Ruth provides many examples of faithfulness throughout the book of Ruth. Yesterday we discussed the impact of Naomi’s faith and overcoming her struggle. We read throughout the book of Ruth about the kindness and faithfulness of God. Today’s article discusses the example of Ruth as a woman of faith and her influence in the kingdom of God.
The most prominent verses in the book of Ruth come from chapter 1 verses 16-17. While these verses epitomize the impressive loyalty of Ruth to Naomi, they also show her decision to follow the one true God. It’s this passage that we see the heart of Ruth and her committing to serve God.
Ruth’s decision could not have been an easy one. The scriptures insinuate she was willing to give up the opportunity for marriage. ‘But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.”’ Ruth 1:11-13. These verses show the potential consequences of Ruth’s decision. But Ruth does not waver to her commitment to stay with Naomi. I don’t think I can fully understand the degree of sacrifice that Ruth made because today the opportunities I have as a women equal that of my husbands. In the present day, if I become widowed, it is not crucial for me to find another husband or rely on my male relatives to provide for me. But during this time in history, that was the situation for a female. Naomi fully understood this and tried to send both Ruth and Orpah back to their families, but Ruth declined the offer.
What Ruth did brings to mind the verse in the book of John ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ 15:13. From what I understand the world to be like for women during this time, this makes me think of this verse. While Ruth doesn’t literally lay down her life in death, Ruth does lay down her life of security when she remains with Naomi. When Ruth chose to go with Naomi, she knew there was a great chance of remaining a homeless widow. She understood that life would be much harder in this position. Ruth was prepared to live a life with Naomi not knowing what the future would hold. What a powerful example of faith!
We know from Ruth 1:20-21 that Naomi was grief stricken ‘‘She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” While the scripture doesn’t tell us Ruth’s state of mind during her mourning period, we do read that she chose to go to work. ‘And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.’ Ruth 2:2-3. Ruth didn’t focus on the hopelessness of the situation. She did what she could to help herself and Naomi.
We know Ruth going to the field is a pivotal part of the story. But Ruth did not know the rest of the story. She just did what she could and in the process God took care of her. That is certainly a lesson I can take to heart.
In the remaining chapters, we read Ruth worked in the field of Boaz, who was a distant relative of Naomi’s and eventually took Ruth as a wife. Boaz and Ruth bore a child named Obed and Naomi became his nurse. In the last verses we read, the child Obed became the grandfather to King David. What another amazing story of God working things for His good to those who love Him. ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ Romans 8:28
The book of Ruth offers so many stories about God working in the lives who those who love and serve Him. If you have not taken the opportunity to read the 4 chapters that make up the book of Ruth, I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful story of love, loyalty, and faithfulness.
Until next time