We’re celebrating Advent on the blog by exploring the lives of a few women who had an integral role in God’s redemption plan. Today we’ll meet Ruth, one of my favorite women in Scripture. Don’t you admire her beautiful heart? She has character traits that I desire for God to develop in me; I want to be like her when I grow up!
Ruth was a Moabite, so she was of mixed decent. Abraham’s nephew, Lot, would’ve been one of her ancestors, but the Moabites were a mixture of Hebrew and indigenous people groups, so it is significant to note that Ruth was a Gentile. It is reasonable to expect that all Ruth knew before meeting Naomi’s family, was the worship of Chemosh—which would’ve involved child sacrifice and other demonic activities in their spiritual devotions.
Little did Ruth realize when she entered into marriage with Elimelech’s son, how her world would be rocked by this family and their God.
Ruth must’ve seen a significant contrast to what she was taught, what her family passed on to her as valuable, and the traditions she practiced in a spiritually dark culture. Ruth began to see the evidence of the true and living God through her husband’s family.
But God chose to rock her world further by removing her father-in-law, her brother-in-law, and even her own husband. Ruth could’ve turned away from her new-found God, but although she was widowed at a young age, she chose to follow Naomi to her homeland, to forsake all that was familiar: her way of life, her family, and her people, to follow God’s leading and be identified with His people.
Ruth’s beautiful commitment to her mother-in-law, Naomi, is one that I spoke to my young husband in our wedding ceremony several years ago:
[box]But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back 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 I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:16–17)[/box]
Notice Ruth’s immediate response to her difficult situation: Acceptance of her loss, trust in her new-found God, and identification with Him and His people. She wasn’t part of the “chosen nation” of Israel, but she was willing to leave her family and all that was familiar and comfortable to follow Him. Ruth demonstrated real love and concern for Naomi, but I believe that deep love actually flowed from her newfound faith in the one true God.
Ruth’s passion for God was demonstrated by her willingness to forsake all and follow Him.
Ruth heartily dove in to the difficult labor of providing food for herself and Naomi. Diligence and perseverance are obvious character traits of this beautiful young woman. Ruth honored Naomi by following her direction and guidance when it came to the delicate issue of remarriage (Ruth 3:1–5). Teachability, wise deference, and a respectful attitude can be added to the list of things I love about her.
Ruth was compassionate and her servant’s heart was evident to the people she met in Bethlehem. She was not wallowing in self-pity over all her losses. She wasn’t looking for an easy or comfortable solution to her problems. Ruth was diligent in difficult circumstances and applied herself to serving others, even through a season filled with heartache.
Although Ruth’s losses were painful, her losses were not without purpose.
When Ruth entered into widowhood—that wasn’t the end of the story. She couldn’t know as she made the lonely journey with Naomi from Moab to Bethlehem that God was orchestrating the losses of her life to bring about a greater, eternal, work.
God protected Ruth and provided a redeemer, Boaz, to step into the role of husband. God elevated Ruth by including her in the Messianic line as a mother in the lineage that would carry His Son’s seed. Ruth became the great grandmother of King David and ancestress to the King of Kings.
In our painful losses, we have not yet seen the end of the story. God is at work. He sees, He knows, and He is accomplishing sacred activities that play an integral role in His grand Redemption story!
Are you dealing with a painful loss this holiday season? If so, I hope you’ll check out this blog post (click here).
Are you facing an overwhelming task?
Do you feel God has forgotten you?
How can we pray for you?
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