An Interview with Ruth
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”
And the Spirit led me to her home today for I was one in search of redemption, restoration. Could her story become mine?
A sparkling, bright eyed woman met me with open arms. Black hair hung in soft curls around her sweet face and cascaded down her back. Curious children hovered at her feet. An older boy with large kind eyes that shone with the grace and glory of God stood protectively behind his mother. His name was Obed.
“I was searching for answers my family could not give. There had to be something more than a harsh god who delighted in the sacrifice of innocent children. Chemosh is the god of Moab but unanswered questions only stirred my longing for something more. Then I met Mahlon. The stories he told me about the God of Israel intrigued me and created a thirst in me. The grace and peace I saw in his family, inspired a hunger within to know this God who honored life.
“So being a starry eyed girl who fell head over heels in love, I said yes and became Mahlon’s wife. I dreamed of the wonderful life we’d have. I pictured children at my feet and a husband returning from work each night showering me with adoring love. I’d cook and clean with my mother-in-law Naomi and exchange recipes with Orpah, wife to Chillion who was Mahlon’s brother. And each day I’d listen to Naomi’s instructions on the conduct of a Jewish bride. She’d also teach the ways of Yaweh…the God of Israel, the Creator of all. Oh, I just knew life would be heaven on earth.
“But tragedy struck. It struck three times. I wept as Naomi’s dear husband died. I cried a second time with the passing of Orpah’s husband. But I sobbed when my own beloved Mahlon left this earth. All my dreams, all my hopes died that day. The horrors of death engulfed me. Could life ever be sweet again? Yet in retrospect I now see that even while still in the land of Moab, still in the midst of deep sorrow, The Almighty l had a plan. We just didn’t know…we could begin again!
“And so, we were three widows, left alone in the land of Moab…a God forsaken place. My world was a cavern of unending grief, a bottomless pit of sorrow. But Naomi, who had truly become a mother to me, was returning to Bethlehem, her beloved homeland…the land of Yaweh. She was drained of all hope yet I had tasted of a gracious God, a God so unlike the god of my youth. I had to follow…no matter what. I had a knowing that destiny lay in the little town of Bethlehem… so far away.
“Orpah chose to remain in Moab. She chose a path more familiar being too timid to venture where unknowns loomed before her. So we wept again and parted ways but to Naomi I proclaimed, ‘Your God will be my God. Your people will be my people and where you die… I will die.’
“Much to my delight the knowing that drew me out of Moab and into a new life was heaven sent. When we arrived in Bethlehem the barley harvest had just begun. It was a sign from God. He was ordering our steps…a door had opened!
“One day as I gleaned in the harvest, as was God’s caring provision for widows, I saw a shadow hovering over me. I was frightened but I looked up and gazed into the kindest eyes I ever remember seeing. And he was smiling…smiling…smiling…at me. It was Boaz, the owner of the field.
“Even today his first smile still mystifies me. Then again, isn’t this the nature of our gentle and humble Shepherd of Israel? He is so gracious and Boaz was equally gracious…to me…a Moabite!
“Naomi was thrilled. ‘Ruth, Boaz is a near kinsman of ours. He can redeem, buy back the land of Mahlon… and marry you. This is another provision of Yaweh that the name of the deceased be not forgotten and his inheritance lost.’
“And she determined then and there he was the man for me. She also rejoiced for Yaweh had not forgotten her. Well…I never dreamed of being a bride again. And when Naomi encouraged me to approach Boaz at the threshing floor I wanted to run. How terrifying! Ask him…to marry me? Now you may consider me brazen but this was the Jewish law, God’s covering for a childless widow. Only because I trusted this god-fearing woman, only because I knew how fiercely she loved me… did I take such a risk.
“Would Boaz laugh? Would he sneer? Would he brush me off with an offering of wheat and say, ‘Go home. I can’t marry you. Take care of Naomi. That’s where you belong.’?
“But that didn’t happen. Boaz seemed happy to bring me into his home. However, there was a small problem. There was a closer relative, one who was next in line to purchase Mahlon’s inheritance, and marry me. I gasped and my heart sank. I just knew this was Boaz’s exit…his perfect excuse for turning me aside.
“But I would mar this other man’s inheritance. Marrying me would corrupt his sterling reputation. Marrying me would bring him shame, disgrace. And why would this nearer kinsman make such sacrifice to purchase Mahlon’s land when a child born from our union would become its heir?
“The closer relative had declared, ‘Not that one. There must be a better one. She’s been marred.’ But his rejection became Boaz’s gift.
“At the midnight hour, with blazing torches and dancing feet, Boaz’s bridal party made their way to Naomi’s home. Quickly I donned my lovely gown and met him at the door. I was swept off my feet!
“Gazing serenely into my bridegroom’s deep brown eyes, I whispered a question. ‘Why have I found favor with you seeing I am a stranger from a foreign land?’
“Taking me into his arms, his reply surprised me. ‘Oh, but I have seen the yearning in your heart for the things of God. I have reflected upon your diligence and virtue and know you are a vessel chosen for Yaweh’s glory. How could I resist such beauty? I’ve searched for you all my life.’
“Oh how my heart swelled with love! And now the slave in the field has become the owner of the field. My inheritance is secured by my beloved who has lavishly poured his love upon me. No longer cast off but cherished I am.
“What foolishness and utter delight that I, Ruth, have become the mother of Obed, the ancestor of David, from whom sprang forth the Christ the Son of the Living God!”
And I, who had been planted in the midst of God’s redeeming love, was forever changed!
Can Ruth’s story be yours? Yes, beloved.
That’s why the Lord put this tiny powerful book in His Word—just—for you!