• Ruth was in a season and after 10 years that season ended. I believe that during this 10 year period she was learning about Yahweh from her Mother-in-Law, Naomi. She was developing in her character, growing in her faith and ultimately she was being prepared for the change in season.
• When it was time, Ruth chose the harder path. She did not know what would lie ahead by choosing to go to Bethlehem. She chose loyalty, commitment and faith over familiarity and comfort. Ruth’s character would always cause her to take the harder path b/c that is the way of the Lord. I suspect Orpah was “flighty” and did not have the depth of character that Ruth did. She was probably influenced by Ruth even when she did attempt to stay with Naomi. But soon her heart revealed itself. When the going got tough, she got going. She still had Naomi’s blessing in her decision to go back to Moab. Naomi says to both women, “The Lord grant that you may find home and rest, each in the house of her husband!” Orpah’s choice to take the easier route did not mean she would be forsaken, but she would not receive the blessing that Ruth would receive by taking the harder way.
• Ruth was following God’s lead, even if it meant her heart’s desire for a spouse would not be met. Back then a spouse represented provision, protection and security. She was forsaking her own security for faith, hope and love. I suspect Orpah placed her own needs and desires before the path of Yahweh. I suspect that Naomi’s declaration that she had no sons to offer them for marriage really hit home with her. I suspect she wanted a husband and her own gods more than she wanted Yahweh.
• When Naomi saw Ruth was determined on her path she stopped speaking against her. Our faith can shut the mouths of those opposing us. When we are determined, who can stop us?
• Ruth volunteers to glean the fields for her and Naomi. She takes the responsibility of providing for them. She selflessly offers her youth and strength to bless her mother-in-law. She risked being molested and sexually abused. She risked her own body so that she could save another. She faced the prejudice of being a foreigner head on. She was courageous and bold to choose the path she chose.
• Ruth was obedient and submissive to authority even when instructions were unusual. She listened to Naomi when she instructed her to lay at Boaz’ feet.
• Ruth chose character over appearance. Boaz commends her for choosing him saying “Blessed be you of the Lord my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich”.
• Boaz was a man of integrity, kindness, honor and character and he esteems Ruth as being the same. “…for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of strength (worth, bravery, capability)” he tells her! He had already been asking around about her to find out her character. He gives her extra food to bring home. He looks into the other closer kin before agreeing to marry her. He does not take advantage of her sexually when she is laying at his feet and instead tells her to leave him before anyone can see her to protect her reputation. He was true to his word and set about working on her behalf, immediately meeting with the other kinsman. This man’s heart is so on point! It is the Father’s heart.
• Boaz followed the Spirit of the Father’s heart and not religion. The reason the other kinsman did not want to marry Ruth was b/c she was a Moabite (and he would lose his inheritance). But Boaz saw beyond her past, and into her true identity. Religion said he would lose his inheritance, but the Spirit said he would receive an eternal inheritance, greater than he could ever imagine!
• It didn’t take long for Boaz and Ruth to become acquainted with one another. They met at the beginning of the harvest season and were wed by the end of it. Their interactions and relationship were based on character, maturity and friendship. They were not distracted by flimsy characteristics such as age, appearance, or money. Instead, they were joined by selflessness, honor, and respect. This is one healthy couple! I am learning that healthy people attract healthy people. I think this is a great example of how Ruth being a healthy woman emotionally drew an equally healthy man to her (and repelled the unhealthy man, the closer relative).
Ruth’s story appeals to me b/c she had a “shady” background. She came from a culture that worshipped false gods. A culture that called right wrong and wrong right. Who knows how dysfunctional and unhealthy her family was? Who knows if she was the first in her family to worship Yahweh? But she saw an opportunity for something better than what she had been raised in. She learned something better being with Naomi those 10 years and she refused to let it go when given the chance. Her past did not define her. In fact, it prepared her for her future. She did not look back, but pushed forward to the destiny she felt was hers. She couldn’t have fathomed that she would birth kings from her womb. The King of Kings was one of her descendants! She couldn’t have fathomed her faith and character and humility would affect generations to come. She risked everything and gained so much more in return. Oh to be like Ruth!!! This woman had faced such loss and tragedy. The woman she looked up to as a spiritual leader was spiritually depleted. She herself was grieving, but she stepped up to the plate and was regarded as “greater than 7 sons” in a culture that exalted men and oppressed women! In a culture that turned down their noses at gentiles, she, a foreigner, was embraced b/c of her integrity and heart.
The church has typically watered down Boaz to be a Prince Charming of sorts. “Kinsman redeemer” is what women call him and paint this glamorous picture of a knight in shining armor. But Boaz was so much more than that. He was full of character and honor and selflessness and integrity! And he married a woman of the same stature. I honor this couple for tapping into something that many who are a part of the new covenant have not functioned in. I honor them, for being a healthy man and a healthy woman following destiny, being God’s best and choosing God’s Best.