Ruth (Ruth)

The eighth OT book contains 4 chapters. The unknown author of this historical book, wrote of events happening about 1350 BC. It features three people of strong character (Ruth, Naomi, Boaz) who were directed by God and remained loyal to Him and each other when society about them was collapsing because everyone was doing what seemed right in their own eyes (Jdg 17:6). Time to read: 15 mins.

Outline. Ruth, a destitute widow, showed loyalty to her widowed mother-in-law, earned a good reputation and married Boaz, a prosperous landowner and became the great grandmother of King David.  On the human level, it emphasizes integrity, faithfulness, kindness and protection, while also indicating the events of our lives are orchestrated by a loving God who wants to bless those who walk uprightly before Him and their fellow man. This book portrays wholesome interpersonal relationships between each of the three main people, built on trust and respect with actions reflecting each person's character – everyone knows you are a person of noble character (Ruth 3:11, 4:15).

Main lesson. It is our responsibility to walk in faith believing God arranges the events of our lives.

Key verses and thoughts: * “I want to be with you, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). Ruth was from a different race than her mother-in-law but there was a strong bond of love, loyalty, friendship and commitment between them with the giving and receiving of advice and provision. Many families can’t tolerate other blood relatives let alone ‘the in-laws’. In spite of whatever tensions might have risen between them they continually strove to do what was best for the other – a good example to follow (Mt 7:12). Open communication was at the heart of their relationships. Do my relationships with other family members need to addressed and healed?

* Boaz was sensitive and cared for his distant relative. With integrity, he protected her, not taking advantage of her in her hardship or vulnerability (Ruth 2:14-16, 3:13-15, 4:9). He didn’t just wish her well but instead acted on her behalf (Jas 2:16). How much more should we be concerned about and provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ besides reaching out to those who don’t yet know Christ. A credible witness for the Lord takes their responsibilities seriously and is aware of others and asks, ‘Can I be part of the answer to meeting their needs’?

* This book clearly shows the providence of God even when we are completely unaware of Him but just doing what is at hand to do. Each person acted honourably, using their initiative and doing what they believed was the appropriate action or response in the various situations while God arranged things so they ‘worked out’ perfectly. Ruth was faithful in her relationships, and work habits and consistently lived out God-honouring qualities. God will bless those that honour Him by living according to His principles and humbly want to do His will, by guiding them through life (1 Sam 2:30; Ps 25:9, 31:3). As we pray about everything and commit our way to the Lord, trusting Him to bring it about, He will work out all things for our good. Be confident He will direct our thoughts and actions as we seek to do what is pleasing to Him (Prov 3:5,6; Rom 8:28; Phil 4:6; 1 Thes 5:17) 

See also: bless/blessed, Boaz, providence, Redeemer, Ruth.

 


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