The story of Ruth and Naomi is a treasure. I sometimes do not realize how hard it must have been for both of these women. Naomi lost her two sons and husband, and Ruth lost her husband. For women in that day, this meant that their family name and property might not be preserved and they might not be protected.
When Naomi told Ruth to go back to her family after her husband’s death, Ruth insisted on staying beside Naomi. Ruth and Naomi traveled to Bethlehem, Naomi’s hometown. In Bethlehem, as Ruth worked hard in the fields, Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s husband, showed her much kindness. Boaz then purchased Naomi’s land and became the protector of Naomi and Ruth. Boaz married Ruth, and Ruth gave birth to a son named Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of king David.
As I recount this story and study it closer, I can see God’s constant and sustained presence in the lives of these women. I can see His hand holding them since the start of their stories—holding them in the wake of the loss and trauma each one had to bear. I imagine it was so hard for Naomi to lose not only her husband but also both of her sons; it was so hard for Ruth to lose her husband, one of Naomi’s sons. I imagine it felt so lonely for Naomi to tell her two daughters-in-law to leave her and go back to their families; it was so hard to stay strong for them. I imagine it was so hard for Ruth to choose to leave her family to stay with Naomi and travel to a foreign place; it was hard for Ruth to work in the fields to provide food for them both and hard for Naomi to not worry about who would carry on her husband’s name. However, in all of these parts of their stories, I can see God’s compassion and His grace to go before them and provide for their every need.
The word God brought to mind after I read this story was provision. According to Oxford Languages, provision is “the action of providing or supplying something for use.” I see how God provided Naomi with a loving companion in her daughter-in-law Ruth when her sons died so that she would not be alone on her journey. I see how God provided Ruth with the strength to commit to Naomi and work hard for her, giving her energy for each day. I see how God provided Boaz as a “guardian-redeemer” to save and protect Ruth and Naomi and provide for their physical and emotional needs. I see how God provided Ruth with a son, Obed, who would be in the line of Jesus, and who Naomi found much joy in and cared for like her own. I see how God restored joy, purpose, and hope into the lives of two women who had been inflicted by great pain and loss.
A sweet image takes place in verse 14 of chapter 4, where the women of Bethlehem acknowledge God’s hand in Ruth and Naomi’s lives, saying, “May the Lᴏʀᴅ be praised because he has not left you without a guardian today!” What a picture of complete confidence in the Lord and the rejoicing that comes when we acknowledge His character and provision in our lives. These women saw the hand of the Lord provide for Ruth and Naomi and how He had not forgotten them in moments of extreme hardship. He was always with them, and always one step ahead.
Friend, when I read this story, I see God’s heart for you, too. He created you because He wants so badly to be in a relationship with you (Ephesians 1:4–5). He has ordained each day of your life before one of them ever comes to be (Psalm 139:16). He goes before you and stands beside you as your constant companion (Isaiah 52:12). He hems you in, behind, and before, and He lays His righteous hand upon you (Psalm 139:5). He protects you and provides for you (Psalm 46:1). He redeems your life from the pit and reminds you of your worth (Psalm 103:4). He gives you a new name as His child when you believe in Him and the possession of eternal life with Him forever (1 John 3:1). Friend, you are surrounded, supported, and sustained by God Himself. He sees your current struggle, validates it, and is committed to suffering with you as long as it takes. He has a better end in mind for you–one of complete healing, full joy, and everlasting life.
I pray that you know this today: You matter to God. Your life matters to Him. You have not been unseen or overlooked by Him for a single second. He is with you on your journey on this earth, whether you are in a season of deep hardship or great joy. Your story is and will be a testimony of God’s saving power, and when you share it, it will help others come to the knowledge of the One, true God. And, your love along the way can be a picture of Christ’s love, just as Ruth was to Naomi (a picture of His steadfast love), Naomi was to Ruth (a picture of His adopting love), and Boaz was to Ruth (a picture of His redeeming love).
I pray that as you continue on your journey, you will be assured that you are being held by God’s hand. You are safe. He loves you, and He is never letting go.
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