|Spiritual Rags To Spiritual Riches|
14 "'But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands,
15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant,
16 then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.
According to Lev 26:14-16, God promised his people blessings if they obeyed Him and curses if they disobeyed Him.
The OT is full of God telling His people to remain faithful and of God warning them of severe consequences if they strayed away from Him.
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.
In Ruth 1:1 we see that there was a famine in the land. Obviously, God was not happy with His people.
Elimelech left and settled down in Moab (a country of idolaters).
His son married Moabite women though God was very clear that His people were not marrying outside.
Ruth was not only a devoted daughter-in-law but she was also a woman of deep conviction. How can we say so? She made decisions based on convictions though she could have easily compromised.
3 Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons.
4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years,
5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
In Ruth 1:3-5, after the death of her sons, Naomi decided to return to her people.
1. Naomiís life helped Ruth to become a God-fearing person.
16 But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."
18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
Ruth said,ĒWhere you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Where you die, I will die. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my GodĒ.
What Ruth was saying is, ďI no longer want to be Moabite, I want to give up everything to worship the true GodĒ.
Ruth was not deciding to follow Naomi, but was full of conviction that the God of the Israelites was the God she wanted to worship.
Though she knew that trouble and hardship lay ahead, she was willing to give her security due to the conviction about Naomiís God.
She was willing to go with Naomi to a new land, live with a new race, die and be buried with them.
What caused her to make this decision?
Why didnít she decide to follow the true God when her husband was alive?
Was her husband a God-fearing man? probably not.
Was Naomi God-fearing? very likely.
Even though she struggled with bitterness, the death of her husband and her two sons, her daily devotional lifestyle is probably what attracted Ruth to God.
Naomi had an impact on her. Maybe Ruth saw Naomi being a great mother, maybe she saw how devoted her worship was. It could have been many different things.
But the book of Ruth is not just about Ruthís loyalty to Naomi, but about Naomiís impact on Ruth also.
The seed of being a great example was sown, watered and raised up by Naomiís godly lifestyle.
Ruth was not an emotional person, who was trying to please Naomi.
She was giving up everything to go with Naomi.
This kind of decision can come only of deep convictions.
What are we teaching people around us? at home? at work? in our neighborhood etc.? Does our love for God shine through?
Do people know our stand on issues like abortion, marrying only Christians, idol worship etc.
Let us make a decision to guard our own life and to teach others who God is.
2. Ruth got married against all odds
May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."
Boaz asks God who protect Ruth to bless her richly.
He knew it was under Godís protective wings that she came with Naomi.
Though the people knew she was a Moabite by birth, they also knew she had decided to seek refuge in God.
This was not a secret; it was obvious to all.
They did not ask one of her previous gods to bless her.
Her conversion was obvious.
How are we in our convictions? Are we trying to be faithful in secret?
17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.
18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.
Here we see Ruth taking care of her mother-in-law. She went to work trusting God.
She could have been hurt, or attacked work. But she trusted God.
9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, "Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion and Mahlon.
10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon's widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from the town records. Today you are witnesses!"
11 Then the elders and all those at the gate said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem.
12 Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah."
Boaz was so taken up by her that he marries her. Ruth gives birth to Perez.
Through the lineage of Boaz and Ruth, Jesus came into this world. Spiritual rags to riches. Ruth married Boaz against all odds.
Are we willing to be faithful and wait for God to give us our right life partner?
Ruth was not young, she was already married once, and she was a widow. But God took care of her.