One of the truly great love stories . . . “Wherever thou goest, I will go . . . Wherever thou lodgest, I will lodge . . . thy people, shall be my people . . . thy God shall be my God.”
I have been thinking about changing times . . . changing fortunes , . . and changing circumstances over recent days. We truly live in an ever-changing world, yet I find it a bit peculiar how we tend to look at circumstances and how we often view those changes.
In my reflections on the subject of change, I have looked at some truths set forth in the Old Testament book of Ruth . . . a great book by any standard! I believe the book contains certain Biblical truths . . . even financial truths and principles, yet is not particularly regarded as being amongst books one normally views as dealing with financial matters.
Ruth is pretty much the follow-through and continuation story of a Jewish household . . . a household that had originally feared loss as a financial crisis that loomed out over the horizon and the man of the house took a certain series of steps trying to get out ahead of certain coming financial woes. Thus, this man, named Elimelek, loaded up his small family (wife and two sons) and headed out to the outside country of Moab . . . For some peculiar reason, he believed that he would be better positioned to provide food and living in the desert than he would by remaining in Judah (the House of Bread by definition)! This man makes a foolish and hasty decision . . . and takes his family to the land of the Moabites . . . the clan that sprung up from the incestuous relationship between Lot and his oldest daughter back in Zoar following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The story of Ruth soon turns into a story of death and loses . . . and sad confusion. Not only does the man in the story die, but his sons also die . . . leaving their young widowed wives along with their mom . . . Naomi, the mother-in-law, the widow, the mother of the two dead sons . . . who is really confused now . . . without a bread-winner for herself . . . now with two extra mouths to feed. Naomi tries to do what seems normal: to set the young ladies free . . . and she tells the young ladies to return to their familial homes. To make things more difficult, Ruth, the young Moabite woman . . . this descendent of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his oldest daughter . . . who refused to go away . . . and now Naomi must learn to deal with this new, hard-wired, free-thinker, Ruth. Ruth insists upon going wherever Naomi goes . . . doing whatever Naomi does . . . and accepting any long-term commitments Naomi may have made in the past . . . or might elect to make in the future . . . whatever . . . Ruth was willing to tie her future to Naomi for no other reason than she believed that Naomi was worthy. She even vowed that Naomi’s family and friends . . . would automatically be her very own . . . no questions . . . no reservations!
This Moabite woman, Ruth, would live with those commitments . . . in spite of how she would be looked down upon . . . looked down upon in this harsh Jewish culture . . . for harsh reasons, such as:
She was a Moabite . . . She was a woman in a male-dominated society . . . She was a widow . . . a woman who had failed to produce a son when sons were so greatly prized . . . and she arrived in Jerusalem as an immigrant.
She did a rare thing: she remained tied to her mother-in-law . . . she braved thru the ugly things people said about her . . . and the cruel treatment she received . . . and she went out to work (glean) in the barley fields of her dead husband ‘s kin . . . Boaz.
Here is where the story gets exciting: as she focused on what she was supposed to do . . . some things started to happen:
1. Boaz, the richest guy around . . . heard of her goodness . . . from his people
2. Boaz saw how well Ruth took care of her mother-in-law and . . . in that he saw a woman worthy of honor
3. Boaz observed Ruth ‘s loyalty, diligence, determination, and perseverance
Naomi instructed Ruth to dress up and sleep at Boaz’ feet . . .
With the stage set, here are some facts of life demonstrated in Ruth’s difficult life: Ruth had a proper priority. Her priority was not to wait on someone to come along and redeem her . . . after her husband died leaving her without child, she made some decisions and got to work.
1. We ought to sort out our own priorities; don’t wait for other people to validate us
2. Loyalty and selflessness are always rewarded.
Point: Ruth cared for Naomi . . . and her faithfulness led her to Boaz
3. We ought to be confident about who we are.
Point: Ruth never allowed what others said about her . . . gossip and rudeness . . . to stop her from going out there and getting what she needed. She ignored the whispers . . . she ignored the ugly truth that she was being judged . . . being judged because she didn’t fit in . . . Yet, she had more important things to think about . . . she had no time for petty things or petty people.
4. Being diligent, preserving, and determined, Ruth worked harder than the others . . . and Boaz certainly noticed it too
5. Be a person of character . . . Boaz told Ruth . . . all of my townspeople know that you are a worthy woman . . . what could be more flattering than that?
You can’t control your reputation . . . because everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
You can’t control people’s impression of you, as that is more about how they view things than it is about how they view you . . . But you do have full and complete control of your own character
If God has a Boaz out there for your elevation . . . then strive to be someone that your Boaz can be proud of when you meet him or her . . . In fact, just Be Someone you yourself can be proud of!
Carry yourself with dignity
6. Stop chasing people . . . don’t allow yourself to be desperate . . . Boaz said of Ruth, “You didn’t go after younger men . . . rich or poor.” He liked and respected that she didn’t try to party up . . . this good woman just stayed focused on life
7. Always be quick to: Follow the Advice of the Wise. Ruth listened to Naomi . . . She trusted her . . . which turned out to be really good . . . She married Boaz and that changed everything! She found God’s plan . . . and she jumped in feet-first!
Truth: Ruth might not have been every man’s fantasy girl . . . but she was exactly what any decent man would look for in a wife . . . judging by her character, honor, and dedication.
Her society treated her like trash . . . but her character shined so brightly . . . that a good man . . . a man of integrity . . . saw what a gem she was . . . as she shined brilliantly . . . in that dark world.
Don’t sit there and wait on Boaz . . . Ruth didn’t. She lived a life of service, and The Lord rewarded her . . .
He is faithful; His timing is perfect.
Ruth found God’s Plan! How about this: Ruth is listed in Jesus’s genealogy . . . She was David’s grandmother!!!! God had selected a place for her . . . long before Lot got drunk and sinned with his daughter, and gave the family a bad name and reputation amongst humans!
TRUTH: Family influences and connections might help in many places . . . but the glorious truth is that each of us is permitted to approach God . . . individually . . . without others elevating or pre-qualifying us. Before Holy God, we are all sinners. But Jesus . . . Is Our Redeemer!!
The Story of Ruth on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW5WyJ1QNpM