Sun, 2017-08-13 12:48
The Faith of Ruth the Moabitess
Ruth 1:1–5 (NKJV) Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain manof Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man wasElimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion—Ephrathites of Bethlehem,Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. 3 Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, andher two sons. 4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. Andthey dwelt there about ten years. 5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.
These five verses provide the tragic backdrop of the lives of three women, and how the faith of one of them brought about anamazing turn-around.
The three women were Naomi and her daughter-in-laws Orpha and Ruth.
All three women lost their husbands, though in reality, Naomi’s loss was greater than the loss of her daughter-in-laws, in that shelost three men.
Ruth 1:6–15 (NKJV) Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heardin the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread. 7 Therefore she went out from the place whereshe was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 And Naomi said to hertwo daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the deadand with me. 9 The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” So she kissed them, and they lifted uptheir voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, mydaughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn back, mydaughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should alsobear sons, 13 would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, mydaughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!” 14 Then they lifted uptheir voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. 15 And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”
Naomi is without income, without social security and without a future. She decides to return to Bethlehem so she releases herdaughter-in-laws to be remarried again among their own people in Moab.
When she initially tells her daughter-in-laws to return to their people and find themselves another husband, both of them said thatthey want to stay with her.
When Naomi asks them again to turn around, and explains her inability to provide a future for them, Orpha turns back and leavesNaomi.
(Amazingly, this is the last time that Orpha’s name is mentioned in the Bible. She disappears into obscurity, never to be heard ofagain.)
Conversely, Ruth reaffirms her commitment to Naomi, and it is at this point that she rises to meet her destiny.
Verse 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law [good by], but Ruth clung to her.
After Naomi re-stated her request a third time for Ruth to turn back, Ruth replied:
Ruth 1:16–18 (NKJV) But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go,I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die,and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” 18 When she saw that shewas determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.
Ruth considered her connection with Naomi a “divine joining”. She wasn’t committed to Naomi on a physical or an emotional level,she was committed to her on a covenantal level.
Although things still took some time to unfold, Ruth’s destiny began to be realised from this moment forward:
Ø Ruth joined Naomi and went to Bethlehem with her
Ø She began to care for Naomi and took full responsibility for her
Ø Eventually she married a very wealthy landowner by the name of Boaz
Ø She became the great-grandmother of King David
Ø She is mentioned as one of the ancestors in the lineage of Jesus Christ
Ø Her name will be mentioned with honour throughout eternity (Matt. 1:5)
Ø From idol worship to worship of Jehovah (Jesus Christ)
Ø From social insecurity to social security
Ø From poverty to prosperity
Ø From obscurity to prominence
Ruth’s confession of faith wasn’t so much a confession of “I am healed by the stripes of Jesus”, or “My God supplies allmy needs, in Jesus name”.
Rather, her confession of faith was the unwavering verbal commitment she made to her God-connection (her divine joining):
Ruth 1:16–17 (NKJV) … wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and yourGod, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but deathparts you and me.”
Ruth’s faith and character was displayed through these qualities:
1. Her Kindness
2. Her Loyalty
3. Her Unwavering Commitment to her God-connection through Naomi
Ruth 1:8 (NIV) Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord showyou kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me.
Ruth 3:10–11 (NKJV) Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the endthan at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will dofor you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.
Orpha took the more attractive opportunity and set out to find a new husband among her idol-worshipping people.
Ruth stuck with the liability of her aging mother-in-law but ended up fulfilling God’s destiny for her life.
Proverbs 20:6 (Msg) Lots of people claim to be loyal and loving, but where on earth can you find one?
Proverbs 20:6 (TEV) Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful he is, but just try to find someone who really is!
Loyalty can be a very costly character trait, but it pays rich dividends.
“It so happened” that Ruth ended up gleaning in the field of Boaz.
“It so happened” that Ruth did exactly as her mother-in-law advised.
It so happened that Boaz was took notice of her, and, and, and …
“It so happended” …
God wants to bless all people abundantly, but He really likes working with loyal people.
Proverbs 14:14 (HCSB) The disloyal one will get what his conduct deserves, and a good man, what his deeds deserve.
Maybe it wasn’t just Ruth who had kings in her womb; maybe Orpha had kings in her womb too!? But if she did, she never broughtthem forth.
3. Unwavering Commitment to her God-connection through Naomi
Ruth 1:16–17 (NKJV) … wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and yourGod, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything butdeath parts you and me.”
Orpha followed her convenience, but Ruth followed her commitment.
Ruth was committed to the death!
Lessons from the faith and character of Ruth the Moabitess:
1. Be loving
2. Be loyal
3. Be unwavering in your Commitment to your God-connection