Anyone worried I was not going to continue? No worries, I just took a break while I was with family and friends for Christmas.
The book of Ruth tells the story of a woman who turned away from her pagan heritage. She is a Moabite (and from previous books we know this bloodline is not a good one.) It is very a short book only lasting four chapters.
There is a lot we can learn from Ruth. 🙂
Ch. 1 Ruth Stays With Naomi And Follows God
Naomi was a woman who lost her husband and later lost her two grown sons. Her daughter in laws, she told them, could go back to their homeland. Their husbands were dead, they didn’t have a reason to stay.
Both at first declared they wouldn’t, but Naomi reminded them there wasn’t anything left for her. She was done raising children. Her one daughter in law Orpah kissed her goodbye and returned home.
She clung to her mother in law. Something you don’t often see with daughter in laws and mother in laws. Naomi tried to tell her to go home, and follow the gods of her sister, but Ruth refused. Telling her, “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”
They reach Bethlehem, and Naomi decided to change her name to, Mara because she felt, “The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”
Mara means bitterness.
Ch. 2 Ruth Meets Boaz
Naomi’s husband had a relative of great wealth, and his name was Boaz.
Ruth told Naomi she wanted to go to a field and glean heads of grain from the one she could gain favor from.
Related Point: We’ve covered in past books of the Bible that the Israelites were told not to be greedy, and allow strangers to get food in the field that was left over.
It so happens Ruth is in the field Boaz owns. He notices her and requests information about her. He tells Ruth to stay in his field, and near the women workers of his. He also tells Ruth he has commanded the men not to touch her, which is a HUGE deal, and shows what kind of man Boaz was.
He not only protected her, but he made sure she was fed.
Ruth is moved. She bows to him and pleads to know why Boaz decided to treat her so kindly.
He tells her (paraphrase), “I’ve heard what you’ve done for your mother in law, and how you have chosen to be among a people you do not know. You’ve found refuge in God, and this is your reward for doing so. God will repay you.”
She thanks him, and requests favor in his sight. At mealtime, Boaz encourages her to eat, and she does, but she also saves what she was given. Seeing this, Boaz tells the men to let her glean even more, for them to purposefully drop wheat for her, and not to say a word about it.
Ruth returns to Naomi at the end of the day. Naomi realizes God did not forsake her because she knows who Boaz is. She tells Ruth to stay with Boaz’s workers and to stay in his field.
Ch. 3 Ruth Promised To Be Redeemed
I never realized this before, but to be redeemed, in this case, is to help Ruth truly be part of the people of Israel.
Naomi tells Ruth to clean up, wear her best, anoint herself, and go to the threshing floor. But she is to be quiet and not noticed till Boaz is done eating and drinking.
Then Ruth is to uncover his feet and lie down, and wait to be told what to do next.
Ruth follows through with everything and falls asleep at Boaz’s feet. Boaz is awakened at midnight. He requests who she is, and she answers, “I’m Ruth, please take me under your wing because you are a close relative.”
Boaz promises her she will be redeemed, but that there is someone who is a closer relative. Boaz was saying should this close relative not redeem her, he, Boaz, would.
Ch. 4 Boaz Marries Ruth
Boaz meets with the relative, explains who Ruth is, and the relative says if he bought a field from Ruth (which was the arrangement,) then he would ruin his own inheritance. He says for Boaz to redeem her.
Boaz buys the field, and in front of witnesses, he explains not only has he made sure the name of the dead wouldn’t be cut off from inheritance, but that he was marrying Ruth.
Later, Ruth gives birth to a son, and he is named Obed.
Obed is the father of Jesse, grandfather of David (yes, THAT David!).
And with that, we end the book of Ruth. 🙂
We are preparing to enter the books of Samuel next.
What do you take away from the book of Ruth?