Lessons from Ruth

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All of last semester, I had the privilege of walking my youth through the book of Ruth. It is a short story, but in it are simple and profound truths. Diving deep into its contents you will find themes of working faith, repentance, kindness, covenant faithfulness, loyalty, redemption, modesty, and integrity. In each of these, you will find encouragement for your soul and blessing to live the life of a godly man or woman.

Last Wednesday, I gave my students some concluding truths from the book of Ruth that I would like to share with you today.

God Works in the Ordinary, So Be Ordinary.

There is nothing super incredible about the story or the characters in Ruth. No prophets and no signs or miracles. Just ordinary people doing ordinary things. Boaz was a farmer and a man of integrity, kindness, and generosity. Naomi was widow. Ruth was a godly young woman who loved God, loved her mother-in-law, and was a hard-worker at her daily job. Outside of these facts, they are pretty ordinary. Yet, as you read through the book and come to its final conclusion, you see that our faithful God was at work through the ordinary, mundane things of their lives to bring about an extraordinary ending.

The point? Be ordinary. You do not need to be the best or super at what you do. You don’t have to have the gifts and talents other have. Just do the normal routine of your life — love your wife, love your kids, work hard at your job, read your Bible, be actively involved in your church, be kind to all you meet, serve when you can, be generous when you can, etc. — and God will bless in His timing. There may be times that you feel bitter, like Naomi did (Ruth 1:20-21), but even when she did feel bitter, the author reminds us in 1:22-2:3 that God had not abandoned her, but put her right where He was going to bless.  And when those blessings come, you’ll shout for joy at God’s faithful hand in your ordinary life. “In all your [ordinary] ways acknowledge Him, and He will keep your path straight” (Prov 3:6).

Don’t Wait to do What is Right

When Ruth went to Boaz in ch. 3 to ask Boaz to redeem Naomi and herself, Boaz did not beat around the bush on obedience; he acted and he acted as soon as possible (which in his case was the following morning). You see in Deut 25 & Lev 25, God made a law to provide for family members who were in trouble, danger, or had a dire need. He did this through a family member called the “kinsman redeemer.” In the case of Ruth, Naomi’s husband had died and so had her sons. Therefore, Naomi needed a close relative to not only provide for her, but also give her a son to carry on the name of her husband. But because of her age, Naomi was unable to have children and therefore Ruth agreed to give her a son. But they would need to find the closest relative. Naomi picked out Boaz, but when approached with this prospect, Boaz knew there was a closer relative than he. Boaz desired to do his kinsman-redeemer duty, but he could not unless the closer relative decided to disobey God’s law. Well, as it happens, Boaz gets up the next morning, goes to town to talk with this closer relative. After getting an audience with the town elders, the closer relative denies obedience and so Boaz takes up his duty before God to redeem Naomi & Ruth.

All of this is one big example of how Boaz lived his life. Obedience to God was most important to him and he was going to do it right away. There was no waiting in his mind. He knew what was right before God and he did it. Interesting, that was even in reputation (Ruth 3:18).

We must be people who do the same. Too many times as Christians we drag our heels to do what is right, or we wait until someone is watching before we obey. This should not be. We need to rely upon the strength God has given us in the Holy Spirit and go & do with resolve and speed.

Life is Bigger Than You

 The last seven verses is the whole point of the story. When lost in the time of the judges (1:1), what happened to the king promise God made in Genesis 49:10 to Judah’s family? Ruth answers that question and shows us that all that transpired throughout this little 4-chapter book was bigger than the characters. Yes, we can scope out their lives and come away with incredible lessons on how to live a godly life, but if you skip the importance of 4:16-22, you will miss the whole point: your life is bigger than your situation.

Let me put it this way: no emigration to Moab, then no return of Ruth. No Ruth, then no marriage to Boaz. No marriage to Boaz, then no Obed. No Obed, then no Jesse. No Jesse, then no David. AND no David, then no Jesus. Without all the mundane events and happenings in the book of Ruth, you have no Savior. Ruth/Boaz/Naomi had no idea about this and that is the point. God is working out His plan of salvation throughout all the ordinary, daily tasks of life and it is our responsibility to not make ourselves bigger than we are. We need to remain humble, because life is not about us, and we need to remain trusting, because God only has a “PLAN A” and that plan will work itself out as He intends. That plan is much larger than my life and yours. The fact that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross and be raised to life to save us tells us that, Yes, we are loved, but we are a part of something much bigger.

Therefore, we need to live humble, knowing that He is in control. And we need to live trusting, knowing that He will work all things for His glory and for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).

Ruth is a great book. I encourage you to dig back deep into it. Here is a video to get you going:

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