The book of Ruth begins with a prologue which sets the tone of the story in rather sad way. The book opens with a man called Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion.This family migrated from their hometown in Bethlehem-Judah to settle in the country of Moab as a result of feminine. In this land, Naomi is embittered. She loses her husband. Her two sons marry two Moabite women. After 10 years in marriage, the two sons also die. The cause of death between father and sons is unknown. It is after all this tragedy that RUTH is mentioned. Ruth is first mentioned in this story as a widow; she was married for ten years and then loses her husband. Studying this book, I asked myself if Ruth and Orpah didn’t bear children together with their husbands.
The name Ruth is of uncertain etymology, most believe Ruth to be derived from the Hebrew “rūth”, a possible contraction of “rē’ūth” which means companion or friend. It comes as no surprise that she lived up to the meaning of her name. The name is borne in the Bible by a Moabite woman who was devoted to her mother-in-law. The book of Ruth, though short, is deeply rooted in the principles of loyalty, friendship, love and redemption. No matter your age, the seasons of your life, there is something to take home from this book as we walk along with Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz.
Before we delve into the lessons from this Phenomenal Woman, you reading this piece today, you are Ruth. Not because your name is Ruth (If it is then this is a divinely orchestrated coincidence), but because you are a woman who may have experienced great loss and pain, yet you have remained loyal and faithful no matter what. You found your strength in God, and your Boaz (redemption) is now. Usually, the book of Ruth has been used to advise unmarried women on how to be located by their future husbands, which in itself is not a bad lesson, but the whole book of Ruth stands for something deeper than just a husband. This book is deeply rooted in the redemptive power of our Lord Jesus. Boaz, is just not a husband, he represents how Jesus is our ever present help in time of need, how our loyalty, faithfulness and humility is rewarded.
Our Safe Haven
The book of Ruth sets of with the life of Naomi. Naomi was from Bethlehem and moved to Moab with her husband Elimelek and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. Naomi later on lost her husband and she was left with her two sons. Her two sons found wives, Ruth and Orpah, but 10 years later, both sons died as well. It is worthy to note that Naomi and her family relocated to Bethlehem-Judah to seek refuge. That was supposed to be their safe haven. However, that was rather the place where they met their doom. Naomi now widowed and childless had these daughters-in-law depending on her for their next move in life. Ever been at that place where you run away from a certain situation, to seek solace somewhere else but that place turns sour? I mean when you think you are getting out of the hot oil in the frying pan only to be tossed up into the fiery furnace. Naomi and her family were escaping famine and hunger only to meet their death. The only safe haven we have as Children of God is the Name and Blood of Jesus. We can never tell what our safer move will cost us. But when we are in the deep waters, as long as Jesus is in the boat, we will sail through and come out victorious as was Naomi and Ruth’s story.
Ruth and Orpah were both given the blessing from Naomi to go back to their hometowns after their husbands had passed. Naomi knew she couldn’t provide the women new husbands and she wanted them to take the obvious choice for “moving on” and not be held stagnant in life. Orpah made the decision to depart from her mother and sister in law and guess what, that was the last we heard about her in the good book. As to whether she remarried or not we have no clue but Ruth decided to stay with Naomi and head to Bethlehem together.
“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)
How many times have we made choices to be in a place that we “think” will give us what we want? Ruth was brave in keeping her commitment to Naomi, staying with her instead of looking to her own interests. We have often made Orpah seem like a selfish lady who did not want to go through any further suffering than she already had been through. But really, let’s be honest here, no one is judging, how many of us would have indeed followed Naomi back to her hometown. Bearing in mind that at that time also the Moabites were considered Gentiles as such were not permitted in the congregation of Israel. It took a certain level of grace and revelation for Ruth to insist on going back with Naomi, a decision she never looked back on. She was loyal from beginning to the end.
How many times have you pledged your loyalty to a person and you have gone back on your word. In my uni days, I was running for position in the SRC. I contacted this lady to help me campaign. She took all my campaign souvenirs and committed to help me win the elections. On the day of the elections, I found out all along she had been playing both sides. She was actually campaigning against me with the souvenirs I had given to her. She could have had just a little bit of integrity and told me I am unable to assist you! Instead, she thought she was being smart by playing me.
Let us be women of integrity and loyalty. Let our yea be yea and our no be no. In being loyal however, let us be discerning in choosing where our loyalty lies.
Do not be an Idle Woman
When they had reached their new home, Ruth decided to get to work. “And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi,
“Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” (Ruth 2:2)
She was in a new town, with new people, and wanted to help take care of Naomi who was old and herself. She decided to glean in a nearby field and follow the harvesters. Her work ethic did not go unnoticed as a foreman would speak about her labor to Boaz shortly after his notice of her:
“She’s been at it steady ever since, from early morning until now, without so much as a break.” (Ruth 2:7 )
You may find yourself in certain situation which has the tendency to cause you to be idle. Ruth could have given all the excuses in this world. But I just got here! But who do I know here! But how will I get a job! But I did not pass my exam! But I did not pass the interview! But I did not have rich parents growing up! New flash! All your “buts” are true, however what are you doing to change that “but”?
Don’t be idle. It does not look pretty on you.
Your decision affects generations yet unborn
When Naomi heard about Boaz, she gives her a set of instructions in relation to her conduct towards him and Ruth obeys it to the latter. He’s happy to know she’s interested in him and expresses his desire to marry her but that there’s another relative who has Closer ties to her-in-laws. Boaz sets out to meet the guy and as it turns out, this random relative is only interested in buying a land Naomi owns, but much less interested in taking her daughter-in-law. So a deal is struck Boaz takes Ruth as his wife. Soon, Ruth and Boaz has a son.
This son was named Obed who later became the father of Jesse who later became the father of David who, as we know, is in the direct blood line of Jesus Christ! How glorious to see how the braveness and commitment of a young woman would later meet a man that would help to bring the family lines of Jesus Christ into fruition. At a surface level, few saw Ruth as an unimportant. She was from Moab, which was a nation that resulted from an incestuous encounter between Lot and his daughter. She was a poor widow living in a foreign land away from her birth family. But God saw her as important and His plan for her life culminated in her becoming a part of the lineage of Jesus.
Never underestimate the power of your decisions, commitment and loyalty to God and to close relatives and even friends. God also brought joy back to Naomi as she lovingly helped to take care of Obed. How awesome is our God that He can take such a dark and lonely season for Naomi and Ruth and turn it into joy, love, prosperity and redemption! Never underestimate the power of your decisions, commitment, humility, and integrity!
Finally, to be a modern day Ruth, you should be loyal in all your relationships, walk and work the extra mile, don’t quit when the going gets tough. Someday it will all make perfect sense. Let go of what died or didn’t work out, move forward and walk towards your future.
http://rubiesworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/twp-300x300.png00Nelia Gyemfihttp://rubiesworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/twp-300x300.pngNelia Gyemfi2018-12-02 20:10:042018-12-02 20:41:52Ruth; A story of Loyalty, Love and Redemption