Ruth: sweet blessing in times of bitterness…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Ruth 1:1-4:22

Focus: Ruth 1:20-21; 4:13-17

The story of Ruth is a beautiful story of commitment and love. The story of Ruth follows the life of two women, Naomi and Ruth. Naomi, an Israelite, leaves her home during a period of famine. In her time away, her two sons marry the native women, one of whom is Ruth. In a sad series of events, Naomi’s husband and her sons pass away, leaving Naomi with her two daughter-in-laws. In her sorrow, Naomi decides to return home to Bethlehem and urges her daughter-in-laws to return to their paternal homes so that they might be adequately cared for. Orpah, one daughter-in-law, reluctantly sees her reasoning and departs home; whereas Ruth refuses to leave her mother-in-law and commits herself to her and her future.

Upon returning to her hometown of Bethlehem, Naomi was greeted by her old friends, but in her distress “changed” her name to Mara (names derived from this name: Mary, Marie, Maria, etc.) for her life was bitter. As the story progresses, one can imagine that life for Naomi was difficult, especially as Ruth was gleaning the fields for unharvested grain to feed Naomi and herself. Regardless of the situation, Ruth was determined to stay true to her commitment to Naomi. In the sequence of events, Naomi and Ruth found themselves blessed by a relative, Boaz. In due course, Boaz would take Ruth as his wife and, without realising, play significant course in Israel’s history (but that’s for another time).

From their union, Ruth gave birth to a son, a son that became a sweet taste in Naomi’s mouth. From her bitter past, through the love and commitment of Ruth, she was given a new lease in life. There are numerous stories where the dedication, commitment and love of one person changed the fortunes of another. It was no amazing miracle, it was no wondrous provision of wealth, rather it was a life that is given to another that made all the difference. Before we take this too far, we cannot forget the sovereignty of God in this entire situation, for it He ultimately who blessed Ruth’s commitment and love in the resulting outcome.

The greatest blessings in life are often not the material possessions, the success… rather, it is the relationships which make the most significant different in our lives. One of God’s greatest designs was our capacity for relationship, for love of those around us. It is the investment of time and energy into these relationships which we treasure, outside our primary relationship with the God Almighty, our love, commitment and dedication to others plays a critical role in life.

Next Reading: 1 Chronicles 1:1-3:24