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A Woman After God’s Heart

 

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?

 

Image courtesy of anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Comments

  • Leonor

    What a beautiful story of the work of God in the mist of an overwhelming life!
    Sweet reminder for me this morning, “God is at work”
    Indeed He is, even though I am facing with an overwhelming task, He is working my life’s story
    for his glory!! Thank you for sharing, Kimberly!

  • Robyn

    Kimberly,
    Your posts have been so powerful and I read them and re read them. Thank you for today’s post.
    We are studying women of the Bible for advent in my Bible study.

    My divorce will be final this week. I fought so hard to save our marriage and my husband left me and our kids for another woman. He said she doesn’t mean anything to him but that doesn’t seem to be true. I am so sad.
    I am doing ok because God has given me grace and peace and I think I am finally understanding what it means to truly trust in the Lord. I have had a hard time understanding why this is happening when God hates divorce. I know I am not perfect but it breaks my heart that my husband never really tried to save our marriage. I have to have faith that good will come out of the pain. I know there are worse events in life and I am blessed in many, many ways. Thank you for your prayers.

    Merry Christmas!!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Leonor ~

    I am so thankful that God used this to encourage you today! Yes, He is working and will provide the grace and empowerment you need.

    Pausing to pray for you, now!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Oh, Precious, Robyn, I am so very sorry! I wept as I read your comment. I am so thankful you are finding comfort and peace in your Savior’s presence, but I am so sorry for your loss. I am praying for you and your children. May God provide for you all in tangible ways, and be the help that you need as you walk this difficult road. He will not fail you.

    Merry Christmas, dear one. It is merry because we know the One who suffered to bring our redemption and although our pain is deep, it is brief. Soon we will be with Him and all will be well.

    May you have a most blessed Advent season ~

  • Lisa Ruiz

    Thank you for this encouraging and convicting reminder. I can press on and persevere today, remembering God wants me to join Him in His plans, keeping eternal perspective at the front of my mind, especially during difficult seasons.