Monday, September 20, 2010

Mental Vitamins: Twelve Extraordinary Women Series - Ruth

Continuing with the Twelve Extraordinary Women Series - this week we will look at the life of Ruth.

Ruth was the daughter-in-law of Naomi, both of which were widows, had no children and were impoverished. They lived during the great famine where food and water were scarce, and a widow with no family in a time of famine had very little hope for survival. Naomi began to believe that she was being punished for living in a pagan culture and decided to re-kindle her faith and move back to her hometown of Bethlehem because she had heard the drought had ended there. Ruth and Naomi were very close and Ruth decided to go with Naomi and care for her.

Once there, Ruth had no choice but to work in the fields gathering whatever the harvesters had left behind which was usually a very meager amount. It was usually not much to live on, but it was something. There was no government aid or food stamps in those days. You had to work for your food, no matter what your circumstances. (2 Thessalonians 3:10) The field she was gathering from belonged to Boaz - a relative by marriage and he began to show her kindness and generosity by giving her water and extra grain and ultimately looking after her safety and well-being. Naomi realized the family relation and saw the hand of God in the blessing.

MacArthur brings our attention to the fact that Boaz was a living illustration of how God takes care of His people. He is our Redeemer, he rescues us from evil and death and gives us hope for our future. It wasn't happenstance that Ruth stumbled upon Boaz's was orchestrated by God Himself.

It becomes clear that Boaz has a romantic interest in Ruth and in the days of arranged marriages this would pose as a challenged relationship. Ruth had no male family member in her life to make any sort of marriage arrangement and it was forbidden for a woman to approach the man about marriage. However, with circumstances being how they were, Naomi encouraged Ruth to propose to Boaz. Very unconventional even in today's standards. Boaz and Ruth were married and eventually, Ruth would become David's great-grandmother - the nation's first great king.

Ruth is a symbol of every believer - redeemed, brought into a position of great favor, awarded with riches and privilege, loved and adored by the Redeemer with the profoundest affection. That is why the extraordinary story of her redemption ought to make every believer's heart swell with thankfulness and joy because the Lord has redeemed us from our sin and we will enjoy eternity by His side.

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