I love how God’s plan is not discriminatory. Ruth was a Moabite, a heathen in the eyes of God’s people, yet she is the central character of the story that so clearly depicts God’s love for us. Ruth didn’t choose her race, her gender, or any other such predisposition, but she did choose God’s people as her family, and she did choose to be a woman of virtue and character. She purposed to do right. Naomi, on the other hand, was blessed with spiritually optimum birth qualifications. She, however, made poor decisions. After being wrung out by life, she gathered herself and her wasted years and headed back to the land she’d forsaken. Old and bitter, she had little hope of a better life. Still, she chose to identify with God’s people. God accepted them both. He orchestrated a lovely plan for the one who couldn’t help herself as well as the one who’d lost hope because of her own mistakes. He does the same for us.John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
I love how faith in God is personal and how that relationship isn’t determined by the views of a nation or the institutions of religion. Israel was a mess. Spiritual depravity corrupted the center of their worship. And Moab didn’t even claim to know God. Ruth’s people embraced the gods of their nation. But no tainting of nation, culture, or religion could besmirch Ruth’s faith. In our lives, it can be distressing to see spiritual setbacks in our culture. It hurts to witness the numbing of consciousness that blurs the line between the world and the church. But our personal relationship with God doesn’t have to be defined by negative shifts. We can have surrendered hearts even in the worst of climates.
I love how trust in God was the foundation on which the natural blessings unfolded. Ruth nestled under God’s wing (Ruth 2:12) before she sought Boaz’s protection. It was on that trust that she followed Naomi, that she labored in the field, that she followed other's instructions, and that she waited for a kinsman redeemer. If we just trust God and let his protective wing cover us, we’ll find that He will lead us to blessings we could never have attained in our own strength. Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”
I love how the story is rich in reward for doing the right thing. Ruth made a practice of doing what was right. So did Boaz. As a result, their story was one of honor and blessing. Not only did their situations improve, but their relationship resulted in King David, and ultimately the Messiah, joining their lineage. In a day and age where it seems the wicked often stand beneath the light of stardom, in God’s world, virtue still rises to the top and receives lasting honor.
I love how something beautiful develops from ashes. Before Ruth and Naomi ventured back to Bethlehem, they were widows with no hope and no future. The canvases of their lives had been painted with loss and grief. But their return marked a change of pallet. Soon, lighter shades softened the stark streaks, and before long, vibrant hues of joy colored their world. God does that for us. We come to Him broken, an ash heap for a life, and He gives us a glorious hope. Isn’t it neat that it was Bethlehem where their new beginning took place? Our Saving Hope was born there as well.Isaiah 61:3 “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
I love how the generosity and selflessness had the power to change the world. Naomi received a life change because of a caring daughter-in-law. Her bowed, gray head was lifted. Joy and purpose was restored because of Ruth’s willingness to love unconditionally, work tirelessly, and trust unreservedly. In like manner, Boaz’s open hand made provision for a destitute foreigner and a poverty-stricken woman. Together, their union built a family through which a king would conquer all of the Promised Land and through which The King would conquer Satan’s domain.
I love how trust in God always wins. As it was for Ruth and Naomi, the theme of redemption is still relevant today. We have a Redeemer. His name is Jesus. I love the story of redemption.
Colossians 1:14 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Tip/Tidbit: It’s easy to get our eyes on negative situations. We can focus on our personal losses and unfair circumstances, but there is another view to take, one that offers solutions for the moment, hope beyond what's current, and eternal reward that is forever. It may not look appealing. It may not be easy. But it will bring God’s favor into our lives. Today, evaluate what God would have YOU to do right now. Stick with that. Keep plodding through the rough times. Then, let God bless your effort and reward you according to His will.