So here I sat, realizing I should have added Ruth to Joshua and Judges, because there’s no way I’m finding ten verses in such a small book. So… in this “special edition” I’ll be sharing some of the main themes/lessons to be learned from Ruth, and just a few verses. Enjoy!
Ruth is one of the only two women in the Bible that actually get a whole book based just on their story! Her story shouldn’t be taken lightly!
In chapter one we read about a famine in Israel. Elimelech and his wife and two sons flee to Moab. Instead of relying on God’s provision, he takes things into his own hands and runs off to a foreign land. Here the sons find wives, and then both of them, and Elimelech die. And just like that Naomi is left a widow and a refugee, far from home. She returns to her home, proclaiming that she is now to be called “Mara” which means bitter. She feels alone and distraught. She says that God has brought her back empty, that God has delt bitterly with her. I would imagine she is also struggling with feeling bitter towards God.
But there is something beautiful that happens is chapter one, and this is were our first verse comes in!
Ruth 1:16 – 17 – But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”
We see Ruth taking a great step of courage here. Maybe she something in Naomi that she also wanted. Maybe she had felt empty all her life and finally saw an answer. Whatever it was, Ruth wants Naomi’s God. And she is willing to face whatever comes to care for Naomi. Love is a common theme in this book. Ruth shows great love for Naomi. A love that is willing to sacrifice. Naomi even says that if Ruth would return home, she could marry again, but if she chose to go with Naomi, she would likely never find a husband. Ruth was willing to make that sacrifice.
In chapter two we see God’s provision for Naomi. He leads Ruth to glean (gather fallen crops) in the fields of an honorable man named Boaz. While many would have rejected and shunned this foreign woman, Boaz instructs his men to drop more grain for her to glean!
Then in chapter three we see Naomi instructing Ruth to essentially propose marriage to Boaz.
Ruth 3:9- He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”
Ruth comes to Boaz, completely vulnerable, risking everything and trusting completely. We see a picture of us and God here. We must come to Jesus as nothing, completely open and vulnerable, trusting that He will redeem us.
Boaz agrees, but some things must be taken care of before the marriage can happen. Ruth now has hope, but she must wait patiently. Waiting is never easy, but God has the perfect happily ever after in mind for each of us, whether that means marriage or singlehood.
Another thing we see in Ruth is no mention of outer beauty. In fact, Ruth was completely despised and rejected. Yet, we do hear mention of Ruth’s inner qualities. Boaz praises her for what she did for Naomi and sees that she is a woman of noble character. It doesn’t matter what we look like, what background we have, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Finally in chapter four, the matter is settled, and Ruth and Boaz marry. They have a son, and Naomi finally feels whole again.
Ruth 4:14 – Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!
Because of the sacrifice Ruth was willing to make back in chapter one, God blessed her, and she became the great-great-grandmother of King David, and an ancestor of Jesus. She went from being an outsider, a “gentile,” to being a direct ancestor of the Messiah.
No is to beyond the redemption of God. God is faithful.
For any writers out there, we all know that it is pain and hardship that make a good story. Nobody likes to read a book where everything goes exactly as planned. It’s the failure and the struggles that captivate us, pull us in, and help us identify with the characters. God is the author of each of our stories, and He is writing a masterpiece. Which means there is going to be pain, heartache, gut-wrenching plot twists. But when we reach the end of our story, it will all make sense, and it will all be beautiful. God, the master author, writes perfect endings. (hint: heaven)
Keep fighting the good fight, friends!