Wednesday, December 22, 2010

RUTH 3:16

     "When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, 'How did it go, my daughter?'  Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her."   (NIV)

Ruth and Naomi, from "Women in the BIble", painter unknown 
    Love. Selfless love. The kind in which each party places the other ahead of self.  The kind we all wish we could be a part of.  Ruth and her mother-in-law had that type of love.  Ruth was from Moab, a territory which was well-known for idol worship.  But when Ruth married one of Nami's sons, Namoi taught her about God.  And Ruth became a faithful follower of God.
     The name "Ruth: means "lovely friend",  and the name "Naomi" means "pleasant".  But, as the story unfolds, both Ruth and Naomi are recently widowed and destitute.  Naomi has made plans to return to her hometown of Bethlehem;  she hopes that she will find a relative there who will take her in.  As a widow, this is her only hope of survival.  Unsure of what will happen in Bethlehem, Naomi encourages Ruth to stay put, remarry, and be secure.  But Ruth insists on going with Naomi to Bethlehem;  she can't allow her friend to go alone with no one to take care of her.  This was a true friendship between these women;  each was putting the other's needs first.
Ruth in the Fields, painter Merle Hughes

 When the two women arrive in Bethlehem, they start to glean grain from a field.  In those days, it was the law to leave the corners of one's field unharvested.  These corners could then be gleaned by widows, orphans, and foreigners - all of whom would starve otherwise.  The women were gleaning the field when Boaz, the owner of the field, arrived on the scene.  He instructed his men to give them extra grain and to be kind to them.  As it turns out, Boaz was related to Naomi's deceased husband, but Boaz showed kindness to the women before he knew this.
     The book of Ruth has only four chapters.  It's an easy read.  And it's sort of like a "Cinderella story". Ruth would be "Cinderella" and Boaz would be "Prince Charming".  Boaz, a wealthy man, showed kindness to both women upon their arrival in Bethlehem.  Eventually, Boaz married Ruth, and they took Naomi in and cared for her the rest of her life.  It is recorded in the Bible that throughout her days Ruth was known for her love and kindness toward others.  That sounds like "happily ever after" to me...
     But, then, the writer tacked on a little list of geneology at the end of Ruth's story. And, we find out from this list of who-begat-whom that Ruth was the great-grandmother of king David, which makes her a direct ancestor of Jesus the Messiah.  There are only four women listed in the geneology of Jesus Christ.  Ruth is one of them. So, from an "unimportant" widow from a pagan country... came a great woman of God.

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