This post is a courtesy of my mother, Maite, a pastor’s wife, who has copiously studied the book of Ruth and the book of Esther her whole life and knows their hidden nuggets thoroughly.
Aside from being one of the top Bible studies for women, the book of Ruth has a lot of inspiring quotes, and lessons for women today.
One of the main themes of this book is: God can take care of us better than anyone else.
Are you in trouble in your life right now? In fact, that particular message(God can take care of any woman in trouble) in this book is so powerful it could be posited that the book of Ruth is the female version of the book of Job.
Ruth accepted her situation when her loved ones died, she trusted the Lord, and went with whatever was the will of the Lord.
It’s a clear example of what Christian people should do when their loved ones die, and how they should comfort others when their loved ones die as well.
So, let’s discover the book of Ruth and its amazing takeaways:
1. In The Midst Of Bad Circumstances, The Lord Is In Control Of Your Life
Ruth 1:1: “In the days when the judges ruled,there was a famine in the land”.
Ruth 1:3: “Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.”
The book of Ruth opens with the extremely bad circumstances that there were at the time. You name it: hunger, poverty, death or loneliness.
The book of Ruth is also like a Biblical and better version of The Grapes of Wrath.
In the midst of hunger, death and dealing with the loneliness of being a widow, God was taking care of his people. How do we know this?
The Bible states:
Ruth 1:6: “When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah”.
There is one big spiritual truth behind a passage like this. First, Moab(a pagan country) represents the places in your life where you are and God isn’t there.
Naomi returning from Moab to the land of Judah(the land of God) represents the spiritual truth for us that: wherever we are, if God isn’t there, we must come back to Him.
The Lord will always draw you back to Him. Because He loves you. Either by causing a famine-like circumstances in your life or some other way.
A subsequent spiritual truth that comes out of this is, it doesn’t matter if you or your family are in a Grapes of Wrath-like situation in your life, the Lord will always provide.
Glory to Him.
2. You May Not Always Understand God’s Plan For Your Life
Just like Naomi and Ruth could not understand, you may not always be able to understand God’s work. Just like Isaiah 28:21 states:
The Lord will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,
he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon—
to do his work, his strange work,
and perform his task, his alien task.
The prophet in this passage describes God’s work as the “strange work”, His “alien task”. Because in many times you are not intended to understand.
Take a look at Ruth 1:21 and you will see.
Ruth 1:21: “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
In this verse, Naomi is proclaiming just how sad she is. And do not worry, because the Lord always knows how you are feeling.
And just like her, we won’t always understand what God is doing, but WE. MUST. TRUST. God’s work can sometimes be the “strange work” for you, but trust me, it isn’t strange for God at all.
For 3 must-know tips on not missing God’s Plan, you can check out our post on not missing God’s Plan for your life.
3. When Loved Ones Die, You Need To Trust God
We can see in Ruth 1:5:
Ruth 1:5: “both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.”
No matter what we go through in our lives, thinking about what the Biblical Naomi went through can strengthen us. Her two sons and her husband died, and she was not only left a widow, but totally and utterly alone.
Yet, Naomi decided to trust God. When God took away her loved ones from her, she trusted, because that’s what we must always do.
Another theme that could be extracted from this is to never charge God with any wrongdoing. Accepting the death of your loved ones may be difficult, but just like Job, we must say:
Job 1:21-22: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing”.
Glory to the Lord.
4. God Is Faithful To Widows And Anyone
Another dimension of both Ruth and Naomi’s circumstances in the book involves considering the patriarchal social structures in which they were in.
The economic situation for widows in Israel was really dire because men were usually the breadwinners.
This point #4 is specially for women who feel abandoned, lonely, lost or even depressed. No matter what situation is for women today, learning that God gave Ruth a husband again and took care of her negative circumstances helps us grasp He can do the same for modern women in similar situations.
5. Honor the Lord With Your Life, And He Will Honor You
Ruth 1:16: “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”.
Ruth was a pagan(non-Jewish) from Moab, so when she stated what we see in the verse 16, she received the God of Israel as her own.
She converted to the God of Israel, and when the blessings that she received when she accepted the God of Israel as her own, shows us how important it is for our Lord when we accept Him in our lives.
As non-Jewish woman, God decided to give Ruth a huge honor. He decided to give her the honor of being on the royal bloodline of our Lord Jesus Christ. She ended up being the great-grandmother of king David.
So, preach the gospel of our Jesus to anyone you know. This is always the most important thing.
6. God Doesn’t Care About Race Or Country Of Origin
Another lesson could be distilled from the aforementioned points. Ruth was from Moab, which means she wasn’t a first-class citizen in the land of Israel. Still, the Lord included her in the royal bloodline of David, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Remembering that the book of Ruth has a Jewish context, it becomes of special importance that this book deals with a non-Jewish woman.
It depicts that God doesn’t care about the color of your skin, your heritage or your socioeconomic situation. This could also be a powerful lesson for racist Americans, or classist, ethnocentrist individuals anywhere in society today.
7. Don’t Think You Have Nothing To Offer God
Ruth was completely empty-handed, was poor, and needy. A poor widow, in the midst an international famine and hunger due to scarcity of food. Following along this point, then God made her the great-grandmother of King David.
If you feel like you have nothing to offer God, you’re needy or poor, or or any kind of “empty hands” situation, you must know that God can fill your life with so many material and spiritual blessings that you will be overwhelmed.
You do not ever have to worry about having nothing to offer God. As long as you offer Him your heart, that’s all He wants. He will take care of the material things. Like Ruth.
8. God Is Better Than The American Dream For You
Like I said before, the book of Ruth is just like a Biblical, better version of the Grapes of Wrath.
Look at how Wikipedia summarizes the Grapes of Wrath: “Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, agricultural industry changes, and bank foreclosures forcing tenant farmers out of work. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they are trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California”.
Think of the tenant farmers and Naomi and Ruth, “Oklahoma” as the land of Moab, and think of “California”, as the land of Judah, where there the Lord was giving prosperity.
The people in the Grapes of Wrath faced everything the book of Ruth describes, poverty, famine, a general bad economic situation and nightmarish death.
If you’re looking for a better life, or are in the midst of dire circumstances and desperately want a better life for yourself, remember this: God is better at fulfilling your needs than anyone or anything else.