Ruth – A Faithful & Courageous Woman from the Old Testament
By Steph Nickel
How was Ruth like women today? Steph Nickel draws from the familiar Old Testament story to provide her usual enlightening suggestions.
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Rahab From The Old Testament
Today let’s consider how Ruth was just like us and what we can learn from this faithful and courageous woman.
God knew her story was so important that there is an entire book in the Scriptures that bears her name.
Many of us are familiar with verses 15-18 of chapter 1: And she [Naomi] said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more (ESV).
Naomi and her family had fled to Moab when famine broke out. Naomi’s sons married Moabite women, and some time later, tragedy struck. Naomi’s sons and her husband died. There was nothing left for her in her adopted home and she set off for Bethlehem.
Her daughters-in-law were all set to go with her. However, when given the opportunity, Ruth’s sister-in-law turned back. This is completely understandable. She would be leaving her family, friends … everything that was familiar to her.
However, this didn’t dissuade Ruth. She was committed to her mother-in-law and insisted on going with her. “May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” What a statement!
Ruth and the Unknown
Did Ruth have any idea what lay instore for her in Bethlehem? I doubt it.
Did she realize there would be those who would look down upon her because of her heritage? Likely. The Lord Himself had told His people not to marry foreigners. As is the case today, God doesn’t want His people to be lured away by false gods.
I believe this is the main reason we are instructed in 2 Corinthians 6:14 not to be unequally yoked. God is not speaking about interracial marriages. He is giving instruction to Christians, warning them not to marry unbelievers.
Ruth’s is one of the stories that show us God’s perspective is far beyond ours. He is unchanging. His directives and commands stand. However, we can rest assured that it was always part of the Lord’s plan to include Ruth in Jesus’s family tree. And, from God’s point-of-view, there is no contradiction in these two truths. Amazing!
Could it have had something to do with Ruth’s statement to Naomi, “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (ESV)? Perhaps.
Thankfully, even when we don’t understand what we read in God’s Word, we can rest in the knowledge that Ephesians 1:11 is true. “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (ESV) (italics mine).
So, how was Ruth just like us?
Ruth Suffered Loss.
We may not have suffered the utter devastation that Ruth did, but I’m sure we can all relate to loss in one way or another. For this woman to walk away from everything that was familiar, everything that she felt might have brought her comfort … what an example she set!
Ruth Learned About Sacrifice
Did Ruth know she was following the Lord’s plan for her life? I can’t say for sure. But she was willing to make sacrifices in order to remain with her mother-in-law, even though Naomi pointed out there was no benefit in doing so.
None of us know for certain what the future holds. Our situation, our world, can change in an instant. We must be willing, like Ruth, to step out and do the right thing even so. We have the advantage of having access to the Scriptures. As the saying goes, “We don’t know what the future holds, but we can know who holds the future.”
God Had a Plan for Ruth’s Life.
I suspect Ruth didn’t realize this. However, He did have a plan for her. And He has a plan for each of us. No matter how uncertain our future, we can trust the Lord completely. Romans 8:28 remains true to this day. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV).
God Blessed Ruth in Ways She hadn’t Even Imagined
If you’re like me, you can look back over your life and realize that the Lord has, indeed, blessed you in ways you hadn’t previously imagined.
If you’re in a difficult place, follow Ruth’s example. Take the next step and trust the Lord to direct your path.
I encourage you to read the book of Ruth to learn more of her story. Take the time to do so slowly, meditating on just how wondrous it is, how loving and kind our great God.
Just like Ruth, may we walk the path before us, even if we can only see the next step.
Images courtesy of:
Woman with Head Scarf – Bess-Hamiti
Moab map –Richardprins
Stepping Out – MabelAmber
Fork in the Road – Free-Photos
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Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio. Read and hear more from Steph Nickel on the contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.
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