The book of Ruth makes for an interesting study on God’s providence and purpose in life. The book starts with an account of what is real to life, the tragedy that befell Naomi and her two daughters-in-law in the land of Moab. Such mishap is common in our crises-ridden world.
Adversities and tragedies are common in life, but they are never the end of life. Adversities may open the door to the next level in life or they may leave us emotionally devastated. For Ruth and Naomi, the adversities they suffered made them discover God’s highest purpose for them.
Ruth is the epitome of loyalty, diligence and love whose affection for Naomi is unparalleled. This is seen in her signature statement: “But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV).
The influence of Naomi on her daughters-in-law cannot be downplayed. If their relationship had not been cordial they would not have shown her such emotional attachment. Naomi and her daughters-in-law must have enjoyed mutual encouragement with one another following the common bereavement they all suffered.
Orpah’s affection for Naomi was momentary, unlike Ruth’s permanent attachment probably because God had other plans for Orpah. Not everyone is destined to make the same degree of contribution to our lives. Not all those who hang around us contribute to the fulfilment of God’s plans for us. We should pray to God to bring only those who would contribute to God’s purpose in our life. Just as Lot was not meant to play a positive role in Abraham’s life, so Orpah did not play a positive role in Naomi’s life.
Ruth 2:1 shows a self-motivated Ruth. Those who have the call of destiny are self-motivated. Providence moves them towards God’s purpose for their lives.
“So Ruth the Moabites said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter” (Ruth 2:2 NKJV). Ruth did not wait to be told to go out to the field and work to care for herself and Naomi. God led her to the right field.
News spread very fast. Paul says that our good works precedes us and speak for us in places and areas we hardly know (1 Tim.5:24-25). Ruth’s good character reached the ears of Boaz and made a way for her in the heart of wealthy Boaz (2:11-12).
Proverbs says that the skill and diligence of a man will make him stand before kings. In chapter 2:8-14, Ruth enjoys extraordinary favour. She is invited by Boaz to dine with him on the table, “Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back” (Ruth 2:14 NKJV).
Imagine how Ruth would have felt being invited by Boaz, a wealthy landlord to dine at the same table with him. Jesus promises to serve those who would be found watching at His return.” (Luke 12:37).