My Community Bible Study studied the Book of Ruth. It is a princess story — where everything seems to go wrong, but the princess is of good stock and knows right from wrong. She has difficult times, yet the story ends happily ever after.
If you don’t know the story, Naomi’s family (her husband and two sons) moved from Israel during a drought to live in the land of the Moabites where there was no drought. The sons married Moabite women. Before there were any children, the father and two sons died. Naomi was grief stricken and decided to return to her homeland of Israel. She told her daughters-in-law to return to their mothers’ homes where they would be safe and find new husbands. Ruth refused to leave Naomi. Ruth was a genuinely lovely person with a big heart. Her words are well-known and often included in wedding ceremonies.
In fact, I quoted these words at the end of my vows: “Entreat me not to leave thee, nor to return from following after thee. For whither thou goest, I will go. Where thou lodgest, I will lodge. They people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” Those words had specific significance to me, because my new husband was a Canadian while I, an American. We were raised in different theological backgrounds, so I was promising to live in Canada if that is where he wanted to be, and to worship in the church which he chose.
So Ruth returned with Naomi to a land that was foreign to her. To have food on their table, Ruth gleaned the barley left behind by the reapers. The owner of one of the fields was Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s husband. When he learned who Ruth was, he told her to glean only in his fields, to stay close to his young women, and to help herself to their water.
According to Jewish law, when a husband died, his brother was to marry the widow. In Ruth’s case, there was no brother, but there were close relatives — Boaz being one of them. However, he knew there was another relative more closely related who should be given the opportunity, but that relative declined as it could affect his inheritance. So Boaz took Ruth to be his wife. Can this story get any better? They had a son, named Obed. Obed fathered Jesse who was the father of David! God placed Ruth in a position to become an ancestor of not only King David, but of Jesus Christ himself!
One of the discussion questions was – “How should our relationship with God affect our relationship with others? (see John 4:7-12) My answer: We will love each other if we love God. If we do not love each other, God is not in us.
Another lesson from this story is — If we place our faith and trust in God, he will guard us and bless us; he will shelter us as he leads through the storms of life. Princess Ruth did worship the Jewish God and followed Jewish law. She lived as an honorable, respectful, loving person. And her prince came! Though she did not know it in her lifetime, God blessed her beyond her imagination. She is an icon to Christian women.
It was Ruth’s great grandson who wrote Psalm 91:1-2:
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”