I feel like there are a few stories in the bible that we know of, because we’ve heard references to it over and over again, even though we may not personally have read the entire book in detail. For me the book of Ruth was one of those. I often heard of the friendship between Ruth and Naomi, and of course people constantly make reference to getting a good husband like Boaz! So I decided to find out the exact facts for myself and read the entire book of Ruth, which I now absolutely love and just had to share!
First off, am I the only one who still doesn’t know the order of the biblical books. I still always have to use the table of contents.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had just four chapters. The key characters are Ruth, Naomi and Boaz and the central setting is Moab, Bethlehem. The book is believed to have been in the years 1375 – 1050 BC.
Essentially, Naomi was a widow (her husband had been Elimelech) who had two sons Mahlon and Kilion – married to Orpha and Ruth. Sadly, both sons later died. Orpha returned to her family and the story talks about Ruth’s devotion and loyalty to Naomi and their eventual relationship with Boaz whom Ruth later married.
Ok on to the lessons.
1. Some mothers-in- law are the real deal:
My husband stumbled on my draft notes on this and perhaps he couldn’t clearly read my hand writing and he said “some mother in laws are awful”? Only God knows what he was thinking at that moment. Fret not. I had actually written awesome.
In today’s world the fear of the monster mother in law is real. But we see from Ruth and Naomi’s relationship that genuine friendship (ok ok at the worst a cordial relationship) can exist. Naomi offered both her daughters-in-law the opportunity to go back to their family rather than remain stuck with her. Ruth refused to go back to her family choosing to stick it out with Naomi for good or for bad, and until death! (Ehm quite deep eh?).
In verse 16 She says:
Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. Wherever you die I will die and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us.
In return Naomi loves Ruth so much that she happily gives her tips on her relationship with Boaz! I mean, helping your daughter-in-law to get married to another man! See chapter 3 for all the juicy details. There’s so much to say about their relationship. Their ages, background and cultures were different. And of course being mother-in-law and daughter-in-law was the perfect breeding ground for friction and tension. But theirs was the complete opposite and Ruth even came to learn of the God of Israel through Naomi!
2. The Need for Social Welfare Programmes:
In Chapter 2:2, Ruth says to Naomi – ‘Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalls of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it’.
For a bit of back ground, Naomi and Ruth were poor. And with their husbands gone you can imagine their hardship. In verse 20, Naomi laments that the Lord has made life very bitter for her, and she sort of changed her name from Naomi which meant ‘pleasant’ to Mara which meant ‘bitter’.
So basically, they had to find food how they could. And this system of social welfare allowed for that. The laws of Israel demanded that when harvesters had to harvest the wheat and barley, the corners of the fields were not to be harvested. And any grain dropped to the floor was to be left for poor people who picked it up. This was called gleaning and so Ruth went into the field to glean the grain.
Doesn’t this make you think? The poor will always be around us, and there will always be social classes. But do we make an effort to contribute to their welfare? How can we do better? Donate clothes, money, food, time?
3. A Positive Attitude to Menial Tasks!
I don’t know about you, but I’m very much a bigger picture kind of person. Which is great. But the consequence of that, is that I dislike menial tasks or administrative boring matters. In an examination, I want to write up all my answers and don’t want to proof read for any errors . I love to cook, but would rather not clean up. I want to organise an event but would rather not deal with administrative filling of forms and excel spreadsheets. I just want to jump to the main thing. And this is one area, I’ve been called to check myself. Because we must first be faithful in little things for us to be faithful in larger things.
Ruth’s attitude to the menial task of harvesting grains made Boaz notice her, and opened the door of opportunity – that eventually led to their marriage. The task may have been degrading for Ruth but she did it faithfully, and because of this we can see the larger purpose. In case you didn’t know, Ruth went on to have a son with Boaz – named Obed. Now Obed was the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of David. And we all know how Jesus is from the line of David.
So in our everyday life when we find ourselves stuck at a task seemingly beneath us or what we would rather not do, let the story of Ruth inspire us!
4. Can we have Boaz-like Men?
I know. This was written about 3000 or more ago. But there were horrible men then too. And yet, Boaz stood out. He was kind to Ruth and Naomi – allowing them to glean his field, and even going the extra mile. He demonstrated a high level of responsibility choosing to marry Ruth and take care of Naomi when he realised he was their closest relative. And he chose to do this the right way, (Chapter 4) also oblivious to the fact that he would become an ancestor of Jesus! There’s definitely so much the men of today can learn from him.
In all, I think it’s such a beautiful story. Of friendship and God’s faithfulness! And there are so many lessons to be learnt. Plus who doesn’t love a good romance story!
Oh can I just chip in how God can absolutely use anyone irrespective of your past? FYI – Ruth was a descendant of Rahab the prostitute. Look how the tables turned and she became the ancestor of Jesus!
What are your thoughts on the book of Ruth? Please share with us!
pS: Pentheraphobia is the fear of your mother-in-law! Do you have this phobia? What sort of relationship do you have with your mother-in-law or what sort do you hope to have in future?
ppS: Don’t forget you can leave a comment without having a Disqus account. Use the guest option. If in difficulty, see the FAQ page for guidance!
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Ogonna_ODecember 22, 2016 at 12:34
Nice Write up Kachi.I also do love Ruth’s story, it teaches us to put others first. Ruth sacrificed herself to be Naomi’s helper even though she had a choice to go back home. And in doing so, God blessed her with a good husband and children.FYI: Ruth is actually my confirmation name.Please do explore other biblical books, Esther perhaps 🙂
Kachee || KacheeTee.comDecember 22, 2016 at 12:38
Ogonna! You have no idea how seeing your comment made me happy. I almost thought you’ve forgotten the blog. I actually plan to do a few more. I read Esther as well, and already have draft lessons! Hopefully I finish that up soon.Lol @ Ruth. It’s a lovely name.Merry Christmas!
Ogonna_ODecember 22, 2016 at 13:07
How can I forget your blog. I know i don’t comment that often but I do read your posts :)Keep it up dear cuz’ I’m a fan.Merry Christmas!
Goodness-Mercy WemeDecember 22, 2016 at 16:56
Hahaha….thought I was the only one who wrote exams without proofreading my answers. What stuns me most about Ruth was the decision of following her mother-in-law not thinking of what would befall her in Israel. See where her sacrifice and devotion led her.Praying for Naomi’s kind of mother-in-law oh.Thanks Kachi for sharing.http://devotionsofapsalmist…
MercyDecember 22, 2016 at 18:50
I enjoyed reading this.My mama taught us a song about the books of the bible when we were little…so when I can’t remember where a book is, I sing the song quickly in my head.I’m in awe of the kind of relationship Naomi and Ruth had. Very rare and very beautiful. I get on okay with my mother-in-law thankfully, can’t imagine otherwise.xwww.immeiko.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comDecember 25, 2016 at 19:50
Apparently, lots of people learnt the song in primary school, but I just didn’t.Thankful for such good relationships honestly!
BababiDecember 24, 2016 at 09:03
Good read, i love it when anyone can give me a new understanding to a familiar bible passage. Thank you for this, the lessons are valuable.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comDecember 25, 2016 at 19:49
Thank you Bababi! & Merry Christmas!
Lohla's MelangeDecember 25, 2016 at 12:12
Did you know, that lesbians now use same verse16 as marital vows when wedding? Cos according to them, it was a woman saying it to another woman so its perfect for them to use a marital vows.I have a great relationship with my mother in love as I call her. Merry Christmas Katchee.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comDecember 25, 2016 at 19:49
oh wow!I’ve noticed many people have started saying mother-in-love. That’s good.Merry Merry Christmas babe. Have an awesome festive season.
EvitaDecember 26, 2016 at 09:32
Wow. I’ve never really paid so much attention to the book of Ruth but after reading this, I’m definitely going to study the book. Some mother-in-laws are indeed awesome, using my mum as an example. My sister-in-law keeps gushing about how she has the best mother in law in the world. I keep praying for mine even though I don’t know she is yet…Can’t afford to add pentheraphobia to the list of my phobias. I really enjoyed reading this.evitainprogress.blogspot.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comDecember 28, 2016 at 14:46
Awww, your sister in law is lucky! Hahaha@ can’t afford to add pentheraphobia to the list.I’m glad you enjoyed reading this.
AbbyDecember 31, 2016 at 00:42
Very interesting and insightful read Kachee!Thanks for sharing!There’s actually a term for the fear of mothers in law?Loool! Who would have thought that?!Xx
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJanuary 3, 2017 at 17:17
Seems like there’s a fear of everything these days!Glad you liked it Abby! Xx
Desire UbaJanuary 3, 2017 at 16:29
This was so nice to read. I literally just read the Book of Ruth like two week ago and thought to do a blog post on it too, and noted some things myself. I really admiread Ruth’s loyalty, she is the bomb.I also liked the fact that Naomi was really human like the rest of us. As great as she was, she also had some flaws, but they did not make her any less intriguing or wonderful.Thanks for sharing Kachee!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJanuary 3, 2017 at 17:18
So happy you liked it. You should totally still do a post on it. There’s always a fresh angle and new people to reach.