Ruth's Choices

Posted 10/5/2001

Ruth is famous for her words of determination to Naomi, but let's look a little deeper into some of the context surrounding her decision.

Ruth was a Moabitess

How to emphasize this? The Moabites were the enemies of Israel, according to Jud 3:12-30. We know Ruth's story happens in the days of the Judges Ru 1:1, so their conflict is at least recent history. Naomi's husband Elimilech had fled the famine in Israel to the potentially more dangerous refuge of Moab. We know of no trouble however, and the family lived there for ten years, without the sons having any children. Naomi hears that God again has provided food for the land, and returns with Ruth.

Probably the closest comparison is to think of present-day Israel and the Palestinians. Ruth was a Palestinian. She would be looked on with suspicion, with derision, and mistreated.

Ruth followed through

Why wasn't she mistreated? Ruth's all-out declaration of solidarity with Naomi had made her famous, because she had acted on it. Boaz knew all about her, and that she had been taken good care of her mother-in-law the whole time Ru 2:11-12. She didn't make an empty promise - she was doing an exceptional job of taking care of Naomi, such that even people prejudiced against her had only good to report to men like Boaz.

Boaz found her working hard in the fields, gleaning the leftovers from the harvest, despite the dangers of attack Ru 2:9,13-16,22

Ruth obeyed

Once she meets Boaz, the rest of her story is a matter of Naomi and Boaz telling Ruth what to do. She didn't object or complain - she willingly obeyed. Not only is she of good report, but by this time Boaz says that she is a "woman of excellence" Ru 3:11. She puts her personal preferences aside, not seeking after somebody her own age Ru 3:10.

Ruth is blessed

God chose to bless Ruth, giving her a new husband and a son Ru 4:13. She gets the additional priviledge of becoming part of the line of Christ, as the great-grandmother of David. Ru 4:17

Compare this to the life of a Christian.

We are strangers in the world, looked on as wackos when we live as we believe. Yet sticking to it despite the odds, and growing in the Lord, we produce the fruit of the Spirit. These types of results cannot be negated, and nobody denies the good this fruit accomplishes.

Blessing can come, but that's up to God, and there are many years of faithful living before the results may come. For Ruth it was ten years - don't think she all of a sudden became a wonderful person when she stuck with Naomi! That character was building little by little over time.

A consistent testimony of excellence is a thing to be desired. To be so enfused with the character of God, that He gets all the glory.

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