do what we want. But now that we get older, we must be careful in choosing. God has already laid something for us. We just have to decide whether to reach or ignore it.
Our loyalty depends on us.
Loyalty doesn’t always mean with your spouses; it can also be to your family. But the most important loyalty must belong to God. He is faithful and just to forgive us, it is our duty to return what He has given.
Her Faith Led her to God.
Ruth knew what she was going through. She lived with her faith that the Lord she was aiming to follow is the God who loves the poor and He will lift them out of poverty. This woman was aware of how powerful Naomi’s God is and she let her faith led her to her purpose.
And even though she was a stranger to the land of Judah, she knew God saves even the Gentiles for she believes in Him.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.Romans 1:16
God loves the poor.
16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy,Jeremiah 22:16
and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?”
declares the Lord.
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.James 1:27
God has a purpose.
There might be times we don’t know what is happening but God has a purpose. In the time of Ruth, Naomi didn’t know God had already planned the life of her daughter-in-law. She was already lined up to become the descendant of King David, the greatest king who will soon rule the land. And Ruth was the lineage where the world Redeemer will be born.
It means everything falls into place if we keep walking on the path God gave us.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11
You are important to God.
We are not the chosen people, which were the Israelites. But the Lord allowed gentiles to walk with Him and follow Him. Who we are is not important for He has already declared His love for all the people. See John 3:16.
“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'”Jeremiah 31:3
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5:8
Aspire to become righteous in the eyes of the Lord.
He watches over us. God knows what we have become and what motives we plant. God was seen in a woman’s eye through Ruth. Though she was a stranger to the land she chose to get under its wings to, she was determined to do what makes God happy. She is kind, loyal and helpful. There is nothing the Lord wanted than to see us walk in the light.
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honour.Proverbs 21:21
Your decisions may cause you harm or you gain benefit. But we must remember that the Lord knows all things for He has already planned everything. You have a purpose. The only thing we must do is trust Him.
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-6
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