Ruth (part 2)

I know its taken me a while to post again. I know you’re all used to this. Guess what. Same excuse. Work is crazy. That’s ok. Today we’re going to look at Ruth.

Last we left Ruth and Naomi, they were heading back to Bethlehem. This wasn’t a triumphant return by any stretch. As you’ll recall, Ruth and Naomi are both widows at this point. And childless. Naomi’s grown sons have passed away and Ruth is barren. These things make these women the most vulnerable people in Jewish society.

Let’s look at Naomi for a second. She had to flee her home with 2 children because of famine. She then lost her husband, and then her children. I’ve seen her compared to Job. She had gone through a lot of suffering by the time she headed back to Bethlehem.

When the two women made it back to Naomi’s hometown, they were greeted by women who were just amazed she was back. Naomi took this opportunity to tell them not to call her by her name but to call her Mara, which means bitter. Naomi was understandably bitter about all that she had gone through. Life was about to change for her, thanks to her faithful daughter-in-law and the God they both trusted.

Ruth was from Moab and of course did not originally believe in the God of Israel. Over the course of time, and in spite of all that Naomi had gone through, Ruth saw the faithfulness of God and the trust that Naomi placed in him. This is worth talking about for a second. If you were a non-believer and watched over time all of the things that Naomi went through, would that make you want to believe in God? I think it might give people pause to question. But, Ruth wasn’t just a casual bystander. She was family. She saw what Naomi suffered and yet, she still held fast to her trust in and love for God. Naomi’s example is a bright and shining one of knowing God well enough to know, no matter what, that he is good. All the time. Over the 10 years that these women were family, Ruth was able to see the faithfulness of the God of Israel in Naomi’s life. In spite of the circumstances that were all around her.

That’s a big endorsement, don’t you think? This woman had suffered a lot, yet was still loving and trusting of God. This is what Ruth saw and this is why she vowed to stay with her and have Naomi’s God be her God. I had thought about telling the whole story here but I think I’ll just summarize. It would be better if you read it if you haven’t.

Ruth went to work gleaning in the fields to provide for herself and Naomi. She ‘just happened to’ end up gleaning in Boaz’s fields. God had this all planned. However, the strength and boldness of Ruth is what I want to point out here. She asked Boaz for special consideration, which he provided. God was all over this situation. She stepped out in faith and God blessed her for it. She continued only working his fields until the harvest was over and then…

She was bold once again. With Naomi’s prodding, Ruth confronted Boaz. Boaz was a distant relative of her late husband. In Jewish culture, the man’s land would stay attached to the family so Ruth and Naomi would have been out of luck. Ruth asked him to redeem the land for them. He agreed. Now, there was another man who was ahead of him in line to have the right to redeem the land. Boaz explained to him that the land would include the two women so he declined.

Because of Ruth’s boldness and trust in God, she and Boaz ended up marrying and having a son! They named the baby Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David! Ruth’s faithfulness and trust led her, a Moabitess, to be the grandmother of David. She’s an integral part of the lineage of Jesus.

What I’ve learned from reading Ruth is this; faith in God can help get you through anything in life. He’s always faithful. Naomi and Ruth went through a lot in their lives. Widowhood, and in Ruth’s case, barrenness, both relegated women to the bottom of society in those days. But boldness and faith in God raised them both up to a place of honor and a place in the larger plan of God.

He has that for you, as well!

Blessings my friends!



Let’s Talk About Ruth (part 1)

The book of Ruth is a bridge between the days of Abraham’s descendants becoming a nation and the days of the kings leading the nation. It is set in the time of the Judges and is just a short little book but it tells us a lot about faith, commitment, and Jesus’ genealogy. It also gives us insight in to strength in a crisis, where to find hope, when to step out in faith, and even when to go home.

I’ve read this book many times in my life but always just as a history lesson. Not as a life lesson. I know that every book of the Bible is meant to teach us something but until recently, I wasn’t sure what that was for Ruth, aside from pointing out that Jesus comes from not just Israeli blood. That is, of course, covered several times in the Old Testament, Rehab is part of Jesus’ blood line as well, but I thought that was all God was showing us here. Not that his bloodline isn’t crucial, it is, of course, and probably needs to be explored further (I think I just found another blog topic!), but there are a lot of little nuggets in Ruth about faith, commitment and just a whole lot of other great stuff!

The book starts during a famine in Bethlehem. Naomi, her husband Elimelek, and their 2 sons, Mahlon and Kilion head to Moab to be able to feed their family. We’ll stop right there for a second. This is big. Moab wasn’t a friendly place for Israelites. Not even a little bit. I’m sure it took a lot of courage for these people to go there, but if you’re a parent, you know, you’ll do what you have to do to feed your family. Am I right?

So off they go to Moab. By the way, we’re only on verse 2 of this book. What happens in verse 3? Elimelek dies. So now Naomi is a widow with 2 sons in a hostile foreign country. The Bible doesn’t give a clear timeline of how long they were in Moab when this occurred or how old the boys were when they went there.

The boys married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth and after they had been together 10 years-and no children- both of the men, Mahlon and Kilion, died. That was in verse 5. I point that out because it’s clear this book is not about the men. It’s about the women that survived them and, well, how they survived!

At this point in the story, Naomi is completely overcome with grief. She’s lost her home, her husband, and now her sons, who left her with no heirs. In the ancient world, this was a tragedy beyond what we can imagine because she was now nothing in the eyes of society. Nothing. Her life meant nothing to anyone as far as society was concerned. She had no one to take care of her, and being a woman, that was required back then. I have to interject right here that I’m glad I didn’t live back then! Hahaha! 

By this time, the famine was over in Bethlehem so Naomi was going to head back there. She headed out with Orpah and Ruth but told them to go back home where they may have a future. Orpah went on back to Moab but Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi.

This is where we’ll pick up our discussion next time! I just wanted to lay the groundwork for where we’re going. The backstory.

The book of Ruth wouldn’t take you long to read so I’d suggest doing so before we dig in. In my next post we’ll look into the dedication Ruth had to Naomi and what that can mean in our own lives!

Much love to you! I hope the rest of your week is blessed beyond measure!