Lord, I trust in You because You are trustworthy;
I take refuge in You because You are my safety.
Grow me, Lord, in Your ways and in Your love.
Focus of the month: Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Hope
Have you ever asked these questions – How will my future look? What will it hold? Will I achieve my goals? Will I be happy? Will there be pain or joy waiting for me? Or maybe you long for that fairytale life that hasn’t happened. One might approach thinking on this with excitement, while others may be fearful.
Wherever you land on this topic, you can have hope when you look to God and believe He holds your future in the palm of His very capable hands. We see this in the story of Ruth, a Moabite woman, who chose to put her trust in God and allow His hand to cover her future.
Ruth was a young woman when she suffered the loss of her husband. Scripture tells us that his passing came at about the same time as his brother’s death. This is significant because in these times if a woman was widowed, she would often become the wife to a brother of her husband. This arrangement would ensure the man’s lineage would continue. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, had only two sons. Upon their deaths, Ruth and her sister-in-law, Orpah, faced a life without a husband or heirs. Naomi releases them to go back to their homes and leave her, but Ruth has a different idea:
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.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
One of the most beautiful pieces of Ruth’s story is how she claimed that Naomi’s God would be her God. She was not an Israelite, yet she encountered the One True God and chose to belong to Him. It wasn’t easy to go to another land (Judah); to a town filled with strangers and make it your home. Her future was definitely uncertain. Yet, her faith was very certain. She placed her life and her trust in the Lord God of the Israelites.
As Ruth’s story unfolds, we see her follow the instructions of her mother-in-law in every detail. We see her trust in the Lord to provide for her even as she lived in very humble circumstances. When Ruth is sent to gather grain in the fields of a man named Boaz, he is kind and gives generously to her. He tells her that he has heard of her and that she is an honorable woman for staying with Naomi. Later, Boaz would become their kinsman-redeemer. The redeemer was a male relative who had the privilege or responsibility to help or “deliver” a fellow relative in need.
In Ruth’s case, when the plea was made to Boaz to become her kinsman redeemer, it would mean that Ruth would become his wife. Boaz, after following the proper laws accepted this position and Ruth was redeemed.
So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” (Ruth 4:13-15)
The life of Ruth is an example not only of hard work, but one of faithfulness. She proclaimed trust in the God of Israel and the God of Israel brought much good to her. God is faithful and He rewards the faithfulness of His people. Ruth knew her God would care for her and provide for her. And He did.
It was not a mistake that Boaz would be her redeemer. If you recall our study of Rahab, you will remember her son was named Boaz. The same Boaz married Ruth and had a son named Obed. Jesse was the son of Obed. And Jesse became the father of the anointed King David. All leading to the lineage of Jesus Christ.
God’s perfect plan ordained before time in the lives of two women who were not born as Israelites. When I stop and think about whether God will bless me, protect me or keep me…I need only look at His faithfulness to those before me. May we be women with complete faith in our God who saves, redeems and restores.
“The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” (Ruth 2:12)
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: The Book of Ruth, Hebrews 11:1-3