Scripture: Ruth 1-4
At the beginning of this story, we are introduced to a woman called Naomi who was the wife of Elimelech and they had two sons. Naomi lost her husband and then her two sons ten years later. What a tragedy. She later set out to Israel where she heard they had new crops and the widows of her sons Orpah and Ruth insisted on following her but Naomi refused. She wanted them to go on living their lives and not worry about her.
Do you ever feel like you are a burden to some of your friends? Most of us have been in that situation where we feel like our problems are a burden to the people in our lives so we rather not disturb them and die in silence. Most of the time it works, when we push our friends away and they actually leave, but not with Ruth. Orpah eventually went her way but Ruth was very persistent on staying by Naomi’s side and kept to her word.
In verse 16, we see Ruth pray a very bold prayer
“where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, your people will be my people, your God will be my God. 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 separate you and me” that is loyalty! Can we confidently say this prayer for some of the people in our lives today? These days we sometimes tend to carry the mentality of ‘every man for himself’, or ‘that’s not my problem’ but that is not what God wants for us. (Romans 12:15) Ruth said this knowing Naomi had nothing to offer her. Is that not what Christ did for us? laying down His life knowing there was nothing we could possibly ever give Him. How often do we do things for people who cannot do anything for us in return?
Ruth was committed to Naomi. From the scripture, we see that Ruth lost her husband too! that must have been so devastating for her, but she was able to get through that pain because of her commitment to Naomi. We are not meant to go through the pain and hardships of life alone, we need each other, we need healthy relationships. God places people in our lives to help us go through those times together but sometimes we are not always open to receiving that help and love. There is nothing wrong with needing help. Ruth could have easily left, she had a pretty good excuse, but she CHOSE to stay by Naomi’s side. They both helped each other handle their grief and not let it overcome them. God calls us to be faithful to those He has put in our life, to those who are in need, to do the unglamorous work of persistently caring for them even if it doesn’t benefit us. If you feel like there is someone God has placed in your heart to particularly help, or look out for in a specific way, don’t ignore that feeling.
All through this story, we see that Ruth is loyal. She is the friend we all want to have. The one that will stand by you through thick and thin, when it is convenient or not. Ruth did not let Naomi wallow in self-pity, she was persistent on sticking by Naomi’s side, she was not taking no for an answer. Her persistence and loyalty shocked Naomi, she had no choice than to give in.
Who do you have in your corner?
Yes, friends like Ruth are so important in our lives but what is even more important is being that friend! We need to be the people that will not be so quick to leave when we know our friends need help but are trying so hard to push us away.
We are introduced to Boaz in chapter 2. He was Naomi’s relative and the scripture tells us he was a rich and noble man.
Ruth set out to go to work in the field which just happened to belong to Boaz and I know that this was not just a coincidence, rather a divine appointment. Nothing ‘just happens’. We also see that she was not just sitting around doing nothing when Boaz saw her, she was working! Ruth was a hard working woman (vs 7). This made her stand out to Boaz and she found favour in his eyes.
Boaz heard all Ruth had done for Naomi ( leaving her own parents and country to be a foreigner for Naomi’s sake) he was so impressed and because of this, he prayed for her and blessed her.
In verse 15-16 Boaz ordered his workers to do all the work on the field without her knowing to make life easy for her which left her thinking she was the one that accomplished so much. Those verses make me think of how God works in our lives. Sometimes we see things just happening so easily for us, doors just opening for us. God works behind the scenes and does all the heavily lifting and all we have to do is just step into it and enjoy it.
Ruth also showed her loyalty by accepting Naomi’s request to ask Boaz to marry her. Ruth later married Boaz and gave birth to a child who she named Obed.
From this story, we see that God is in the day to day joys and hardships of our life. He is at work in the ordinariness of our everyday life. God has a reason for all the difficulties we go through in this life, He is writing a beautiful story. We see Naomi’s mourning turn into joy. God’s hand was all over this story even though He wasn’t really mentioned. He is always working behind the scenes. God wove together the circumstances and choices of all of them to paint this beautiful story.
Naomi thought God was punishing her but the whole story was about God wanting to restore her and her family through Ruth (her loyalty and boldness) God also used the integrity and loyalty of Boaz. God uses the choices we make daily to tell His beautiful story, are we willing to submit to his will in order to see the bigger picture unfold? Every day we have a choice to partake in what God is doing for His kingdom, are you going to participate?
This story shows us a perfect relation between God’s purpose and human will. It was all about our redemption. The messiah came from that lineage(vs 17-22) from a story that seemed so simple and ordinary but it was God’s grand story for the redemption of the whole world.
From this story, we also see that God is a God of all people and came to redeem everyone. Ruth was not an Isrealite, she was a Moabite(a foreigner). God can use anybody He wants to use, the question is do you want to be used by God?