Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Biblical Role Model (and Namesake)

Hello Sweet Friends,
I am currently away undergoing a brain surgery for Chiari Malformation. In the meantime, some of my sweet and talented friends in the blogging community have volunteered to write posts just for you! I am so humbled and so excited. Here is a post from Ruth Hill of My Devotional Thoughts. She knows that one of my favorite books of the Bible is Ruth, which was the perfect subject for her to write on.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been drawn to a woman  in the Bible. And it honestly has nothing to do with the fact that I share her name.  I have just found that her story is inspiring, and I guess the fact that it has a happy ending certainly helps me, too.

By Simeon Solomon (Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This is the lady for which I am named--Ruth, the Moabitess.  She has always held a special place in my heart.  Her name means "compassionate friend" and sometimes "princess."  I realize some may not know her story very well, so here is a brief summary.

Naomi and Elkanah were good Jews, but they left their country during the time of the famine.  They headed over to Moab, and Elkanah was able to provide for his family.  This was a pagan country, but their two sons decided to marry women from there anyway--Orpah and Ruth.  (Yes, Orpah was the inspiration for the name Oprah).  Unfortunately, poor Naomi had bad luck.  Her husband and two sons died.  All she had left were her two daughters-in-law.  She told them to go back to their land as she prepared to return to Israel, but Ruth refused.  She, a foreigner, went with her mother-in-law back to the land of Israel.

When they arrived back in Israel, Naomi was in a pretty bad mood, and it was a good thing that Ruth was there.  They were poor women, and Ruth began to glean in the fields.  That meant that she got to pick up the grain that was dropped by the reapers.  It's a good thing she picked the right field.  It was owned by Boaz, and he noticed her.  I kind of think he was smitten with her from the beginning.  He actually told his men not only to leave her alone but to make sure to drop extra for her.  He approached her and entreated her to go to no one else's fields.

When Naomi heard about it, she instantly devised a plan.  She knew that Boaz was a relation, and Ruth would be able to marry him.  While Boaz wanted to marry her, he was an honest man.  He said there was actually one that was a closer relation than he, and that man had to be offered the chance first.  You see, along with Ruth, there was land that would be acquired as well.

They approached this nearer relative, and he wanted the land, but he didn't want Ruth.  Good thing that it was a package deal.  Boaz married Ruth, and it wasn't long before they had a son named Obed.  Through their line came King David and eventually Jesus Christ.  

This story always brings a smile to my face.  While it only takes up four chapters in the Bible, the story is one that captures my imagination. I probably figured I would find my "Boaz" one day.  I thought I did once, but I was severely misguided.

So why would I pick this woman as my role model?  It would be very easy to say that it is just that we share a name, but it is so much more than that.  One of the things that always impressed me about Ruth was that she chose to walk away from her people and follow a God she did not grow up knowing.  She forsook everything she had known, and she went with Naomi.  The speech that she gives to Naomi is a well-known one (I even used it in my own wedding ceremony).  "Your people will be my people, and your God, my God.  May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."  I don't know if I would have had the courage to do what Ruth did.  And the blessings she received are unbelievable.  Who would imagine that the line of King David and Christ would have a few non-Jews included in it?  She is one of four women named in the line of Christ in the book of Matthew.

What I admire in Ruth is her courage and her devotion to her mother-in-law (and I'm sure to her God).  She was quiet, obedient, and meek.  She captured the heart of Boaz like no other woman in Israel had.  Yes, she was different, but she was willing to do the right thing.  She respected her mother-in-law, and she did not draw attention to herself.

It crosses my mind that there had to be gossip about her.  At least, in the beginning.  After all, everyone would have known that she was not a Jew and that she had married one of Naomi's sons.  They would have known that she had worshipped other gods.  And I'm sure that out of earshot, Boaz's men probably had things they either said or at least thought.  They knew he favored her.  I find it interesting what the Bible does not tell us.

I seriously doubt that I will ever find my Boaz, but at least I can strive to follow her example.  Obedience is one of the hardest things sometimes.  I generally am humble and quiet (people complain that I am too quiet, but they don't know me).  I can hope and pray that God will continue to use me in this life to be a blessing to others.  I may be an outcast in many circles (family included, but that is another story), but I know that if I am obedient to God, He will use me for His glory.  Maybe I won't be remembered like Ruth of old is, but I doubt she had any idea that her name would be remembered by history.

Ruth Hill is a blogger, single parent, and substitute teacher from the Pacific Northwest. She has an energetic tomboy daughter, and she lives with her parents. She loves music, reading, and surfing the web. Please show her some love on behalf of Pinterest Fanatic and give her a visit at My Devotional Thoughts...

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