Sunday, October 4, 2015

Women in the Life of Jesus: Ruth

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.  Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,  and Jesse begot David the king.
Matthew 1:1-5

Scripture where she is found: The Book of Ruth, Matthew 1:5

Her story:

Ruth is only one of two women to get her own book of the Bible.  For brevity's sake, I am just going to share a few key scriptures in her story and a summary.  If you have a Bible, you can read her story in full.

There are four chapters in the book of Ruth.  Her story begins not with her, but with her first husband's family moving to Moab, because there was a famine in Bethlehem.  It ends with her and her mother-in-law back in Bethlehem.  

Ruth 1:5-6 says, 

Now they took wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth.  And they dwelt there about ten years.

Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.

So both Ruth's husband and her brother died. So Ruth left Moab and went back to Bethlehem with Naomi, her mother-in-law.

There she meets a man, and they eventually get married.  She then gives birth to King David's grandfather, Obed.  And the account ends there.

My thoughts:

There are several key things that we need to take notice of in the life of Ruth.

First, she was a Gentile, a Gentile who is only one of five women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. I think that is significant because in Romans 11, it talks about Gentiles being the wild olive shoot grafted in. Ruth is representative of what God was going to do through Jesus.

Second, Ruth's life change when she decided to follow God. In Ruth 1:16, we see her statement of faith:

But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.

She was turning away of the life she was living, and going forward with God.  When you commit your life to God, things change.

Another significant thing about her story is how evident it was throughout the account that God was directing her steps.  We see scriptures that say things like, 

So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Now they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.-Ruth 1:22

Another scripture that demonstrates God working is this:

Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.-Ruth 2:3

And finally, the favor God gave her was amazing. She just happened to come to the field of Boaz, who had heard who she was, and he gives her amazing favor!

“You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”- Ruth 2:8-10

Her life was amazing. She is a wonderful picture of our life in Christ. As Believers in Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit directing our steps.  He is leading us into good things, and giving us favor wherever we go, as long as we continue to follow Him.

Ruth's story is symbolic of another love story, the love story of Jesus, who is our Kinsmen Redeemer.

To read a great Biblical fiction novel, based on her life, check out the book Ruth by Lois T. Henderson. (Note to the reader:  The religious practices of Moab were abhorrent, so the beginning of the novel might be difficult to get through.  I almost put it down because of that, but am glad that I didn't.)

To read more posts in this series, go here to Women in the Life of Jesus.

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