Grain reading: Ruth 3:1-5
I LOVE the story of Ruth. God uses her in Jesus’ family tree in the generation right after Rahab. She was ‘grafted in’ to the family of God.
Ruth was from the country of Moab. She met and married into the family of Naomi. Naomi’s family was running away from a famine in Israel. We aren’t told how many other people did this very same thing but the family of Naomi would be forever changed.
I say ‘Naomi’s family’ because she is the only one from her original group to survive this trip. Naomi’s husband was Elimelech. They had two sons who came of marriage age while in the country of Moab. Their names were Mahlon and Chilion. Ruth was the wife of Mahlon and Orpah was the wife of Chilion. This family lived in Moab for ten years. During that ten years ALL the men in her family died. Naomi’s original family of four was reduced to one.
Naomi was not alone though because she had two daughters-in-law. After the death of Naomi’s sons, she was unable to care for herself and her daughters-in-law. She decided it was time to go home. She had nothing to offer these women so she released them back to their families. Both originally wanted to stay with her but Naomi was able to convince Orpah that she would be better off going home.
Ruth would not leave Naomi’s side. “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). Ruth meant EVERY WORD of this!
Ruth returned with Naomi to Bethlehem where they lived in the home Naomi had left from. Their life as widows was not easy. They had Elimelech’s property but no income. Ruth went to the fields to pick up whatever she could from what was left by those harvesting the grain. This she brought home to Naomi and it was their food.
I have no doubt that Naomi’s heart hurt for Ruth. Ruth had given up everything to be with Naomi. Ruth needs a future and Naomi is going to see to it. She uses the right of redemption to save Ruth. Through Boaz, a cousin of Elimelech, Ruth will be redeemed from widowhood. She will become the mother of Obed; the grandmother of Jesse who is ‘the stump’ that Jesus will spring from.
Before this could happen though God had to prepare the scene.
- Mahlon moves to Moab
- Mahlon meets and marries Ruth
- Mahlon dies leaving Ruth a widow
- Naomi decides to return to Israel
- Ruth commits to go with her
- Naomi accepts Ruth’s devotion
- Ruth and Naomi are hungry
- Ruth decides to glean in the fields
- Ruth happens upon Boaz’s field
- Boaz notices and favors Ruth
- Naomi recognizes the opportunity of redemption for Ruth
- Naomi instructs Ruth in what she must do for this process
- Ruth obeys Naomi to the letter
- Boaz accepts Ruth’s offer but has to ask another first
- The one with first right relinquishes his right
- Boaz marries Ruth
ANY break in this chain and a different outcome would have taken place. Ruth would have missed out on joining the line of promise. But God didn’t let anything go untended. He saw to every detail, including leading Ruth to the right field. She could have gleaned anywhere but she wound up under the watchful eye of the man who would change her life.
I LOVE that God used a woman who hadn’t known Him most of her life. One who was a Gentile. She was grafted in and became part of the roots of our Lord and Savior. Her presence in king David’s lineage also served him while he was running from Saul. His parents were safe in Moab because they were connected by blood to this nation.
Father God, thank You for including a Gentile in Jesus’ family tree. Ruth was from a people who were enemies to Israel but her love for Naomi bridged that gap. YOU put these two women together. YOU highlighted Ruth’s character by the circumstances in her life. YOU gave her a place to shine and then YOU exalted her in the eyes of Boaz.
I wonder if Boaz’s willingness to take a wife not of Israel was in part because his mother had also been ‘grafted in’ to the family of God. Boaz knew first-hand the difference You can make in a life. Did Rahab and Naomi meet? Was Ruth as devoted to Rahab as she was to Naomi? I have NO DOUBT that Naomi came to live with Ruth and Boaz after they were married. What a story of redemption!!!
Thank You for redeeming me too. My story isn’t as complicated as Ruth’s was but it is as special. YOU made it special. Special because You grafted me into Your family. That’s enough for me. To be ANY PART of the story You are writing.