Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
If Ruth had stayed in Moab like her sister-in-law, no one would be talking about her today. She would not have a book in the Bible bearing her name. She would not have become the wife of Boaz, the mother of Obed, the grandmother of Jesse and the great-grandmother of David, the second king of Israel. Surely, she would not have been in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Ruth's journey is an interesting one. If she had stayed in Moab, her life would have been very different. The choices she made changed the course of the rest of her life. and there are some powerful lessons to be learned.
The Book of Ruth
The short Book of Ruth has only four chapters. It tells the story of Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their sons Mahlon and Chilion who lived in Bethlehem. When a famine broke out, the family moved to the nearby pagan country of Moab. After a while, Elimelech died. Mahlon married Ruth, and Chilion married Orpah, two Moabite women.
The women got to spend only ten years with their husbands. Then both husbands died. The famine was over in Bethlehem, and it was at the time of the barley and wheat harvest. Therefore, Naomi decided to move back to her hometown of Bethlehem. She encouraged her two daughters-in-law to stay in Moab and go back to their parents. Orpah had no problem doing what Naomi suggested. However, Ruth clung to Naomi and refused to leave her side. We have heard nothing else about Orpah after that.
Ruth's Decision to Go with Naomi
Naomi returned to Bethlehem along with Ruth. It was at the beginning of the barley and wheat harvest. That was good timing because Ruth was still young enough to work in the fields to support herself and Naomi.
Naomi had told Boaz, a close relative of her late husband's family, about Ruth's loyalty. When Ruth went to the fields to glean, she discovered that not only did Boaz allow her to pick up grain, but he also instructed his servants to leave behind some barley so it would be easy for the first-time gleaner. Ruth gleaned throughout the remainder of barley and wheat harvest.
According to the Levitical law, Boaz was obligated to marry Mahlon's widow in order to carry on his family's inheritance. Boaz married Ruth. They had a son, Obed, which pleased Naomi who took the baby into her bosom. The entire city celebrated with Naomi because she had found joy again.
Ruth Picking Up Leftovers
The Spirit of Ruth
Ruth's story is one of bravery, faith, loyalty, commitment, obedience, making major decisions, and taking risks. Ruth found happiness in a new country where people served a different god, ate different foods and lived a different way than she had been accustomed to doing all her life.
So, what's so important about what Ruth did? Why would someone want to have the spirit of Ruth?
- Ruth was loyal to Naomi even though her mother-in-law released her and suggested she stay back in Moab.
- Ruth was a risk-taker. She went with Naomi without knowing what her future held. However, she wouldn't let her mother-in-law leave her behind.
- Ruth was committed, generous and unselfish. She worked to support herself and Naomi.
- At the time, Ruth didn't even know the God that Naomi served. However, she trusted what she couldn't see or understand.
Ruth was blessed beyond measure after suffering great loss and giving up the known for the unknown.
No matter how dark things seem to be in your life, you should trust God because He is in control. You certainly don't know what lies ahead, but you can rest assured that God is there. In other words, we can be comforted when we leave Moab and go to Bethlehem.
Even though Ruth didn't know what her future would be like, she ended up being blessed. Your troubles might not be anything like Ruth's, but when you have the spirit of Ruth, God will bestow blessings upon us because He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).