Along with Esther, Ruth is the only other woman in the Bible to have her own book. Her story is short (only four chapters) and sweet. It is one of the most beautiful love stories in the history of love stories. Ruth’s life is a stark contrast to that of her sister-in-law’s life. Remember Orpah? While she decided to return to her hometown of Moab, Ruth decided to return to Bethlehem with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi.
Ruth’s memorable words are captured in 1:16-17:
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
Once in Bethlehem, Ruth immediately went to work in the grain fields. Eventually, she was noticed by a wealthy man named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband. Because of her Godly behavior, Boaz married Ruth and they had a son named Obed. Obed became the great-grandfather of King David from whom Jesus the Christ descended to bring salvation to the entire world. Ruth’s story is an example of how God has a divine plan for all of our lives if we are willing to trust in Him.
1. Ruth showed compassion and love. At the beginning of Ruth’s story, we are introduced to an unfortunate Naomi. She has lost her husband and both of her married sons. She is grieving and must now fend for herself. In those days, life was hard being a woman and doubly hard being a widowed woman. Naomi says God has dealt very bitterly with her and the Almighty has afflicted her. Even after she urges Orpah and Ruth to leave her, Ruth refuses. Ruth shows compassion by deciding to stay with Naomi and in the end she is rewarded for not only thinking of herself.
In Philippians 2:4 we are instructed, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” God wants us to be concerned about other people. We should be Ruths to the hurting Naomis in our lives. People should feel our compassion for them – not just through words, but action.
2. Ruth had the character to build a true relationship. Boaz was older than Ruth by several years. He had riches, servants, a lot of land – everything he could have wanted – everything except for a family of his own. What made him take notice of Ruth? Above her outside beauty, Boaz was captivated by her inside beauty. Ruth’s hard work, loyalty, faithfulness, and good character was what attracted Boaz to her. Others took notice of Ruth’s good character too. In 3:11, Boaz tells Ruth, “all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.”
Lasting relationships are built on a foundation of trust and must be maintained through commitment, devotion, faithfulness, communication, and loyalty. Just like with Ruth, women today can find respect and love through virtuous character.
3. Ruth trusted in God. Ruth had lost a husband, but she had not lost her faith. In fact, it appears that in the shadow of death, tears, and grief, and in the face of an uncertain future, the faith of Ruth was strengthened. Neither Orpah nor Naomi could persuade her from following the true God. Despite being a Moabitess, Ruth was devoted to God and to His people. She trusted that things would work out for her according to His divine plan. She turned her back on her hometown of Moab and its pagan gods and never regretted doing so. In faith, she committed her life to God. Her faith was honored in more ways than one, and she became an ancestor in the lineage of Jesus the Christ.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” God always honors faith. If we walk by faith and not by sight, God will take care of us. He can change the negativity in our lives into positivity (finger-snap) just like that. If we are faithful and committed to Him being our God, our lives will play out according to the perfect plan He had for us even before the world began.
Have faith in God for He has faith in you.
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