Being a fierce woman for Jesus in the world today is not easy but it was much harder for many women in the Bible, like Ruth. Ruth and Naomi are a mother-daughter duo that is often looked over. However, in those few pages of the Bible, an amazing story of strength, honor, courage, and love unfolds.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ~ Hellen Keller
Two Fierce Women
Ruth and Naomi face a series of losses in such a short time. Naomi’s husband and two sons die, including Ruth’s husband. Leaving Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah (Naomi’s daughter-in-law) to fend for themselves. Naomi told her daughters-in-law to turn around. Orpah decided to walk away from Naomi and Ruth leaving the two to survive on their own in a world where women were not seen as equals. Ruth stayed with her mother-in-law even though she could have easily turned around and made it easier for herself. Ruth chose to show loyalty, honor, and respect for her mother-in-law over an easier life.
The Dark Days
After so much loss Naomi was bitter. Who wouldn’t be? Naomi and Ruth are authentic people who keep it real. Do you keep it real or do you stay true to the always dependable standby “I’m good and busy,” or “I’m okay?”
“When things fall apart in your life sometimes it’s best to go home.” ~ Pastor Rick Cochran, Venture Church
The harvest is on the horizon in many ways in the story of Ruth and Naomi. It’s always darkest before the sunrise. Are you facing a time of bitterness? Have you been facing struggles or a hard time? Facing lemons in life is never fun but often through those times God forms us and changes our hearts to be better used for Him. Often I find myself in a waiting period. Those are not so fun either but God is never late. God knows what we need far better than we do ourselves. He knows when we need to look inside ourselves and check our hearts.
“When things seem to be at their worst it is a mistake to recluse into isolation.”
Ruth’s one prayer was to find favor with someone. And God took His time to answer.
Ruth is a hard worker. Ruth asked for the blessing of Naomi to go to the field and work.
Ruth worked in a field belonging to Boaz, a relative of Naomi, to provide food for Naomi and herself. Boaz was highly respected in the community. Boaz shows favor and protection to Ruth by allowing her to work in his field. Boaz is a man of prayer. He blesses those around him, including Ruth in Ruth 2:12.
Ruth’s beauty stops Boaz in his tracks. And no, I’m not talking about her physical beauty. Almost immediately he recognizes her character, humility, and honor. Can we be real for a second? I don’t know about you but when I have been working outside I look less than attractive. I look and smell pretty gross. But even when Ruth was at her worse Boaz saw her beauty just how God sees our beauty in our worse moments.
Just as God does for us Boaz gives her grace. He invites her to sit beside him at the table. He quenches her hunger and thirst so much so that she took leftovers home. He showed abundant generosity and grace just as Jesus shows us. What happens if we lose sight of that? What happens if our pride blinds us?
Boaz did his homework. He researched Ruth to find out anything he could about this captivating and humble woman. He used the Facebook of his day (aka word of mouth).
Ruth finds favor with Boaz. Her one prayer to God was answered through Boaz. It didn’t happen overnight though. It took time and some matchmaking by Naomi.
Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor
“One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home[a] for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”
- Wash Yourself
- Anoint Yourself
- Change Your Clothes
Ruth and Boaz are very interested in each other romantically at this point but there is still one hurdle for the new couple. This last hurdle required patience from both Ruth and Boaz.
“When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 In the middle of the night, something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!
9 “Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer[a] of our family.”
10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character.”
Ruth and Boaz stayed true to God’s law and remained pure. Boaz even sent Ruth home early so that there would be no gossip attached to their relationship.
Boaz was a man of the law. He was going to do things the right way. Boaz was not the first in line for Ruth’s hand. There was another suitor in front of him. He went to the other man and discussed the issue at hand; Did he really want all the responsibility that came with taking Ruth as his bride? Boaz assured him that if not he was prepared to step in without missing a beat.
“I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you[a] will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”
“I will redeem it,” he said.
5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[b] dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”
6 At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”
7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)
8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but my patience level is not where it needs to be most of the time. I’ll be authentic and own it. How about you? How is your patience? Do you have patience like Ruth and Naomi? Ruth was a new believer but her faith never wavered. Is your faith tested during times of waiting?
Boaz declared that he was going to take Ruth to be his bride. Shortly after their wedding, they were blessed with a son, Obed.
“He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” Ruth 4:15
Lessons from Ruth:
- Work Ethic
Ruth was a woman of great faith. An extraordinary example of a Proverbs 31 woman.
This world has a shortage of Ruths and desperately needs her character and loyalty. Be a Ruth in today’s world.