Jul 27, 2019

Ruth - New Testament Women

image from Little Birdie Blessings

Most of us know about Ruth. She is after all one of the few women in the Bible to have a whole book named after her. She was a Moabite woman who married an Israelite, and not only had her husband died, but his brother and father did too. She was left in a household of women, and their support was gone. Not an easy situation in any time period, much less in a time when women had few rights. She moved to a completely different country with a woman who had lost everything, a woman who had encouraged her and her sister in law to return to their fathers' houses. It wasn't like her mother in law was hiding how she felt about it all either, I mean come on, she changed her name from sweet (Naomi) to bitter (Mara). That doesn't bode well. It actually kinda hints that this might actually suck. (To be fair we aren't told how Naomi acted, outside of telling the girls to leave.) Ruth stayed. The unknown didn't deter her. It's also the only time recorded that she didn't obey Naomi.

We all know the verse 1:16

Wherever you go I will go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge. 
Your people shall be my people and your God, my God.

It's verse 17 that got me this time.

Where you die I will die and there be buried.
May the Lord do thus to me, and more if even death separates me from you.

Who does that? In today's world people would be screaming codependency at worst, low self-esteem at best, or possibly wondering what angle she was working. I mean the whole "your God will be my God" is strong as is, to convert is no small thing. (I've done it.) Then to go and say if I don't die and am not buried where you are let his wrath fall on me.............WHAT!?? If someone said this to me I'd probably roll my eyes and say whatever. Possibly Naomi did, probably was more polite about though. She could have just as easily been touched and appreciated it before the fruit of it manifested. We aren't told, but bitter people aren't always the most trusting. Either way, Ruth kept her promise. Her obedience and devotion to Naomi ultimately was obedience and devotion to God.

When Naomi saw the fruit of Ruth's promise she got it in her head that the best way to provide security for Ruth was to get her married off to her kinsman, Boaz. (Cue Matchmaker from Fiddler on the Roof) Naomi tells her how to ask for his hand in marriage. She did all that she was told and asked him to spread his covering over her. I have no way of knowing how she felt that night. I imagine she was scared and nervous, but she could have easily felt the inner peace that absolute trust in God brings. What I do know is that people talk and Boaz did too. He told his workers to not mention that she was there. She was brave, very brave, and more importantly, she was obedient. Her obedience paid off in ways she could have never dreamed of.

I don't know how Ruth felt during her life with Naomi. The bible doesn't tell us her mental or emotional state much at all. It does tell us what her actions were, repeatedly. Her only act of disobedience was to stay when she was told to go. She worked hard, kept her word, and did what her mother in law told her. According to the book of Matthew, she was the great grandmother of King David and a direct descendant of Jesus. All because she was obedient to a woman who had at one time tried to convince her to leave. What blessings obedience can bring!

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