Women of the Word | Ruth [Part 2]

When asked about the women of the Word who God used to advance His Kingdom, few Believers could list many names… let alone explain how God purposed their lives. Yet, God used these women for a reason. A reason we might understand were we to explore their stories today. 

But who were these women, and why should we care about their stories? 

Join us as we continue to explore the life and calling of Ruth and how the Lord used her not only to bring redemption to Naomi, but to prepare for God’s plan. To serve as one of the earliest examples of the One New Man!

Kingdom Advancing Women:

While at first, it might appear that God only used a handful of women in the Word, this is not the case. Their stories might rarely span great lengths of pages. Their purposes might at first appear small. But the Kingdom advancing calls God created them for were hardly insignificant…

From Deborah to Esther/Hadassah, from Rahab to Ruth, these woman were used mightily of God! They walked in paths of Godly obedience, courage, and love. They stood strong in God, in their faith in Him, even when things were difficult… or dangerous. 

As a result, God used them to advance His Kingdom. He blessed them abundantly, both in their lives, and in their descendants.

“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.”

—Ruth 3:11

Blessings of a Kinsman Redeemer:

Despite the harvests of grain not lasting forever, with Boaz’s kindness there is little doubt that Naomi and Ruth would ever go hungry. But the Lord had bigger and better things in store. 

Vintage black and white engraving of painting by Glayre of the calling of Ruth and Boaz.

God had plans that would bless not only the lives of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz, but would set key elements of His plan for mankind’s redemption in place!

Naomi was prompted to ask Ruth to do something out of faith; something that, in the natural, would have been shocking. She asked Ruth to go to the threshing floor where Boaz would be, to wait until he went to sleep, and then uncover his feet and lay down. 

To go to the threshing floor unasked and unannounced in the dead of night, unaccompanied, to see a man, would have been a risk—even though her intentions were innocent and just. She was already a foreigner to the land. Yes, Ruth certainly was considered a virtuous woman, but should Naomi’s plan go wrong, could Ruth ever be accepted? Would everyone’s opinion of her shift from virtuous to something far less kind?

Yet, Ruth did not question Naomi, she walked once again in faith and love…

So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her. And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.

“Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said, ‘Who are you?’

“So she answered, ‘I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.’

“Then he said, ‘Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the Lord lives! Lie down until morning.’”

—Ruth 3:6-13 (emphasis added)

Because of Ruth’s obedience to Naomi. Because she sought out her kinsman redeemer instead of younger or richer men, she and Naomi were redeemed. But that was only the start of God’s plans…

The obedience and justness of Ruth and Boaz’s actions did not go unnoticed by God. He set them in the lineage of kings… down to the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Savior, who would be our kinsman redeemer!

“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people,”

—Luke 1:68

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

—Galatians 4:4-5

“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,’”

—Revelation 5:9

While the honor of being in the lineage of Jesus was not limited to this couple, it was a particularly special honor due to one important fact. Ruth was not Jewish, she was a Gentile who accepted the Jewish faith! Only one other Gentile woman did God bestow this honor upon… Rahab, the woman who many believe to be the mother of Boaz, who sheltered two spies in Jericho (see Joshua 2) and perhaps married one of them who was named Salmon.* 

Thus, God brought Jew and Gentile together in the lineage of Judaic kings, from David to Jesus Himself. Essentially creating the groundwork of the One New Man and redemption of all peoples that Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension would bring.

*This view is held by many scholars due to the genealogy of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 1:5 

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Lessons from Ruth:

Ruth serves not only as an important lesson on Godly behavior, but of the ultimate design God had and still has for us. That of redemption and our coming together as One New Man!

When Ruth chose to follow Naomi, she knew it was going to be a tough road. She understood that earthly prosperity, wealth, and security might not come should she take that path of love and faith. Yet, Ruth chose to act—with love, devotion, faith, hope, and obedience—even when those actions were costly…

She came together as One New Man with Naomi, following the Lord, standing together in unity and fellowship! She continued on in the face of adversity and met with favor for her faith. She met with redemption that echoed the redemption to come; our Messiah, Jesus…

Today we have that redemption. We have the blessings that God poured out on a once poor widow; a widow He decided to include in His earthly lineage. But what lessons can we learn from her? What can we take away?

Well, like Ruth, we are to walk in love and in faith. We are meant to follow God and His ways and not change course just because things get tough…

Blessings come when we give. Blessings come when we walk in obedience; in love and faith. The Lord desires to bless us. But even when we see no potential blessing. Even when the road is difficult. We are meant to—like Ruth—walk in the ways of God. To help others, even when doing so is not easy…

Ruth did not complain. She never despaired, walking in hope and joy. Her actions were not out of obligation.

Whatever we do, whatever we give, should come from our hearts with joy and gladness, not obligation. 

God loves a cheerful giver. And it is He who weighs—who judges—the heart. He sees past actions to the intents behind them, judging accordingly…

Ruth acted as she did because she loved Naomi and God. She went into her actions expecting nothing, but, because of the Lord’s great mercies and love, she came away with blessing upon blessing; for herself, for Naomi, for Boaz, and beyond…

“Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel!’”

—Ruth 4:14

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

“Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.”

—Matthew 1:1-6