Character Studies from the Book of Ruth – Part 3

Ruth, A Stranger No More

The book of Ruth starts out with someone’s carnality causing things to happen in a family’s life.

God can turn someone else’s carnality into a blessing for you. He can turn someone else’s disobedience into a blessing for you. 

God would rather bless you because of your obedience but He is so good and so big that He can turn your situation around and bless you once you repent.

There are other ways God wants to bless you but He can still bless you in spite of your past disobedience. He is that big! 

God is not the author of disobedience – Satan is the author of disobedience. You and your wrong choices are the author of your disobedience. 

But your disobedience is not bigger than God! Your sin is not bigger than God! Your rebellion is not bigger than God. 

Your disobedience does not thwart the plan of God as a whole. It may thwart God’s plans for you but He does not fall off the throne. 

No matter what the situation you may have caused, if we repent, God is so big that He can completely turn that situation around.

What ultimately happened in Ruth and Naomi’s life was not determined by Elimelech’s decisions; it was determined by their decisions. 

Ruth was born in and part of a cursed race but because she made the decision to pursue after God, God was able to break that curse over her life and bless her abundantly. 

Even what people think about you can be turned around because of your relationship with the Lord. 

Ruth 1:1-5 (NKJV)  Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.  (2)  The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion—Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there.  (3)  Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons.  (4)  Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years.  (5)  Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband. 

(Review of the Moabite society and their religious system) 

Ruth came from a cursed group of people. They were very paganistic; very wicked.

They actually were worshipping demons.

1 Corinthians 10:20 (NKJV)  Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.

They worshipped Molech by child human sacrifices. Same thing happens today as children are taught to strap bombs to themselves for religion’s sake.

Ruth never knew a God of mercy. She only knew of angry gods that had to be appeased by sacrifices, some being human.

Ruth did not know about a God that would come down and say that I care about you instead of a god that says you have to care about me. 

God had a plan for everyone in this family. It was their decisions that determined whether they entered into it or not. 

God’s first plan for your life is salvation. 

His other plan is the one that He wants you to live every day. 

But you cannot enter the second without partaking of the first one. If you turn Him down at the first point of decision you cannot enter into the second. 

Before Ruth ever knew God, God knew about Ruth. 

  • God knew her name.
  • God knew where she lived and what her nationality was.
  • God knew about her marriage problems and that she was a widow.
  • God knew about her religion.
  • God knew about the bondages in her life.
  • God knew what was going on in her heart.

No only did God know about her but He already had a great plan for her life. 

When you were Born Again is not when God put together a plan for your life. 

Ephesians says that He made plans for you before the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1:3-5 NKJV  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  (4)  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  (5)  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

God moved in spite of the disobedience of Elimelech to get Ruth to Him. He did not sponsor the disobedience but it certainly did not stop His plan from coming to pass. 

God used the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart to deliver the people of Israel and more. He did not cause the hardness or sponsor it but it did not stop the plan of God from coming to pass. The plagues that happened because of Pharaoh’s heart showed others who God was and is and it spoke to them. 

Exodus 12:33-40 (NKJV)  And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.”  (34)  So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.  (35)  Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.  (36)  And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.  (37)  Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.  (38)  A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock.  (39)  And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves.  (40)  Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.

Notice there were others that left with the Hebrews. I believe there were Egyptians that left with them and were included because they received the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

It does not matter how hard a leader’s heart gets towards God, if God has a plan for those people and they are obedient to Him, that plan will come to pass. 

God could have used something else to reach Ruth but he worked in Elimelech’s disobedience and reached Ruth. He wanted to reach both Ruth and Orpah, but only Ruth answered and said, “Yes.” 

They both saw and heard the same thing but Ruth made the right choice. 

You can minister the Gospel to someone but you cannot make the decision for them. They must make it for themselves. Remember, the two thieves that were crucified with Jesus. They both saw and heard the same thing. 

What enabled her to step into that plan was the decision that Ruth made and the commitment she made. 

Ruth 1:14-19 (NKJV)  Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.  (15)  And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”  (16)  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.  (17)  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.”  (18)  When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.  (19)  Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem. And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 

She made a decision to serve the Lord because of a testimony of a backslidden woman. 

They arrive in Bethlehem and Ruth decides that she needs to get a job. They came back with no money, no place to live, nothing. 

Ruth 2:1-6 (NKJV)  There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.  (2)  So Ruth the Moabitess 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.”  (3)  Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.  (4)  Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The LORD be with you!” And they answered him, “The LORD bless you!”  (5)  Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”  (6)  So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 

Notice that God was at work in Ruth’s life and led her to the field of Boaz. God was ordering her steps even as a new convert. 

Ruth 2:7-12 (NKJV)  And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house.”  (8)  Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women.  (9)  Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”  (10)  So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”  (11)  And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.  (12)  The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” 

Ruth 2:13-23 (NKJV)  Then she said, “Let me find favor in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”  (14)  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.  (15)  And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her.  (16)  Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”  (17)  So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.  (18)  Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied.  (19)  And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.”  (20)  Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”  (21)  Ruth the Moabitess said, “He also said to me, ‘You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’ ”  (22)  And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field.”  (23)  So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law. 

The plan of God is becoming more and more clear to Naomi. Boaz is the only one that could have possibly redeemed her and she ends up gleaning in Boaz’s field.

The law said that one that was not part of the Nation of Israel could marry someone and redeem them.

The kinsman-redeemer is a male relative who, according to various laws of the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need. The Hebrew term (go el) for kinsman-redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 6:6) or redeems property or person (Leviticus 27:9–25, 25:47–55). The kinsman who redeems or vindicates a relative is illustrated most clearly in the book of Ruth, where the kinsman-redeemer is Boaz.

The story of Ruth and Boaz begins when Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, return to Bethlehem from Moab where they had been living. Naomi’s husband and both sons, one the husband of Ruth, had died, leaving the women penniless and without a male protector. Upon arriving in Bethlehem, Naomi sends Ruth to glean in the fields of Boaz, a wealthy relative of Naomi to whom they, through a series of divinely appointed circumstances, appeal as their go el. Boaz acquiesces, willingly takes Ruth as his wife, and together they bear a son named Obed who became the grandfather of David, the forefather of Jesus.  

We were one time strangers from the commonwealth of Israel but we had a kinsman redeemer that was able to receive and redeem us and make us a part of the family of God. His name is Jesus!

Ephesians 2:11-14 (NKJV)  Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—  (12)  that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  (13)  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  (14)  For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,