<<a Moabite widow>>

A destitute widow who, through a series of events, ultimately became the great grandmother of King David and a direct ancestor of Jesus (Mt 1:5). Without knowing the outcome of her actions she acted with integrity, doing what she was able to and through these circumstances God outworked His purposes for her life. She lived during the period when the judges ruled Israel, which was between 1375 and 1050 BC.  Her story is told in the OT book of Ruth.

Lessons from her life: * Although she was a Moabitess she gave up her own country, relatives and religion to embrace those of her Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi, with whom she had a close, caring and loving relationship (Ruth 1:8,15,16).  Although in-laws are often portrayed as the source of much tension, they can also bring about deep love, loyalty and respect.  Am I creating goodwill with my spouse’s family and genuinely concerned with their best interests or do I view them with suspicion or contempt?

* We can’t hide our reputation – be it good or bad (Ruth 2:11, 3:11, 4:15). Façades, may delay the revealing of the truth, however our actions eventually reveal the inner self. Is my lifestyle bringing glory or disgrace to the name of Christ?

* Ruth was unaware of what the uncertain future held yet was determined not to be turned aside (Ruth 1:18). Life is largely the result of decisions made. She looked for opportunities to provide for Naomi and herself through laboriously gathering the leftovers from the harvesting (Ruth 2:2-23). Act with wisdom and honesty and in God’s providence you too could be in the ‘right field at the right time’!  Who knows what the outcome of being hard working, faithful and consistent in menial, tiring day-to-day tasks will be?

* Although being permitted to glean the leftovers from the harvesting was a law Ruth did not assume this as a right but a favour, being polite and appreciative of the opportunity (Lev 19:9,10; Ruth 2:7,10,13). Do I just take my rights for granted without expressing appreciation? Manners shown and encouragement given help create good will and good relationships.

* She listened to her mother-in-law’s counsel and acted on it (Ruth 3:1-6). This was not a seductive, immoral act but a recognised custom of the times of servants laying at the feet of their master, even sharing part of their covering. Both Ruth and Boaz maintained total integrity throughout. Do I carefully listen to the advice of others who are older and wiser than I am, acting on it as appropriate?

* All she could do was “Wait” (Ruth 3:18). The situation was out of her hands and she did not meddle in the legal matters that were the men’s responsibilities. She was reliant on others doing what was best for her. No doubt, she hoped and prayed for a good outcome. We experience times too, when all we can do is commit ourselves to God in faith. Forcing our ideas ‘in the flesh’ never is beneficial.

See also: Boaz, in-laws, providence, redeemer, Ruth (Ruth).