Can I tell you a secret? Ruth Chapter 3 has always made me a little nervous. I mean, am I the only one who cringes at the thought of Ruth going to the threshing floor that night and following Naomi’s orders? Ahhh, talk about awkward! My heart begins to beat faster, and I get anxious just thinking about how nervous Ruth must have been!
It wasn’t until recently when I read more of the background and symbolism behind Naomi’s instructions to Ruth that I began to understand the parallel to Christ’s redemption of our lives.
Take for instance Naomi’s advice to Ruth instructing her to change from her clothes of mourning and widowhood to new, clean and fresh clothes signifying that her time of mourning her husband’s death is over and she should move on with her life. How beautiful that Naomi would be the one to suggest this to Ruth and lovingly give her the freedom and blessing to move on! Like Ruth, I feel I’ve needed a “Naomi” in my life to give me permission to exchange my clothes of mourning and embrace a new season of availability to God. Removing the garments of unforgiveness, betrayal, bitterness and pain and putting on new garments of hope, redemption, and love.
I didn’t realize until studying the book of Ruth that in the Hebrew Bible, the book of Proverbs is actually right before the book of Ruth. How wonderful that right after we read Proverbs 31:31 we are sent to Ruth’s amazing story of redemption!
What we see in Ruth 3:11 is the same description we see of the “Proverbs 31 Woman” in verse 31:31. Just like the “Proverbs 31 Woman”, Ruth was also praised at the city gates…a woman mind you who was born in an enemy country, who was an alien in the country she was living in….this broken, widowed woman was actually a Proverbs 31 woman!.
Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.- Proverbs 31:31
Ruth is praised at the city gates because of how she has loved Naomi, worked hard to provide food for her mother-n-law and sought to honor her. A woman who could have turned away and started a new life in her homeland chose instead to leave all that she knew and walk forward in faith…not knowing what the road to Bethlehem would hold for her.
I’m learning so many lessons to apply to my life as I’m inspired by Ruth’s story. We can never dismiss the power of a life lived out in love for God and others. We see this in Ruth’s life…as we see it in the life of the “Proverbs 31 Woman”, too. Both women lived with their focus on God and serving those around them. Both women lived for more than themselves and because of that, both women’s every day, step-by-step obedience is still encouraging generations of women thousands of years later!
As I’ve been reading through Ruth, I’ve been challenged through this powerful book to live more boldly for Christ. To walk my life out in greater faith and greater obedience…even if I’m not sure what is waiting for me in my “Bethlehem”…to take the journey forward all the same. It’s not easy to humble ourselves and lay our lives down at the feet of our Redeemer…but just like Boaz, Jesus doesn’t reject us. He sees us and loves us.
“The book of Ruth is much more than the record of the marriage of a rejected alien to a respected Jew. It’s also the picture of Christ’s relationship to those who trust Him and belong to Him.”- Warren Wiersbe
Sweet friends, just as Boaz accepted and loved Ruth, Christ does the same for each of us!
Let’s Talk: What about Ruth’s life encourages you so far in our study? Is there something new that you’ve learned?
Love God Greatly,