1 Ruth

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					      GREAT MEN AND WOMEN OF THE BIBLE


                         4/15 THRU 4/30



                              “RUTH”


        A WOMAN OF A NOBLE CHARACTER

It has been called the most beautiful short story ever written. It deals
with a plot that naturally emerges through conversations between the
major characters: Ruth, Naomi and Boaz. It was a time of moral and
political chaos in Israel. But during the worst times, God reveals His
love and still works on behalf of those who fear and trust Him. The
Book of Ruth is a harvest story, as the “Lord of the Harvest” gathers
His sheaves (JOHN 4:31-38). Ruth and Esther are the only OT books
named after women. Ruth was a Gentile who married a Jew and
became a part of “salvation history” (MATTHEW 1:5) and the two
came from different cultures and countries. She was placed between
Judges and Samuel in the bible for a definite reason. Judges shows
the decline of the Jewish nation; Samuel shows setting up the Jewish
kingdom; and Ruth shows us images of Christ and His Bride. Instead
of violence and lawlessness, we see tenderness, love, and sacrifice. It
is good to know that there are still good people in bad days, and that
God is at work in the “corners of the land” though violence may fill
the news. This setting of the book is the time of the judges and almost
certainly written during or after the time of David, since one of the
main purposes of the book is to point out that Ruth, a woman from
Moab, was an ancestor of King David.



                    RUTH THE GLEANER

Ruth requested that Naomi allow her to go into the fields to glean the
leftover. God allowed the poor the right to glean in the fields
(DEUTERONOMY 24:19-22 and LEVITICUS 19:9). “Let me now go to
the field” (RUTH 2:2); “Let me glean and gather” (v.7); “Let me find
favor” (v.13). Ruth hoped she would locate a field in which she would
“find favor”. Such a desire probably reflects her awareness of how
either the poor foreigners were frequently treated by hostile
landowners. Naomi granted Ruth’s request and added an affectionate
“my daughter”. By chance Ruth found herself gleaning in the fields
that belonged to Boaz. God leads in her choice of fields so that she
comes face-to-face with the one man God had chosen to redeem her
and marry her. “I am being in the way, the Lord led me” (GENESIS
24:27). The time has come for Ruth to present her claims to Boaz and
give him opportunity to be her kinsman-redeemer. This kept the land
in the possession of the proper people. The kinsman of course, had to
be willing and able to redeem.


Ruth followed the custom of the day and presented her case to Boaz: if
he was to redeem her deceased husband’s estate, he must also marry
Ruth, the widow. Men often slept at the threshing floor to protect the
grain. “Spreading your skirt over your handmaid” (RUTH 3:9) was
Ruth’s legal claim to Boaz, asking him to be the kinsman-redeemer
and claim her as his wife. Certainly, it took faith and courage for her
to take this step. Boaz rejoiced that this younger woman did not reject
him because of his age and he promised to fulfill the duty of a
kinsman the next day and he did not send her away empty-handed. If
there had been doubt earlier about his age, it is now clear that Boaz
was much older than Ruth. It pleased him that she turned trustingly
to him rather than to a younger man, “whether rich or poor.” And
Boaz was willing to pay any price to redeem the woman and her estate
simply because he loved her. We can see in Ruth’s actions a beautiful
picture of the believers’ relationship to Christ; if we want fellowship
with Him, we must be washed, anointed (the Holy Spirit), and clothed
(RUTH 3: 3), our proper place is at His feet.


Boaz protects Ruth and provides for her long before he marries her.
All of these comes from God’s grace (RUTH 2:2), favor (2:13), and
kindness (2:20). Ruth’s response is typical of gratitude and humility
(JOSHUA 7:6; JUDGES 13:20; 1 SAMULE 20:41; 2 SAMUEL 14:4). She
bowed herself with her face to the ground before Boaz and asked in
amazement why she, a foreigner, had found favor in his eyes. Ruth
responded with true humility and undoubtedly with some surprise
that Boaz could speak such comforting and kind words to one who did
not even have the standing of a servant girl before him.
                         HER SERVICE

Ruth remembered her pledge and loyalty to Naomi. “Don’t urge me to
leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where
you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my
God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord
deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything separates you and me”
(RUTH 1:16-17). God used Ruth to lead Naomi out of despair and into
His blessings. Ruth’s decision to glean in the fields led her in
becoming an ancestress of King David and of the Messiah. (PSALMS
37:3-7) represents on how Ruth’s experiences was fulfilled. God then
begins to deal with a Gentile (Ruth) just as today. He is calling out
from the Gentiles, a people for His name (ACTS 15:14). Ruth’s life
relates no matter what but a total devotion (1 CHRONICLES 22:19),
loyalty (2 JOHN 4), commitment (ACTS 20:24), faithfulness
(HEBREWS 11:39) and submission (1 TIMOTHY 2:11). She was willing
to wait for Boaz (RUTH 3:14-18) and to be used by God in having a life
given fully to Him. She surrendered the right to make her own choices
and do what she wanted to do. She was described as a “woman of
noble character” (PROVERBS 31:10).



                         CONCLUSION

No matter how difficult the situation may be, if we surrender to the
Lord and obey Him, He will see us through and no person is so far
outside the reach of God’s grace that he or she cannot be saved. Ruth
had everything against her, but the Lord saved her. God
providentially guides those who want to obey Him and serve others.
There are no “small decisions” with God and it is wise to wait on the
Lord and let Him work out His loving purpose. “The one who trusts
will never be dismayed” (ISAIAH 28:16). After we have done all that
we can do, we must trust the Lord to the rest and He will never fail us.




GLORY TO THE ALMIGHTY,

SIS MERRIAM

				
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