In the book of Ruth in the Bible, we see a beautiful story of how our lives can be changed when we turn our eyes to God.
Ruth 1:12-21 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. So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
Ruth was a Moabite, which I point out because Ruth didn’t worship God. Yet after the passing of her husband she says to her Mother-in-law Naomi Your God will be my God.
There is a different response to the death of a husband. Naomi, who has grown up worshipping God turns bitter and blames God for the deaths of her sons and husband.
When I read these two responses, Naomi’s makes more sense to me. Her wounded heart and honesty about it is something I can get behind! Still, although it doesn’t make sense, Ruth’s response is the one that reveals eyes and a heart turned to God.
In Chapter 28-12 we learn a few things about what happens when we keep our eyes focused on God. Naomi was depressed, and Ruth was in need of a way to find some food.
So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
God guided Ruth to a field of her husband’s family. She requested to pick from the fields after the harvesters and was granted permission.
Ruth was granted food and protection. Boaz offers a blessing to her “May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” And through Boaz that happened.
Not only did Ruth receive food and protection while she worked, but she was also protected from marrying a kinsman redeemer who was selfish. (Read chapter 4) Further, Boaz and Ruth were married and had a son named Obed.
Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David. Ruth was grafted into the birth line of Jesus.
Ruth 4:13-15 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
Ruth’s willingness to keep her eyes focused on God when it didn’t make sense had some pretty amazing results. Her consistency in looking to God provided Naomi with a guardian-redeemer. In the life of a woman at this time she was not able to own property nor earn much money. Her job choices would have been significantly limited and even more so at her age. Had she lived her life sitting bitterly as she planned to in Ruth chapter 1 she wouldn’t have been given the gift of a grandson, the ability to move forward in her life.
Ruth was provided for
Ruth was protected
Ruth was redeemed
Ruth was grafted in
Naomi’s heart healed as well.