Hey everyone! I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones and ate a lot of good food! It was so hard for me to come in to work on Monday because we had an extended weekend and it was a busy one for me because my mom and brother came in. We had a great time together and I’m already missing them. But for the past five days, I’ve really been trying to get some balance in my life and commit to a reading plan on my bible app. Someone actually invited me to read a plan with them along with a few other people and the title of the plan was Ruth: A Story of Redemption. I thought it would be interesting and so I decided to accept the invitation.
Now I had never fully read the story of Ruth before on my own, so this was new for me. It opened up talking about how Elimelech and his wife Naomi moved from the land of Judah to the immoral land of Moab because of a famine. Their two sons were with them and when they grew older, they each married Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah. Now we can already see a problem forming with just this little bit of information. When Elimelech moved his family to a land filled with sin, it was not the sill of God. There’s no mention of him consulting with God on how to survive the famine of the land, so it’s safe for us to assume that Elimelech took matters into his own hands instead of trusting God. We have to remember that the choices we make affects the people around us. Although we may think we’re doing something for the good of others, it could ultimately be more problematic than can be anticipated.
The scripture goes on to say that after a decade, Elimelech, as well as his two sons, died leaving Orpah and Ruth childless. Naomi decides there is nothing left for her in Moab, so she decides to return to her homeland and urges the two women to part ways.
“With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah. But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage.
Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept. “No,” they said. “We want to go with you to your people.” But Naomi replied, “Why should you go on without me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands?”…..
And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother in law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister in law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” Ruth 1:7-11, 14-16 (NLT)
It’s interesting to read about Ruth’s attitude. She’s still in mourning from the loss of her husband and has no plans on separating from Naomi. Neither does Orpah at first, but after Naomi presses a little harder, eventually Orpah decides to return to her people and their multiple gods. It makes me think of Christians, or people in general. When things get tough, we talk about how we trust in God and how we’re trusting on him to make a way. But then the situation gets a little more complicated or tough and we cave under the pressure. Now we’re worrying about this or trying to fix that all on our own. And I can only imagine that God is looking down on us shaking his head like, “Wow, you guys really don’t trust me, do you?”
That’s one thing I’m trying to work on; worrying. It’s like I know everything the Lord has done for me in the past, but when something else pops up, my go to emotion is immediate worry. I know I’m not alone in this. But unlike Orpah, Ruth decided to stay with Naomi. She had a level of commitment that I aspire to possess one day. She didn’t know what would come of returning to Judah with Naomi, but she had faith and that’s all that mattered.
Moving on to the second chapter, we’re introduced to a man named Boaz. Now Boaz was kin to Naomi’s husband. To provide for herself and Naomi, Ruth sought out work in the fields under which Boaz had control over. When Boaz saw Ruth working in his field, he asked about her and upon learning who she was, took an immediate liking towards her.
“Boaz went over and said to Ruth, ‘Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain…I have warned the young men not to treat you roughly. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well.’
Ruth fell at his feet and thanked him warmly. ‘What have I done to deserve such kindness,’ she asked. ‘I am only a foreigner.’
‘Yes, I know,’ Boaz replied. ‘But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard of how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. May the Lord reward you fully for what you have done.’ ” Ruth 2:8-12 (NLT)
Ruth had no idea that she would meet such a kind man and was puzzled as to why he treated her with such kindness. But the choices she made and her character spoke volumes to Boaz. It was something that he could respect and admire. Sometimes we don’t get the blessings we want because we don’t have the right attitude. Attitude determines altitude. Most of us are so stuck in our feelings/emotions that we fail to see the bigger picture: that God is in control of everything, even when our lives seem out of control.
I’ve never lost a close family member before, so I can’t speak to how it feels. That sense of loss and emptiness. But I can imagine. Just like I can imagine how Ruth felt. This was someone she had been married to for ten years. Then she lost him. She knew nothing about the one true God, about how to live for Him, but she made the decision to stay with Naomi instead of returning to familiarity. Ruth was a loyal woman and it caught the eye of Boaz.
She’s excited and grateful that Boaz is so kind to her and making sure that she’s taken care of. She shares her good news with Naomi and she’s pleased with Ruth and tells her to continue working in Boaz’s field. After some time has passed, Naomi recognizes the opportunity for Ruth to marry again and she instructs Ruth to make herself available to Boaz, or in other words, let him know that she’s available for marriage. She tells her to take a bath and make herself look and smell nice and at that when Boaz lies down to sleep, to lay at his feet and wait for his instructions. Boaz woke up in surprise and was even more taken aback at her loyalty. He was also surprised that she had not decided to catch the eyes of younger men who were around. He decided that he did want to marry her, but he was a man of honor. There was another man in the family who was next in line to buy the land that Naomi’s husband owned, but buying the land required that the buyer married Ruth and had children with her to extend the family line.
Once the man found this out, he decided to let Boaz buy the land and marry Ruth. They married and conceived a child whom they named Obed and Obed was the grandfather of King David. The creator of the bible plan pointed out that it was interesting that Ruth didn’t have any children with her first husband. I found it interesting too and I’m sure that Ruth questioned God on why she couldn’t bare children. But when I think about it, having children with her first husband was not in God’s will. Many times, we pray for certain things that aren’t aligned with God’s will for our lives. I’ve learned to ask God fir the things I want, but I follow up with, “If it’s your will, Lord.” That way, I know that if I haven’t received what I’ve been praying for, it’s either not in His will or it’s not my time yet. There are many things I have prayed for that I haven’t received yet. It can be hard waiting and having patience, but the reward is so much greater when we wait for the things we’re praying for.
I don’t know what trials you’re going through or what unanswered prayers you’re waiting on, but I can say this: continue to trust in God. Trust that He’s a keeper of his promises. Ruth had yet to know God before she met and married Boaz, yet she still had many of the core qualities that most Christians possess, such as patience, faith, and loyalty. The story of Ruth is a great example on how patience and trust in God will grant you the things you seek after.