“But Ruth replied, “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 even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.” Ruth 1 :16-18 NIV
It amazes me that while in a moment of deep pain and loss for Ruth that she was able to put aside what was likely one of the hardest moments of her life to do what she knew was the honourable thing. This was not a simple thing. Her decision to leave behind a life that she knew as a widow into a land she did not know brought with it great risk and sacrifice. All of the longings and dreams that she had longed to see fulfilled in her life, she was laying down to leave Moab and go with Naomi. I am sure many questions ran through her mind. What is this unknown land like? Is the famine over that brought them here in the first place? What if I can’t provide for Naomi? If Ruth was like any of us, the questions running through her mind would have possibly left her wrestling with a sense of anxiety as she worked through what might be.
The incredible thing about this though is that, while she may have had questions, while she was leaving behind all she knew and was entering into a season of radical change, while in grief as a woman who just buried her husband, she refused to allow her pain to stop her from doing what was right. Ruth was truly a woman of character. A rare and precious woman who loved outside of the realm of her own need to survive. She did not let her pain stop her but pushed through and because she did, she was positioned for things she never could have imagined.
Ruth reminds me, that I can do right even when the pain is real. I can choose to love and walk into the unknown season of radical change and in doing so position myself for the future God has for me.
As these two women left Moab and headed into their unknown season I see the wonderful character of a broken woman being revealed. Ruth could have come up with all kinds of reasons why it would be better for her to stay in Moab. Actually, she did not need to come up with any, Naomi gave her a way out, but Ruth refused the way out. Her commitment to Naomi led Ruth’s life and not her fear of what might be. Ruth reminds me that my commitment to Christ should be what leads me in every season and not my fear of what might be.
Fear really is a liar and if Ruth had allowed fear to direct her life instead of her commitment, she would not be the woman we see listed in the line of our Saviour Jesus Christ. It truly is amazing what God does with a heart that decides to be committed and does not let fear lead their lives. If she had given into fear, the story would be so different and the blessings that waited for her would not have become hers. What do I miss out on that God has waiting for me when I allow fear to lead my story rather than my commitment to a faithful God?
When they arrived in their new home, Ruth is sent off into the field to begin to work and bring home provision for herself and Naomi. We immediately begin to see the hand of God provide for her. She finds favour in the field and is told to stay in the field she was in and there would be protection for her in that field. I find this part so rich. What if Ruth had not been satisfied with the provision she found in that place? What if she had decided to go outside of the place of promised protection and sought provision elsewhere? Ruth could not expect for Boaz and his men to protect her when she was in another man’s field. The protection was conditional to the field that she was in. That was where she had the favour.
There is so much here. Sometimes, we become dissatisfied with the field God has directed us to, we begin to look for other options and ignore His leading. This positions our heart to walk out from under the promise of protection and makes us a target for the enemy. Ruth refused to leave the field where she found favour. We should too. This field will reveal just how much God has led our lives when we stay where He has positioned us.
As we know, Ruth shares the news of favour with Naomi and once she does God reveals how He has led them to the field of their kinsmen redeemer. What were the chances? Pretty low in the natural. One Hundred percent when God is directing. These poor broken widows who left for the unknown season of radical change were led every step by a God who loved them immensely. He did not lead them to a field where they would die but rather a field that would position them for the incredible plan of God for their lives. What an incredible God.
Ruth follows Naomi’s instructions to go that night and lay herself at the feet of Boaz where she would ask him to spread his wings of protection over her because he was her kinsmen redeemer. Boaz immediately speaks to Ruth’s faithfulness and promises to fulfill what she has asked of him. This is such a reminder that God notices faithfulness too. He responds to and rewards the heart that is faithful. It really does matter and it is something we should desire to be in our relationship with God.
Ruth was not someone many would consider in the books of great people, but she was a hero of the faith. She trusted a God she did not yet know intimately, to go with a woman who was not her own people, into a land she did not know, to sacrifice her own future for someone else. She just had no idea that this God she was about to discover would look upon that kind of faith and would speak over her life that this is the kind of woman I will use to birth kings through her line. She is faithful and has the attention of heaven.
Once a widowed Moabite, to a great grandmother of a king called a man after God’s own heart. Maybe, just maybe our precious Ruth had a profound influence on the man we have come to know as David. We may never truly know this side of eternity just how much her faithfulness changed generations and impacted nations. One woman who followed a big God.