The Story of Ruth
“For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people, shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.” Ruth 1:16 & 17
When I was a young man, I dreamed that who ever I married would sometime say that to me. I thought originally that verse was between two people getting married, but it was between a mother and her daughter in-law, found in the Book of Ruth.
Adam Clark, a eighteenth century minister, in his commentaries on the Bible, made these remarks concerning Ruth’s declaration to Naomi.:
“A more perfect surrender was never made of friendly feelings to a friend: I will not leave thee- I will follow thee: I will lodge where thou lodgest-take the same fare with which thou meetest; thy people shall be my people-I most cheerfully abandon my own country, and determine to end my days in thine. I will also henceforth have no god but thy God, and be joined with thee in worship, as I am in affection and consanguinity. I will cleave unto thee even unto death; die where thou diest; and be buried, if possible, in the same grave. This was a most extraordinary attachment, and evidently without any secular motive.”
In studying this book, I found that Ruth, meaning friendship, was the only woman specifically mentioned in scripture as a virtuous woman. How did a Moabite woman, the enemy of Israel, receive such honor? She was in the lineage of King David and the Lord Jesus Christ. The answer lies in her mother in-law, Naomi, meaning my joy.
The story begins with a famine in the land of Bethlehem; some believe this was in the days of Gideon. Here we find Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, and their two sons as they leave Bethlehem and go to the land of Moab. Soon, Elimelech dies and not after long, Naomi’s sons marry two Moabite women. Again, death visits their family with the passing of both sons, leaving Naomi and her two daughter in-laws, Orpah and Ruth.
The Characters of Naomi & Ruth
Namoi obviously had a great impact on her daughter in-laws. They both wanted to stay with her even though it would mean that they might never marry and have a family of their own.
In the first chapter, we find several character qualities in Naomi. The character of humility and sincerity was evident in her life. With her husband and two sons gone, all she had were these two women. Most would have begged the girls to never leave her, thinking that all she would have left of her family would be these daughters. She was not thinking of herself, but what was best for them, and they knew it. That is why she begged them to go to their people so they could have their own families.
Orpah left and went back to her people and her gods, but Ruth truly found faith in the God of Israel and vowed to stay with Naomi. Ruth showed the very character that was evident in Naomi. Naomi took responsibility for the things that happened in her life and accepted them, not putting blame on God or someone else. This is evident when they returned to Bethlehem. Once there, many realized who she was. When they called her by her name, she asked that they call her Mara, meaning bitter, instead of Naomi, because the Lord had dealt bitterly towards her. She accepted whatever happened in her life as being allowed by the Lord.
It was not long after they settled in their home that the love and devotion Ruth had for Naomi was seen by everyone. When Ruth went to the fields to gleam barley, the men of Boaz knew who she was. When Boaz arrived and found out who she was, he treated her with kindness and gave her protection as well. The reason for his kindness to a Moabitess was because of her devotion to Naomi and her willingness to leave her people and faith, to go to a people she did not know. Boaz blessed her for her trust in the Lord God of Israel.
We later see that Naomi is trying to find some way of making sure that Ruth is taken care of in the way of marriage. Naomi instructs Ruth to appeal to Boaz and ask him to fulfill the responsibility of being a near kinsman.
Ruth had put her trust in the Lord. As a result, Boaz blessed her and agreed to marry if the nearer kinsmen refused her. Boaz told her that all of Bethlehem knew her character as that of a virtuous woman.
Later, Boaz married Ruth and she conceived and bared a son whose name was Obed. He would later be the grandfather of King David and eventually Jesus.
Lessons learned from Ruth
Ruth came from a people whose religion was in direct opposition to the true worship of Jehovah. Chemosh was the national deity of Moab. In the worship of this false god, human sacrifice, usually the firstborn, was required to maintain favor.
Satan tries to copy the things of God in an evil way. The Lord says the firstborn belongs to him. The worship of Chemosh was an abomination to the Lord. Ruth had to turn 180 degrees with her thinking when she married into this Israelite family.By the time of her husband’s death, she had made the following commitments:
• She was willing to give up all that she was trained as a Moabite women, even when she had a chance to go back.
• She gave up all of her rights as a Moabite to take on the role of a virtuous woman, regardless of nationality. Ruth was willing to give up the chance of ever having a marriage and children, and was willing to serve Naomi, even until death.
Today, our society puts so much weight on romance and love instead of character. Because of the obedience and character of Ruth and Naomi, they put their trust in the Lord and allowed him to direct their paths. Ruth had so much going against her just being a Moabite, but because she put her trust in God and humbled herself, God exalted her as a virtuous woman, whose prize is worth more than rubies.
Independence is heavily promoted today for young ladies and even if it sounds like good advice, it is poison to the godly character of a man or a woman. When one says they are independent, what are they independent from? Independence is the opposite of submission to one another, which is commanded in Scripture.
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God…” Ephesians 5:21
Young men, do you desire a young lady who may be pretty, but has serious character problems? Or do you want someone who demonstrates godly character and is someone you trust?
Young ladies, do you want someone who will honor you and who will love and take care of you till death do you part? Or do you want someone who will force you to violate biblical principals? One of the ways to find a good man is one that does not believe in divorce and honors the authorities in his life, especially his parents.
What we need today are young people who are dedicated to the Lord and willing to allow God to control every part of their lives, as did Ruth. No matter what everyone else is doing. When we are hanging on to an area that has not been given over, we will not obtain that peace that passeth all understanding.
Ultimately, are you willing to become, in character, that which you desire in a mate? Ruth was and found the blessings of the Lord.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7
You may be reading this and you have never answered the most important question in your life and that is …
How does anyone get to heaven?
First realize that they cannot get to heaven on their own merits. The Bible says that “For all have sinned and come short (that means everybody can’t get to Heaven on their own) of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
Jesus Christ (who is the Son of the living God) came to earth and was born of a virgin woman (therefore he was not born of the curse of mankind) he lived a sinless life and died on a cross for all the sins in the world. Three days later, God the Father raised Him from the dead. He was seen of 500 witnesses and returned to heaven. God’s word says that if we believe these things and call upon the Lord, we will be saved. Romans 10:9 - 13