Following the book of Judges comes the book of Ruth. In Judges the Israelites “did what was right in their own eyes” rather than obeying God and thus fell into trouble. God would appoint a judge to help them rescue them and they would forget. The book of Ruth is one of two books named after female heroines. Ruth was not an Israelite! She was a Moabitis, from across the border, distantly related to the Israelites, as Moab was the grandson of Lot, Abraham’s nephew.
Famine came to Bethlehem and a family fled to Moab. Ruth married one of the two sons but her father-in-law, her husband and husband’s brother had all died. There was no male leadership or protection in this little family. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, decided to return to Bethlehem. Ruth, in her famous speech, begged Naomi to be allowed to go with her. As an immigrant to Bethlehem, living with a starving bitter woman, Ruth showed character but also showed that Naomi, even in her most discouraged, perhaps lowest time in life, lived a faith that inspired Ruth to follow her. Perhaps we are not the best judges of the testimony of our life!
Ruth followed Naomi back to Bethlehem, went to the fields to glean that is pick up fallen grain after the harvesters, followed culture by going to the threshing floor at night to signal Boaz, the owner, of her availability for marriage and was praised by the Bethlehemites as a woman of integrity and faith. That’s a pretty good resume and a story worth reading. Sometimes in the detours of our life, we learn and grow in ways that develop an epic life story unfolding and that impacts the direction of our life and the direction of the future. Yes, Ruth marries Boaz and has a son who is the grandfather of King David. Ruth is one of the four women listed in the genealogy of Jesus.
Detours in life are so hard to understand at the time. The Israelites keep falling into a cycle of forgetting God and then being called back to faith by the judge. Ruth experienced death and loss of country. So hard, but during the hard time Ruth had to reach inside herself and learn in a new way what she believed and who she could trust. Perhaps today it would be helpful to reflect on a rough time in your life or perhaps you are going through a rough time. What lessons did you learn and what might you be learning now? Ruth aligned herself with a woman of faith and trusted God to bring about a blessing. God is working to bless you today too even if life feels difficult. Blessings as you stretch your spiritual muscles to trust him.