Going the extra mile for someone can be difficult, even when life is going well. But when things are bad… or when you’re possibly in a bad mood yourself, going the extra mile to help someone can seem impossible. And, in Ruth, we see a shining example of someone willing to do the impossible.
During the time of the judges in Israel, the family of Elimelech and Naomi moved to Moab to escape a famine in Judah. While they were there, one of their sons married a Moabite woman named Ruth. After 10 years of marriage, and the earlier death of her father-in-law, Ruth’s husband also died.
Naomi, also widowed, decided to return to Judah with her husbandless daughters-in-law. On the way, Naomi told them both to return to their families’ homes, while she continued on alone to Judah. One daughter-in-law (Orpah) agreed, but Ruth adamantly refused to leave Naomi.
Ruth was surely grieving over the death of her own husband… but she didn’t return home to the comfort of her own family and people. Instead, she went with Naomi to a strange land with strange customs, providing comfort and help to her mother-in-law.
In our own times of personal distress, would we show others the same selfless kindness? Would you? Would I?
We can rely on God to provide for all our emotional and physical needs… so we can demonstrate His love and care to others.
I. Tears (ch.1)
Ruth promised to return with her mother-in-law, Naomi… and made Naomi’s God her God.
II. Toil (ch.2)
Ruth stayed with Naomi and helped provide food for both of them in Judah by gleaning in nearby fields.
III. Trust (ch.3)
It was in those fields that she eventually met – and married – Boaz, the landowner, a relative of Elimelech.
IV. Triumph (ch.4)
Boaz became Ruth’s “kinsman-redeemer”.
Boaz and Ruth later had a son, Obed, who would become the grandfather of King David.
The book begins with funerals, and ends with a wedding.
Naomi moves from bitterness to blessedness.
Ruth moves from loneliness to love.
What a picture of God’s grace!
It’s one of the most beautiful love stories ever recorded. It really happened. And you can read about it in the 4 chapters of the book of Ruth.