I've spent the past couple days in the Book of Ruth. It's a short little thing. Only four chapters long. But, oh, the many, many lessons one can take away from this tale!
First, for those not too familiar with it, let me briefly recap.
Naomi had a husband and two sons. Because of famine, they moved away from home to Moab. There the two sons found wives. But tragedy soon struck. First the husband died, then the two sons. After some time Naomi decides to return to her homeland. Both daughters-in-law want to go with her, but she wants them to stay with their father's and find new husbands. Orpah does, but Ruth refuses. She insists on going with Naomi. Back in Bethlehem, one of Naomi's relatives named Boaz eventually becomes Ruth's new husband. They have a son named Obed who has a son named Jesse who has a son named David who became a King!
Here are some of the nuggets I find in this story:
1. God has a plan. While we don't always understand why bad things happen, I do firmly believe God is fully aware and fully in control. Death is a part of life. If Naomi's husband hadn't died...if Ruth's husband hadn't died...King David was born because those men died.
2. Naomi must have been an amazing mother-in-law! Think about it. Both of her daughters-in-law were willing to leave their homeland, leave their families, leave their friends, to go with Naomi. They loved her. They honored her. And Ruth refused to be parted from her. May I be that kind of mother-in-law someday!
3. Naomi shared the truth of God with her daughters-in-law. In Ruth 1:16, Ruth tells Naomi, "Your God will be my God." Ruth didn't grow up knowing the One True God. Her people had idols and man-made gods. But obviously Naomi not only taught her new daughters about God, but she lived it to the point that Ruth wanted what Naomi had. That is what every true believer is called to do. Live it!
4. Boaz was quite a man! First, he allowed a stranger to freely walk his fields picking up grain. Later he learned who she was and gave instructions for his field workers to leave a little extra for her. His words to Ruth in Ruth 2:12 are truly beautiful! "May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge." I'm thinking the man was a romantic, too. When he found Ruth sleeping at his feet, he set out to make her his wife. Ahhh!
5. Finally, the "kinsman redeemer" is a real reminder of what Jesus--a descendant of Ruth and Boaz!--would do for us. Jesus is our kinsman redeemer! He paid our debt. Our sin debt. You have sinned. I have sinned. We all have sinned. God hates sin. He punishes sinners. But when Jesus died on the cross, He basically said, "I will be your kinsman redeemer. You are my beloved and I want to spare you this punishment."
If you haven't read the Book of Ruth in a while, do! It's a really wonderful story with a lot of great truths packed into it. I'd love to hear your take on it.