I just recently read the book of Ruth and wanted to share some things I learned from it. The more I read this book the more I appreciate the heartache and struggle of this great little book.
Ruth is the story of a Moabite woman who lived during the time of the judges. Just think for a moment about the significance of this fact. Not only is Ruth’s story one of only two books in the entire Bible named after a woman. It is also about a woman who was not even Jewish. Esther (the other one) is about a Jewish woman who married a Gentile and rose to prominence to save the people of God. Ruth is a story of a Gentile woman who married a Jew to rise to prominence and become the ancestor of the greatest Jew who ever lived.
The story begins with a famine in the land and a man of Bethlehem travels to the country of Moab. His small family leaves the land of his family and moves to an area where there is a better chance of success. Overcoming is woven into every aspect of the book.
Before tragedy strikes and overcoming is necessary again. Naomi’s husband dies and within a short while her two sons die leaving her a widow with two daughters-in-law’s. I can understand why Naomi would no longer say her name is “Naomi” which means “pleasant” but “Mara” meaning “bitter.” It would be hard to face that much heartache and loss and not be a little bitter.
It becomes apparent to Naomi that she cannot provide for her daughters-in-law’s and tries to send these girls home to their families. Orpah leaves amid tears and sorrow and returns home but not Ruth. Her name means “friendship” and she proved to be a great friend for Naomi, refusing to leave her alone.
Perhaps the most powerful words of love and friendship are expressed by Ruth to her mother-in-law. She says, “where you go I will go, where you lodge I will lodge, your people will be my people, your God my God, where you die I will die and there I will be buried” (Ruth 1:16-17, ESV).
These two great overcomers move back to Bethlehem and before long Ruth is working hard to provide for them both. By the providence of God, she meets Boaz who is her kinsman-redeemer, and he helps her overcome again. She goes from gleaning in someone else’s field to owning that very field.
Ruth is a powerful story of a great woman who overcomes hardship, sorrow, and loss. Someone who went from nothing to become a significant person in the life of God’s people. What began with a funeral ends with a wedding. What began with sorrow and loss ends with great joy and the birth of a son.
She began this journey as an outsider, a Moabite, and it ends with her being the great grandmother of the greatest king of Israel and a descendant of Jesus Christ himself. Ruth is a story of just how much God can do with someone who is willing to trust Him and overcome. What could He do in your life? Why not determine today to be an overcomer like Ruth?