Google+ 12/01/12 Celebrate Ruth Day!

Ruth 1:16-18


But Ruth replied, “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!”

When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.


       The book of Ruth provides all of us with great insight about our faith.  For all the ladies in the audience, it is one of the greatest sources of Godly wisdom for Godly women.  Naomi lost her husband,  Elimelech, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion, to death.  She is all alone.  During the time of the book of Ruth (probably the middle of the twelve century B.C.), this would have been extremely difficult.  While the death of a male spouse in any time period is a cause for alarm and grieving, the customs of the Old Testament would have made it even more difficult.  A widowed woman in this time would have been forced to survive on the streets if a close relative of the deceased husband did not see fit to marry her and take her officially into his family.  There was no provision for women to have a job and support themselves outside of the family.  When their husbands died, they lost everything, including their inheritances.  So Naomi instructs her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, to return to their "mothers."   After much convincing, Orpah kisses Naomi and leaves, but Ruth insists on staying with Naomi, her mother-in-law.  Yes, I said her mother-in-law!  This brings us to our Scripture lesson today where Ruth proclaims to Naomi "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."  Understand that Ruth is a Moabite.  Israel conquered the Moabites with the tribe of Ruben when they invaded the land of Canaan.  For Ruth to declare this allegiance to Naomi's God (which is our God!), is a miracle in itself.  The story doesn't end here.  Ruth seeks out Boaz, a relative of Naomi's husband Elimelech,  and by her great faith, Boaz agrees to marry her and protect her and reclaim Naomi's inheritance.  Boaz lives in Bethlehem and is in the seventh position of David's genealogy.  It would not have been an accepted position for Boaz to marry a Moabite.  Many people of the day would have questioned Boaz's faith and made negative claims against him.  Finally, Ruth goes one step farther.  She invites God to punish her if she ever leaves Naomi, her mother-in-law, for any reason other than death.   Wow!  What affect did this have on Naomi?  The Bible says when she saw Ruth's determination and faith, she said no more.  So, how badly do we need our "Ruths?"  Simply put, we can't live without them.  Ruth's faith enriched Naomi and Boaz.  Ladies, take careful note of Ruth's environment.  She lost her husband to death.  She was about to be thrown out on the street.  She had nothing to eat.  She was stuck with her mother-in-law.  She had no faith.  Was she bitter and depressed?  Apparently not.  Even when being told by her mother-in-law to leave, she insisted on staying.  Don't miss the central point here.  In the Garden of Eden, Satan used Eve for evil despite God's warning.  In Bethlehem, God used Ruth for His good even when Ruth was a new believer, thanks to a devoted mother-in-law.  This is why God created a "helpmate" for Adam, not a "playmate."   My challenge today to the ladies is to be Ruth.  Use your "lemons" to make "lemonade," not to make things acidic or bitter.  Lemons can do both you know, depending on how you use them.  Men, celebrate your "Ruths."  Often we have many in our lives.  They can be grandmothers, mothers, wives, sisters, or part of our Family of God.  When you see them, treat them like Boaz treated Ruth and Naomi.  Encourage them.  Instruct and teach them.  Provide for them.  Protect them.  Let's make today "Celebrate Ruth Day."  Godly ladies, you are so important in our collect Christian lives.  Live for Jesus and watch how God will use you in mighty ways, the same as He did with Ruth, your sister!