Ruth was King David’s great-grandmother and she was a remarkable woman marked by her love and her obedience. A lot of people have noted that Ruth was serving and that along with her total unselfishness allowed her to step into the Blessing. That also is true. Ruth came from the land of Moab. The Moab people were descendants of Lot. By character they were very agreeable people. I have not found any readings to explain why they were that way.
Suffice it to say that even though Ruth had just lost her husband of ten years, along with her sister-in-law Orpah and her mother-in-law Naomi; Ruth still managed to put the needs of her mother-in-law ahead of her own. When Naomi first begins to talk about the loss of her husband and her two sons; she sounds resentful, sour and full of self-pity. She says:
Call me not Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
21I went out full, but the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me? Ruth 1
Ruth could have said: “Yeah, you’re right.” Instead she looked on her mother-in-law with love and decides that she can not abandon her. She must also have decided that God would not abandon them. Though both daughter-in-laws say that they will travel back to Bethlehem with Naomi; it doesn’t take much prodding on Naomi’s part to get rid of Orpah who returns to her family and her gods.
No one would blame Ruth if she abandoned Naomi. They were from different cultures and had different beliefs. Or did they? Ruth must have stood back for ten years and watched what the God of her husband’s family was about and what He did and decided that He was real. It just so happened that in the thick of the crisis of death in their family; she decided to take a fresh new course and follow the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.
When Ruth and Naomi arrive in the new land, Ruth is quick to demonstrate her faith. Regarding her decision to go and glean (gather) food from the foods of a rich relative (Boaz)of her deceased father-in-law’s:
2And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.Ruth Chapter 2
This kind of talk represents Ruth speaking confidently that God would back her as she goes out to gather food during the harvest.
The most amazing thing is that Every instruction that Naomi gives to Ruth; she follows to the letter.
She tells her where to glean and she does it faithfully. That caught Boaz’s eye and he asks of her, hears her story and meets her. He ultimately rescues her as a result of her carrying him a message about property rights in their village. Boaz saves Naomi and Ruth and buys the rights to marry Ruth who had already caught his eye.
However, the greatest joy that comes from this beautiful love story is when we hear Naomi describe herself much differently than earlier:
20And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. Ruth 2
It is important to note that the custom in the eyes of the neighbors was that this child that Ruth gave birth to was considered to be a son of Naomi’. In the eyes of all Naomi’s life had been restored due to Ruth’s obedience and love.
14And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.
15And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.
16And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.
17And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
You see, Ruth decided that she not only loved God; but that she would work and serve and love and change the lives of the people around her by also doing it all with great humility and God honored that. God allowed Ruth through her actions and her faith to restore Naomi’s joy and Ruth was Blessed in that endeavor.
I want to encourage you today to pray and ask God exactly how you might become a change agent and impact people’s lives. I know that He will honor your prayers.