As we continue through our study of the lesser-known events in God’s big plan for salvation, we come across a woman and her story sandwiched between bigger stories that is often overlooked. This is the story of Ruth and her significance cannot be overlooked in the plan leading to Jesus Christ. Let’s explore just how important Ruth and her story is and the lessons we can learn from her life.
When we think about Ruth we may not draw a direct link in our minds from her to the genealogy of Jesus. In fact, we may not think of Jesus at all when thinking about Ruth but the similarities between the two are uncanny. In Matthew chapter 1 we have the genealogy of Jesus and Ruth is in the middle. Matthew 1:5 says, “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,”. It is interesting to note that Ruth is one of the few women mentioned in this genealogy.
The story of Ruth is one of God’s influence and sovereign plan being established. Here is a quick and brief summary of the story of Ruth from her perspective. Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi loses her husband and her two sons, one being Ruth’s husband. At the time, they were living in Moab because there was a famine in the land of Judah. Once food had come back to Judah, Naomi set out towards Judah but Ruth and her other daughter-in-law, Orpah, followed. Naomi told them to return to Moab, Orpah did, but Ruth stayed with her. While in Judah, a man named Boaz married Ruth and was able to support their family and carry on the family lineage.
Although it is a brief summary, this is the story of Ruth. When discussing this story, many times we point to Boaz and focus on him being the “guardian-Redeemer” of the family. Although that is a good discussion, I want to focus more on Ruth and her influence on God’s big plan. Certainly Boaz was a key figure for God’s plan otherwise the lineage might not have carried on. However, it was Ruth who made the decisive decision to stay with her mother-in-law in going back to Judah. If she had went back to Moab, who knows what would have happened. Let’s look at this decision closer.
In Ruth 1:8-18 we see the faith of Ruth:
“Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons—would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her. “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”
Ruth’s faith and dedication in this instance is much like God’s dedication and love towards us. Deuteronomy 31:8 tells us, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” God never leaves us, it is us who leaves Him. In our story, Naomi wanted Ruth to go back home, but Ruth shows her faith by not returning home. She left her home she had always known and everyone she loved so she could be with Naomi because she loved her that much. How powerful it is that God loves us the same and He will never leave us.
In conclusion, there are many lessons we can learn from Ruth. One of the most important we can learn is faith holds relationships together. Ruth was not going to leave Naomi, just like God will never leave us. We must always be careful, or we will fall away from God.