The way we react to the circumstances in our lives reveals truths about our character in ways we don’t fully understand. I tend to get really angry when things are out of my control. Mostly it is that seething, under the surface, she is way too quiet kind of anger, but when life is really stressful, I can get mean angry. Short. Unkind. Snarky.
I don’t love admitting that, but it definitely reveals my struggle with control. Ruth did not have this problem. Her reactions reveal a strength of character worth both admiring and emulating.
So here’s the deal (Ruth 1: 1-10). Elimelech, Naomi and their two sons Mahlon and Kilion are from the town Bethlehem. Yeah, it’s the same place you’ve probably heard of with a
On the road, Naomi gets real (Ruth 1: 11-14
Three women. One choice.
Evidence that the decisions we make now can shape the future we will have. Ultimately what it comes down to—do we want to trust God and follow Him despite the unknowns? Or do we give
By Ruth 1:15-22 the
Naomi has fled home seeking comfort in the familiar. Basking in self-pity, she renames herself Mara (bitter one) and even her attempt to send her daughters-in-law home is a way for her to wallow in mental self-flagellation as she wastes away into obscurity. Her own private punishment.
Ruth is a radical. Though she is now the stranger in the strange land and her situation is as hopeless—or more so—than Naomi’s, she takes a RISK and TRUSTS the Hebrew God, a God she couldn’t have known for more than a few years at
Ruth followed Naomi out of faith, love and trust.
- Faith in God.
- Love her Naomi and her late husband.
- Trust that no matter what life throws at you, God will have your back.
Reaping what you Sow
I don’t believe in coincidence. Ruth made a tough decision that changed her entire life. Actually, it made her a legend. Ruth saw a problem, she came up with a solution, she sought the guidance of her authority, and she executed a well-thought-out, albeit risky plan.
Consider the harvesting process. Each of these steps is crucial in Ruth’s story (Ruth 2:1-13)
- Ripened standing grain is cut by men with hand sickles.
- Grain is bound by men and women into sheaves.
- Stalks of grain left behind were gathered, a process known as gleaning.
HOWEVER, the gleanings were specifically to be left for the poor and widowed (Leviticus 23:22).
Ruth knows the risk of working in a field, isolated and vulnerable, with so many working-class men. She’s a beautiful young widow–a foreigner seen as a second-class citizen. Unwanted advances and even rape would have been possible in this position. Yes, the gleanings were meant to help the widows and poor survive in a harsh patriarchal society, but men do not always follow the rules of God and so risk was inevitable. Fortunately, God was there with her every step of the way.
- The sheaves were transported to the threshing floor.
- Grain was loosened from the straw, a process called threshing, by the treading of cattle or toothed threshing
- The grain was tossed into the air with winnowing forks so that the wind, which was stronger in the afternoons, would blow away the straw and chaff leaving the grain at the winnower’s feet.
- The grain is sifted to remove foreign matter.
- The grain is bagged for transportation and storage.
Only with great risk can you achieve
Boaz’s reaction reveals his own character as well. Instead of taking advantage of this woman in this vulnerable, brazen position, he immediately begins thinking about how to protect her reputation and even how he can protect her. He’s humble, but strong. He’s a real man. In the novel Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck describes one character, Slim, in this way:
“A tall man stood in the doorway. He held a crushed Stetson hat under his arm while he combed his long, black, damp hair straight back. Like the others he wore blue jeans and a short denim jacket. When he had finished combing his hair he moved into the room, and he moved with a majesty achieved only by royalty and master craftsmen. […] There was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke. His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love. […] His hatchet face was ageless. He might have been thirty-five or fifty. His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought. His hands, large and lean, were as delicate in their action as those of a temple dancer (17-18).Steinbeck Of Mice and Men
To me, this can also describe Boaz, his character and his position in this narrative and with Ruth herself.
Which is then amplified in Ruth 4:1-12. The morning after Ruth’s radical proposal (a modern woman?), Boaz acts both honorably and without delay. Proving yet again that God is always in
Trust God and do the Next Thing.
Much in our lives seem out of our control, unfair or unclear. Ruth can relate, and yet instead of becoming bitter like Naomi, or angry like me, Ruth trusted God, even when the path led somewhere seemingly hopeless. As a result, she was blessed beyond her wildest dreams. How do we learn to trust God and walk in his path even when life is hard? We practice. We look for ways to trust and lean on God rather than ourselves. We remind
Great risk often yields great rewards, but also could result in greater pain, but it is the only way we will reap the rewards he intends for us. And boy does he plan