The book of Ruth has many subtexts in it – some describe it as a love story; some see it as an illustration of what happens when we leave Bethlehem (which means “House of Bread) – like Naomi (which means “pleasant”), God deals with us severely and we return as Mara (which means “bitter”); some see it as a pre-Christ example of being redeemed by our kinsman-redeemer.

I read the entire book in one sitting. The underlying theme I read today was one of the blessings that follow those who are faithful to do the right thing.

Ruth could have gone back home to her family in Moab, but she chose to honor her dead husband and follow her beloved mother-in-law to a strange land. Once there, she willingly served her mother-in-law. Scripture says she went into the field from early morning until dusk, then threshed all she had picked into wheat. She did this for many months. When Boaz found her in his fields the first day, he treated her kindly and instructed his servants to treat her well. When Naomi told Ruth to go to Boaz as their family (kinsman) redeemer, she did so. When Boaz found Ruth at the foot of his bed, he treated her honorably that night and made a point of sending grain home with her to Naomi. Then Boaz did the right thing by first going to a family member closer than he to ask if this man wanted to become the kinsman-redeemer. When he would not, Boaz married Ruth, she gave birth to a son and Mara (Naomi) was no longer bitter, but was blessed.

The journey from Moab to Bethlehem could not have been easy for either Ruth or Naomi. Finding herself in a strange city and venturing out to gather grain could not have been easy for Ruth. I imagine that following her mother-in-law’s instructions to go to Boaz at night held its share of fearful consequences for Ruth. Perhaps even marrying Boaz was an act of obedience in the midst of fear. He had treated her honorably, but one could hardly say she knew him.

Life had not treated Ruth kindly. But she continued to do the right things and God showed Himself to be faithful to her.

Sometimes we’re in a time in our life where things are not easy. God does not always seem to be near and bad things happen to good people. But Ruth showed herself to be a woman of character by continuing to do the right thing in the midst of it all. And God honored her faithfulness. He provided a kinsman-redeemer, someone to care for her. He provided a family for her. He gave her a son, Obed, and he gave her a lasting legacy. Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David. That would be King David, a man after God’s own heart.

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