Ruth is one of only two female named books of the Bible and while it’s a short book, with only four chapters, it packs a punch regarding good character.
Naomi was Ruth and Orpah’s mother-in-law. After some time, Naomi’s husband and sons died. Naomi told both Ruth and Orpah to go back to their people and to marry again. Orpah left, Ruth stayed, saying, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
In doing so, Ruth’s noble character is revealed. Her loyalty to her deceased husband’s family and the selflessness she exemplified speaks volumes. The friendship she offered Naomi was priceless.
Naomi allowed Ruth to stay and they traveled back to Bethlehem. During this time Naomi was overwhelmed with bitterness toward the Lord saying “the Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
Ruth, on the other hand, stepped up, was responsible, and asked to be allowed to go into the fields to gather what was left of the grain that the harvesters missed or left behind. She and Naomi had no husbands to provide for them so she was left to do this in order for survival.
As Ruth gathered what she could, Boaz noticed her and inquired of her. He was impressed with what she had done for her mother-in-law and allowed her to stay and work in the fields with the other women who worked for him. He said, “May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
Time passed and Ruth became the wife of Boaz bearing a son, Obed. Obed was the grandfather of Jesse, father of David, from which Jesus’ lineage stems.
The Lord did richly reward Ruth. He supplied all both she and Naomi needed for the remainder of their days and gave her part as an ancestor of the Messiah.
The responsibility and love she felt toward her mother-in-law enabled her to show the rest of us the meaning of true friendship, loyalty, and devotion to others.
I leave this post with ‘food for thought’ and ask “Are you as loyal and devoted to others as Ruth?”