Between Judges and 1st Samuel lies a short book of the bible whose main character shows us many things about kindness, trust and countless other characteristics. Ruth is one of my absolute favorite bible stories.
There are so many qualities Ruth displays in these four chapters that should be evident in our lives today. First of all, a little background on Ruth. The story of Ruth opens up with a very tragic beginning. Ruth has lost not only her husband, but her father-in-law and brother-in-law. This left only the women of the family. In those days, when a woman lost her husband, her social status also was lost.
So, Naomi (Ruth’s mother-in-law) told Ruth and Orpah to go back to their families so they have a chance of marrying again and gaining that status back. This is when we are able to see the characteristics that Ruth is so well-known for.
Ruth rejected Naomi’s offer, and made a drastic, life-changing decision. Chapter one, verses 16-17 show the great lengths she was willing to go to be with Naomi as a friend and helper.
“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.’”
Ruth was giving up her whole life. Her family, culture, people, home, and much more. Loyalty like this is rarely found today. We are all about helping others, unless it means we have to sacrifice something. Would you consider adding to your life, Ruth’s version of loyalty?
Ruth was from the land of Moab, which meant she was probably pagan. When she married into an Israelite family, she was exposed to the truth of the one true God. It was likely that during the years she was married to Naomi’s son, she was taught much about what it meant to serve God and who God was. We see her ultimate commitment in the verses I mentioned earlier when she tells Naomi that “your God will be my God.” We see in many places where Ruth is known throughout the city for being a “worthy woman” and how the Lord will reward her for what she has done. Ruth was honored by God, in that she was one of only five woman mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. How cool is that? I pray that we can look at Ruth’s godly character and ask ourselves, is this how I want to be known? Am I known for being virtuous or godly as Ruth was? How do I fit into God’s will?
This is another quality that is lacking in many lives today. We now try to “out-do” each other and become the best in many things in life. It is harder and harder to find someone who will humble themselves.
Ruth is a great example of humility. Ruth and Naomi were very poor because they had no husbands, and like I said, for a woman, no husband equaled no status, which equaled no money and in turn equaled no food.
So, in order for them to get food to eat, Ruth had to find a field that she could gather all the barley she was allowed to get. Fortunately, God placed her in the field of Boaz, who favored her greatly. Many times throughout this book, she refers to herself as a servant. In chapter two, verse 10 she fell to her face and bowed to Boaz, thanking him for what he had done for her. In chapter three, verse nine, she says, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant for you are a redeemer.”
Ruth did not take anyone for granted and expressed gratitude and respect for everyone she came across. I hope that humility can become an evident characteristic in our lives because it will make your life one that glorifies God and not ourselves.
These are just three of the many qualities Ruth displays. I didn’t even get to the love story of this book, or get to talk about the trust she has in Naomi. There are many instances in this book where today, we might say “That is crazy, why would I do that?” when it comes to humbling ourselves, being loyal to others, or showing that God is worth it all.
I encourage you to study the book of Ruth. It may seem like a book only for women, but men can learn a lot from the character of Ruth as well. There also are many lessons that can be learned from Boaz. Ruth seemed to have absolutely nothing, she was poor, husbandless, and a foreigner, but because she chose to follow God, and because she had all of these great qualities, she became a very well-respected wife and mother. She was given a place of honor in God’s word. So I pray that if you feel like you are at your lowest, you will remember that God sees what you can become, so ask him to help you gain and improve the characteristics that honor him.