I’ve always wondered what the direct opposite of ruthless is because I have encountered a woman who I would classify as Ruthful!
Today I was reading the book of Ruth whose testimony is summarized in 4 chapters and I was amazed at this young Moabite woman. She was made a wife by a young Israelite man when his family settled in Moab. I imagine she must have been quite the looker to have caught his eye and the envy of many of her peers to have gotten ‘wifed up’ by a man who belonged to the chosen nation. It must have been a dream come true because let’s face it, many young women dream of the day they’ll get married, have a home of their own and beautiful babies to crown it all. So with the first step in that direction out of the way, her expectation must have increased.
Unfortunately, her husband died. So did his Father and brother. Leaving her broken and confused and crushed. She grieved with Naomi and her sister in law who both were dealing with his trauma.
Seeing as she had lost everything, Naomi- Ruth’s mother-in-law decided to go back to Israel. She blessed her daughters-in-law sending them on their way. She acknowledged that they were young, had their whole lives ahead of them and would not fail to re-marry.
Ruth clung to Naomi (1:14,15) saying (in Vs. 16) “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May God punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”
I believe Ruth meant every word she said and it comforted Naomi to know that at least one person was unwavering in her loyalty toward her.
When they reached Bethlehem, Naomi’s hometown, she hatched a delicate plan to hook Ruth up with Boaz (Elimelech’s relative) and redeem her family so Ruth would have a permanent home. (Chapters 2&3). Ruth obediently followed Naomi’s plan to the letter. However outside of the plan, the people of the town had great respect for this woman from Moab who was unwavering in her loyalty towards Naomi. So much that when Ruth lay at Boaz feet (3:9-11), his testimony of her was “…for everyone in the village knows you are a virtuous woman.”
She was not lacking in virtue, nor humility, kindness and character. Despite being a nobody from Moab, Ruth won the hearts of the town people who spoke about her at the village wells. This woman who was not part of God’s chosen people, believed this God (1:16) without even knowing who He was and He honoured her far beyond her expectation. He gave her a home, a husband, and a son (4:13) who became the Father of Jesse and the grandfather of King David.
And so many years later, God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ was a direct descendant of Ruth and Boaz. If that’s not honour, then I surely do not know what is.
My lessons from Ruth:
- - Your faith attracts God’s grace and causes Him to act on your behalf
- - Your character is the channel God uses to honour and elevate you
- - Grace will open doors to places but only your character will sustain you there.