Lesson Five | Devotion #6: Ruth
There Is Hope
I would like to introduce Ruth to you. Ruth is a true “World Changer” and an incredible “Proverbs 31 Woman.” Gasp! What? How can Ruth be a “Proverbs 31 Woman?” She did not spend all day making linens and clothing for her husband and home. She was widowed and homeless. Ruth did not go and purchase a field; she was a foreigner who worked and toiled in other people’s fields all day snatching up the leftovers. She did not even have any kids standing up and praising her, for she had no kids. This is Ruth, hopeless Ruth, the cursed Moabite woman.
“No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever.” Deuteronomy 23:3
Here we see that if you were a Moabite that you could not enter into the congregation of God. Sounds pretty hopeless. On top of that, Ruth lost her father-in-law, her brother-in-law, and her husband. Now what? Her mother-in-law, Naomi who is deeply bitter and saddened, encourages Ruth to return to her own family and her gods, but Ruth chooses to go with her mother-in-law Naomi.
“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.’” Ruth 1:16,17
This would have been a pretty big deal in that culture for Ruth to follow Naomi. That is some serious commitment to her mother-in-law. But also, Ruth desired to follow after Naomi’s God, the God of Israel. The story continues, and this is the part for which you have probably been waiting. It is a love story, the beautiful romance! Ruth meets a wealthy landowner named Boaz who has allowed her to glean the leftover grain from his fields. She found favor in the eyes of Boaz because of what he had heard of her actions and character.
“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 3:11 NIV
She is a woman of noble character. She is a ‘Proverbs 31 Woman.’ She earned that title even though she was childless, homeless, and husbandless. No matter what our storms and circumstances are, we can choose to demonstrate noble character. As we read on, Boaz and Ruth do marry, which means that Naomi gains a son. Boaz and Ruth go on to have a son. This son is in the direct lineage of Jesus.
There is hope! And oh, by the way, if you are wondering about that curse, Isaiah 56:6-7 says, “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
We see that Ruth chose to join herself to the God of Israel. There was a turning to God. If you have had some troubles in this life, if you have lost a loved one, or have been living your life in such a manner that you feel there is no hope, you need to know this truth. There is hope, hope for all. Hope is the great world changer!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13.