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!

~Nancy

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