Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lessons From Ruth

But Ruth replied, "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. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates me and you. (Ruth 1: 16-17)

I lingered in the book of Ruth this morning during my devotional time for quite awhile, just savoring the choice nuggets of truth. It's a small book of the Bible, consisting of only four chapters, but the message revealed in it speaks volumes. Ruth sets a perfect example for women to emulate today. 

What did Ruth do that makes her character admirable? In the opening chapter of Ruth we see she is a woman who has been thrust into a harsh season of life. Her husband has died. Ruth makes the decision to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, rather than returning to her own people. She takes the hard road rather than the easy one. She makes the unpopular choice, especially since Naomi referred to herself as a bitter woman. Have you ever dealt with someone who was angry at the world and bitter? Not once do we see Ruth complain about her mother-in-law. Ruth was committed to being there for Naomi in her time of need. We don't see a bit of selfishness in Ruth. What we see is a woman who loved unconditionally. 

Ruth was also a very hard worker as she gleaned in the fields to gather food for Naomi and herself. She could have lived out her life as a victim of her bitter circumstances, but instead, once again, she chooses the hard way. She gets busy working instead of complaining or worrying about how they are going to make it in a time when it was extremely hard for women to provide for themselves. Ruth was faithful and trusted in  God's provision and protection. She never complained about how rough her life was. We don't see her throwing any pity parties for herself and the grim situation she was facing each day.

Ruth also listened to Naomi's advice. She knew wisdom came with age, and she didn't ignore the counsel of someone older and wiser. She wasn't quick to do things her way. She willingly accepted Ruth's guidance. The thing that stands out most to me about Ruth was the example she set. She didn't just talk the talk, she truly walked the walk, as we see in the following verses: 

Boaz replied, "Ive been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband--how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 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." (Ruth 2: 11-12)

Because of Ruth's faithfulness, her story has a happy ending. Boaz married Ruth, providing her with financial security and a future inheritance. Naomi's sorrow was lifted as she received the blessing of a grandson to fill her aching arms.

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you, and is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth." Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him." (Ruth 4:13-15)

And that's not the end of the story. Ruth, a foreigner from Moab, became the great-grandmother of the most celebrated king in Israel, King David, an heir to the very throne of God! God can bring astounding conclusions to stories of heartache and suffering. We see this repeatedly throughout the scriptures.

What can we learn from the book of Ruth? We should choose to serve others rather than follow our own selfish desires. We need to commit to being faithful even when it isn't the popular choice. We should be obedient to God and trust Him during the worst of life's circumstances, because we can't see what amazing work He is doing in the midst of our heartache and suffering. We can rest assured that blessings always follow obedience and faithfulness.

Ruth is a perfect example of how God loves to redeem ordinary women for His extraordinary purposes.We can rejoice today because we have a redeemer, Jesus Christ, who will rescue us from every bitter and dismal circumstance we encounter if we trust in Him. Praise His name!

No comments:


blogger templates | Make Money Online