As I was reading my daily devotion from Proverbs 31, the writer challenged the readers to study certain women of the bible. This particular devotion was about mentoring. We as women should be seeking mentors in our younger years and seeking to be mentors when we are older.
Titus 2:3-5 states; “3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
New International Version (NIV)
Life is tough. Being a young wife and mother is tough. Oh how I enjoyed the help and advise of wives and mothers that have been in my shoes. Somehow the fear and anxiety would melt away knowing that I wasn’t the only one struggling. I wasn’t the only one who felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t the only one who thought my children would be ruined forever.
Anyway, I thought that studying some of these great women was a good idea. I’ve never really done that. Then as I was thinking about which woman I would start with. I also thought that as I learn from these women of old, I would share them with my readers.
Whether you are a believer in Jesus as your savior or not, I believe there is something we can learn from these women who have been in our shoes.
So without further ado… we have RUTH
Ruth was a Moabite married to one of the sons of Naomi a Judien. During the time of famine Naomi losses her husband. Then her two sons a while later. Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem and told her two daughter-in-laws to return home to their parents. She was too old to marry and have more sons for them to marry. The one daughter-in-law, Orpah chose to go home, but Ruth chose to stay with Naomi.
Ruth 1:16-18, “16 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. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”
WHAT WE LEARN
God’s word says to honor our mother and father. I am sure this probably stretches to our mother and father-in-laws as well. Here we see Ruth choosing to honor her mother-in-law even though she is not obligated to any longer. The book doesn’t tell us why Ruth chose to stay, but I assume she loved Naomi dearly. She probably felt that staying with Naomi would also honor her late husband as well. She probably felt close to him when she was with Naomi.
RUTH WAS A HARD WORKER
Chapter 2:2-3 “2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” 3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.”
7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”
WHAT WE LEARN
Ruth asks her mother-in-law for permission to go gather food. Interesting.. She’s a grown woman asking for permission. Regardless, Ruth gets right to work caring for her MIL. Not expecting Naomi to handle things because she is the older of the two women. The mom peruse. That tells me that Ruth was a hard working woman. Willing to do what ever it took to care for herself and Naomi.
RUTH WAS FAITHFUL AND RESPECTFUL
8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”
10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”
11 Boaz replied, “I’ve 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. 12 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.”
WHAT WE LEARN
Because Ruth was faithful to Naomi, word got around town quick. Boaz blessed Ruth because of her faithfulness to Naomi. In turn Ruth became faithful to Boaz as well. She showed her faithfulness by staying in his field only. She showed Boaz honor and respect by bowing down low to the ground before him.
RUTH WAS OBEDIENT
3 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor.3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”
5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floorand did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
WHAT WE LEARN
Naomi obviously feels Ruth should live her life separate from herself. I think that is sweet of Naomi. She feels Ruth needs a man and takes it upon herself to find her one. Oh what a mother thing to do. Maybe they have intermingled in town or something and maybe Boaz showed interest in public that only Naomi could see. Regardless she picks Boaz for the perfect suitor for Ruth. Naomi devises a plan and Ruth seems to calmly agree with that. I am sure there was more to the conversation than, “Go to Boaz.” “Okay mom, whatever you say.” These are women for goodness sake. I’m sure there was a little bit of giddy laughter form both of them and then the butterflies probably settled into Ruth’s stomach. Maybe even fear. It was obvious that Boaz showed interest in Ruth, but who knows if his interest was for a wife. But Ruth obeys Naomi and fearlessly follows the directions and goes to Boaz.
RUTH MAKES HER PRESENCE AND INTENTIONS KNOWN
9 “Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”
10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”
14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”
15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town.
WHAT WE LEARN
We learn that Boaz is an honorable man. A great choice for Ruth. He knew that he wasn’t first in line to Ruth and her family. He is honest with Ruth and let’s her know he will talk with the other relative in the morning. If he isn’t interested in redeeming Ruth then Boaz is more than willing.
BOAZ MARRIES RUTH NAOMI GAINS A SON
(My favorite part)
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
WHAT WE LEARN
Ha! We learn that I am a hopeless romantic. lol No really, we learn that Ruth and Boaz get married and start a family right away. We also learn that all the women in town are very excited for Naomi, because she took the baby and cared for him. I assume his nurse maid. Lastly, we learn that this son of Boaz and Ruth is a direct descendant to Kind David and to Christ!
As women we can use the story of Ruth and Naomi to remind us to honor our parents and our in laws. God has put them in our lives and we should honor them as we do our own. We are also reminded that it’s important to work hard and care for those we are in charge of caring for. We are reminded to be faithful and to trust the people that care for us as well. Lastly we are shown here to trust the Lord and when he opens a door we should fearlessly walk though it. Good things come to those who trust in Christ.
I love the story of Ruth because yes, I am a hopeless romantic. This story would make a good girlie flick for sure. There’s some adventure and romance and the guy gets the girl in the end. That’s the best part. 🙂
What’s your favorite woman of the bible? Let me know and don’t forget to sign up to receive All Things Genuine in your email inbox once a week. I will be writing about a few more women of the bible in the weeks to come.