We read the Book of Ruth at our last meet and when the text came through from the month’s host to study it in advance, I admit I had my preconceptions.
Whenever I hear the Book of Ruth mentioned it is often in the context of what a wonderful and obedient woman she was (Ruth that is, just in case you weren’t following) and how she is the perfect model for women to aspire to. Often in the same context as Esther.
Looking at it that way, as we discovered, does the book little justice. We each took it in turns, reading a chapter and discussing what it meant to us, our understanding of what the chapter was trying to say and one thing resonated. This wasn’t a manual about how to be an obedient woman but it was more to do with the qualities we should all embrace as Christians and how God rewards us for it.
Yes, Ruth’s quality of loyalty to Naomi was the first thing that stood out when she refused to return to her people and follow Naomi instead, but we also thought it must have been something to do with Naomi’s qualities that made Ruth trust her implicitly. That trust then builds up into obedience, where throughout the book, Ruth obeys every instruction given to her by Naomi even when such things seemed ludicrous and in the case of the visit to the threshing floor, extremely dangerous.
We also see throughout the book how God has a plan for her; she returns with Naomi just as the harvest begins (access to food), she gleans from Boaz’s field (access to security) and as word of her humility and loyalty has spread through the town she receives words of blessings from all (access to favour).
If Ruth can show such loyalty and obedience to Naomi a mere human, and be blessed so abundantly, should we not expect much more if we are loyal and obedient to God?
This book is recommended reading if you ever have doubts that God is with you always, even in times of adversity and as the hymn says “trust and obey” so you will be richly rewarded and blessed.
When you consider that Jesus and David came from Ruth’s line, you’d be hard pressed to find greater honour and favour.
Happy July all!