The book of Ruth has both captivated and significantly challenged me over the years in many ways. Her bravery, faith, and obedience have encouraged me to be a better follower of Christ. Her name is Ruth, and for someone so new to the faith in the book of her namesake, she shows us a map for our own journey that is uniquely remarkable.
One of the things I adore most about her story is that it is subtle, much like our own. She doesn't have a great position or come from a famous, godly family. She's a widow from an enemy nation with no prospects. Yet, God moves so mightily in her story and uses it to encourage millions.
If you read the book, and I hope you do, you'll be able to see the fingerprints of God all over her life. You won't see God's voice thunder down like in other stories, or see miraculous happenings that change everything. What you do see is her life being gradually led by a God who she believed in, and at the end, you can look back and see how He orchestrated natural events for His divine glory.
There are many things we could learn from her story but five, in particular, are worth mentioning.
Book Of Ruth Lesson 1:
Don't Let the Past Hold You Back
At the beginning of the book Ruth is living in her home nation of Moab; a place and people that the Israelites frowned down upon. On top of that, she has lost her husband and is now living with her widowed mother-in-law. She also lost her husband without a child, some believing she may have barren.
The pain Ruth must have been in was immense. As she embarked on her first journey to Israel, she must have been nervous. Ruth had so many reasons to shrink into a shell and live in obscurity. But she didn't. Ruth didn't allow her past to hold her back but believed there was life still to be lived and move forward in that confidence.
You have a purpose regardless of what lies behind you. Although your confidence might be wavering, your calling does not.
Book Of Ruth Lesson 2:
Be Full of Faith
Ruth showed remarkable faith for such a young believer. Faith that there was still a purpose for her ahead. Faith to believe that God was who He said He was. And faith to believe that God would provide for her and Naomi.
If you're in an unsure place, start with faith. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as, "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
You might not be able to see what God is doing, but trust that He is moving.
Book Of Ruth Lesson 3:
Value Great Character
Character is who you are when nobody’s watching. Ruth had no idea her story would be showcased for millions to read and yet showed incredible character in the obscurity.
She went above and beyond in showing respect and honor to her bitter mother-in-law. She worked hard in the field to provide food for her and Naomi. Ruth proved to be a woman of integrity with Boaz. Everything she did represented a woman of great character and God honored her.
Be a woman of character. Cut the gossip in the name of a prayer request. Share with your husband the shopping addiction you find yourself in. Stop relying on food to make you feel better. Be the woman you know God created you to be and Jesus died so you could embrace.
Book Of Ruth Lesson 4:
Believe Redemption is Possible
Against all odds redemption is always possible. Ruth had no reason to believe she had earned anything but believed God was everything she needed. Ruth believed God would provide and in that place of faith God did a miraculous work to redeem Ruth.
He took a poor, hurting outcast and healed her, provided for her, and brought her a great love with Boaz.
Redemption is possible in your life. No matter where you come from or what you’ve been through, God has a plan for you that far surpasses all of that.
Book Of Ruth Lesson 5:
Leave a Legacy
Perhaps one of the best parts of Ruth's story is the legacy God established through her. God brought her and Boaz together and they conceived a child. That child would be in the lineage of Jesus, the Savior of the world. Ruth, a Moabite, was made part of the lineage of Christ.
If you commit your life to God and your calling is firm in Him, there is no limit to what God can do through you. Leave a legacy to your family and those all around you–a legacy of faith.
It wasn’t an easy life for Ruth. She grew up in a wicked nation. She suffered the loss of her husband. She followed Naomi to a foreign land and lived in poverty. All very difficult circumstances to say the least. However, as I pointed out at the beginning of this article, we can see God's fingerprints all over Ruth’s story and there is no doubt He was at work the entire time. It was a long and difficult journey, but it ended with redemption. Ruth started out empty, but she ended full!
No matter what your season may be, remember that God is at work in your life. He is weaving a beautiful tapestry; it’s not finished, but it is in progress. Know that God is gracious, good, and that He loves you. If you find yourself discouraged on this journey, take another look at the life of Ruth and remember that God works for the good of His people.
Brittany Rust is a writer, speaker, and has the privilege of serving on staff at Red Rocks Church in Denver, CO. She and her husband Ryan make their home in the Rocky Mountains, pursuing outdoor adventures, great food, and memorable stories together. Her website brittanyrust.com aims to supply encouraging resources for the world-wearied believer.
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