Ruth & Naomi*
The Book of Ruth is filled with examples that are applicable for our lives today. John Piper suggests one main lesson is: The life of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there. The life of the godly is not taking Interstate 94 and picking up 65 straight to Indianapolis. It is more like a trip my husband and I personally drove from Seattle to Whistler, Canada. I was driving this leg of the journey around the mountains filled with narrow roads, hair pin turns and construction all along the way. My knuckles were white clinching the steering wheel as my husband sat in the passenger seat reading the Fodor’s travel book. At one point I remember raising my voice at him “can’t you stop reading and pay attention and help me?” The next day we took the brand new gondola built for the upcoming winter Olympics. Once we arrived to the top of the mountain, we could clearly see the narrow winding roads we had traveled. It was so worth the harrowing trip we had traveled to see God’s majestic mountain peaks surrounding us.
As Christians today, with the awesome advantage of having God’s Word and all the amazing stories He has provided for us. We have the ability to see others who have gone before us and the winding roads they traveled which ultimately unfolded to the amazing redemption story of our Kinsman Redeemer.
The Book of Ruth as we studied is filled with setbacks, hope, and strategies of righteousness. It could be a movie: famine, Egypt, husband and sons die, bitter Naomi, hope filled Ruth, working for food, older man Boaz comes into the picture, Naomi takes matters into her own hands sending Ruth to the threshing floor, Boaz does what’s right, first in line kinsman redeemer comes into the plot and accepts the offer for Ruth and the land, but then declines. When and how will this saga end? “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.” Ruth 4:13 Only God in His great mercy could and would take people down the winding and cloudy path to teach us dependence on Him and help us to focus on the best is yet to come.
Question– Do you relate to Naomi at the beginning of the Book of Ruth when hard times came she became bitter? Do you struggle when hard times come? In your heart of hearts can you accept God has ordained the path of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but filled with clouds, curves, hurt, sorrow and loss?
Piper in his article, The Best is yet to Come, feels one of the major themes for the Book of Ruth is to help us see the signposts of God’s gracious work in bitter setbacks through Naomi. It was God who acted to turn each setback into a stepping stone to joy. It is God in all of their/our bitter providences is plotting for our good. Let’s look at 3 main points.
Question– How did God give Naomi the gift of Ruth even when she was oblivious to His grace? Ruth 1:16, 2:12
Question– How did God turn Naomi’s hopelessness (Ruth 1:12) into her acknowledging God’s plan was not an accidental meeting of Boaz? (Ruth 2:20)
Question– How did God turn Naomi’s loss of husband, sons, no kinsman redeemer, and baron Ruth into joy? (Ruth 4:11)
Question– What are some possible reasons like Naomi you may lose hope? A few are listed below.
- Looking at the enclosed field instead of the horizon
- Focusing our time on utterly trivial matters which causes us to lose our worship
- Trying to satisfy our longings on earthly things
The Glorious Work of God in History
- God’s purpose is for His people to connect with something far greater than ourselves. Eph 1:16-18
- God wants us to know that when we follow him, our lives mean more than we think they do. Matthew 25:40
- God wants us to connect between the ordinary events of life and the stupendous work of God in history. In Andy Stanley’s book “Visioneering” he states, “We don’t need to pray for more miracles, we just need to be more sensitive to the opportunities that God brings our way.” In God’s Word we have been provided example after example such as the Book of Ruth and the story of Mary and the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:1-7,
- Everything we do in obedience to God, no matter how small is significant.
- We are part of a cosmic mosaic which God is painting to display the greatness of His power and wisdom to the world and to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. (Eph 3:9,10)
- When we do what may seem insignificant, for the Christian these things are all connected to eternity. They are part of something so much bigger than they seem.
Ps. 24:1, Proverbs 20:24, 19:21, Jer 10:23
Naomi did not have a straight line to glory. It was filled with perilous, treacherous, disobedient, sorrowful, bitter times. The story doesn’t end with a cute baby and a happy grandmother. It’s a story which points forward to David, and David pointing forward to Jesus. Jesus pointing forward to our kinsman redeemer.
Praying for you,
Laura Rawden, Mentor Mom
*Piper, John. (1984, July22). Ruth: The Best is Yet to Come. desiringGod.org. Retrieved from: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/ruth-the-best-is-yet-to-come