I was raised in a Christian home, and for most of my life, the book of Ruth has been my favorite. Every time I read it, I seem to find more astounding things within the few pages of this book of the Bible. During one of my readings, God spoke to me and showed me a model for a Christian woman that I strive to follow.
Yes, I know we have the Proverbs 31 woman as well as many other amazing examples within the pages of the Bible, but this model gave me a new picture of a Godly woman and new goals to strive to achieve in my life.
First off, we read the very familiar passage that is used in marriage vows and seen on the walls of home all over the world. In Ruth 1:16-17, Ruth gives us a great example of how to put self aside and minister to others in need. She tells Naomi that she will go, stay, die, be buried, and worship wherever Naomi is. She begs Naomi to allow her to be by her side through the hardships that Naomi will be facing as she travels back to her homeland. Through these two verses, we see a wonderful example of an act of true selflessness.
As we move on through the verses, we see another example of a Godly woman. In Ruth 2:3a, Ruth has requested to go into the fields to glean, or pick up, any wheat that has fallen from the stalks or has been missed during the initial harvest. As was the custom in the Old Testament, widows were allowed to glean from the fields to help feed themselves and their family. We see Ruth putting aside her comfort and serving Naomi by going out into the fields to glean in order to feed both of them. This was a hot and tiring job yet Ruth was willing to go and serve.
In Ruth 2:12, we are shown that, by laying aside our self, we will be blessed. After hearing what Ruth has done for Naomi, Boaz, who is a relative, asks God to bless Ruth for her acts of service and selflessness. He asks God to repay Ruth, by richly rewarding her, for the deeds she has so selflessly performed.
As the story continues, Naomi inquires as to where Ruth has been gleaning. Ruth lets Naomi know that she is gleaning in the field of Boaz, Naomi’s relative. Naomi is overwhelmed with the generosity of Boaz and the selflessness of Ruth, and begins to work out a plan for Boaz to “notice” Ruth and marry her. The plan that Naomi lays out for Ruth, should she be found out, could be devastating on Ruth’s character and could possibly be deadly. It would also ruin Boaz and the reputation he has built in the town of being a generous man. Again, we see Ruth putting her trust in God and her mother-in-law and willingly goes with the plan Naomi lays out for her, even knowing the risks she was taking. In Ruth 3:5, Ruth states, “I will do whatever you say”. Ruth obeys her mother-in-law, without question, putting all of her trust in the plan.
God richly blesses Ruth for believing. As she is carrying out the plan, she is noticed by Boaz. Ruth acknowledges him and lets him know that she is his servant and asks for his protection. Ruth 3:11b shows Boaz’s response to Ruth’s request. He calls her a “woman of noble character”, which I found interesting, understanding that the plan she was carrying out could be the cause of her personal ruin. When we trust God and follow His plan, he will reward us for being a woman of noble character, just as Ruth was.
The book of Ruth closes with the birth of Boaz and Ruth’s son, Obed, and the lineage of Obed all the way down to King David. We know that David is a man after God’s own heart. By including Ruth into the lineage of King David, we see that God honors her in a big way, by using her heir in the line to produce King David, who then, after many years, we see, becomes the heir of Jesus Christ, God’s son! What an amazing honor that is to be in the lineage of Jesus Christ!
Ruth gives us a wonderful example of a woman blessed of God and a picture of a Godly woman. Remember these six points as you strive to follow God and his plan for your life:
- Ruth was selfless.
- Ruth was a servant.
- Ruth was blessed and rewarded.
- Ruth was willing to follow.
- Ruth was called noble.
- Ruth was honored.
Who do you want to be as you strive to follow Christ today?