In a recent conversation with DJ Wade-O, he asked me who my favorite female character from the Bible was. The first person that stuck out to me was Ruth. Not because of the grand ol’ romantic story of her and Boaz, but because of the many valuable lessons that can be taken from her life.
The Old Testament book of Ruth is a go-to for many women. It is the topic of conversation when women look at spiritual dating/courtship/marriage. In so many conversations amongst Christian women, I’ve heard about ‘Ruth and Boaz.’ Ruth did this, Boaz did that, God did this, Ruth and Boaz and God, and on and on and on.
Here’s some background to Ruth’s story: Naomi and her husband, Elimilek, had two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. When there was a famine in Bethlehem, this family moved from Bethlehem to Moab. In Moab, Naomi’s sons found wives, Orpah and Ruth. After some time, Elimilek died then Mahlon and Kilion. The women, Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah were left alone. In those days, when a woman was not connected to a man, whether that be her husband or son, she was not financially stable. These women were headed into poverty.
Whether it was clear or not, Ruth had a life before Boaz. Ruth had character and courage before Boaz even came into the picture. Can that be said about you? Are you waiting for your mate before you begin developing necessary qualities?
Don’t get blinded by focusing on a romantic relationship, that you miss vital development.
After the death of her husband, Ruth probably felt all types of despair, being a young woman with no male child or husband. She may have even felt at one point that her life was done. But, her story was far from over.
Naomi decided to move back to Bethlehem when she heard the famine was over. She urged both Ruth and Orpah to stay in Moab where they were familiar with the land and could remarry with no problem. (Note: Ruth and Orpah were Moabites that were not necessarily welcome to marry into Israelite families.) Naomi knew this and convinced Orpah to stay, but Ruth was persistent to go with her. But why? What happens when she goes?
Below are 3 lessons or characteristics from Ruth that every woman should want in her life.
Ruth had a want
In Ruth 1, Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to stay back in Moab as she traveled home to Bethlehem. For Orpah, that decision was easy. She said ‘ok, fine. I’ll stay.’ But I believe Ruth wanted to know about the God Naomi served. This was the same God her husband served. She had a want for God. She saw how God had provided for His people, and how Naomi was faithful to Him. Ruth wanted that God for herself. (Ruth 1:16-17) The first thing Ruth shows us is that you have to want God. You see what He has done and what He can do, why not want Him as your God?
Ruth was a worker
Ruth didn’t get to Bethlehem and decide to get lazy and depend on Naomi. She didn’t arrive in her new town, put her feet up, and look at Naomi like “What we gonna do?” Not at all. Ruth got to work. She found a place where she could be useful to herself and Naomi by gathering grain in the field. She did not wait around painting her nails and hoping to bump into a potential husband. She focused on the task at hand. Boaz noticed her diligence and hard work. Had she not been working and become lazy, he wouldn’t have noticed her. Because she wasn’t too good to find a place to serve, God blessed her.
Ruth was willing
One thing that always puzzled me about Ruth was that she chose to stay with Naomi and Orpah chunked the dueces. Ruth knew that going into a new land as an outsider would be hard. She had to learn a lot from Naomi. She had to be willing to listen to instruction and be obedient. She said something that showed us her true character. “I will do what you say.”(Ruth 3:5) She was willing to be obedient. How many times do we miss our blessings and promises because we chose not to be willing and humble enough to listen to instruction and obey? Ruth teaches us that although you may know a lot, you always have room to learn more. Be willing to listen and obey.
Sorry to disappoint, but this post was not ‘3 ways to catch your Boaz’, ’10 steps to being in the right place’, or ‘Don’t let your Ruth pass you.’ It’s not about what women should want in a man, but what they should want in themselves. Realize that growth and maturity matters.
Ruth showed traits that every woman should possess. With qualities like Ruth’s, no wonder it was said that everyone knew she had noble character.
Christians should have quality characters.
Ladies, put in the time to grow your want for God, will to be obedient, and become a worker. Life isn’t all about romantic relationships and rendezvous. Focus on what matters.
What other lessons can be learned from the life of Ruth?