By Kelly Carr
Today we conclude our series on Settling in the Promised Land. We’ve looked at Joshua leading the Israelites to battle their way into the land God gave them. We considered the ups and downs of the Israelites in Judges as they turned to and away from God over and again. We now zoom in on one particular family in the book of Ruth who returned to the land of promise.
Word Got Around
I’ve read the account of Ruth many times over the years, and there are so many lessons to gather from this short but powerful story. While reading this time, God’s Spirit showed me some things anew.
I observed that when Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem, it had a small town vibe I hadn’t noticed before. “The whole town was stirred because of them” (Ruth 1:19). Naomi had been gone from her hometown at least a decade (v. 4), and it was big news that she had returned.
Of course Naomi had someone tagging along, and she must have praised Ruth’s dedication to everyone, because that piece of the story was discussed in the small town as well. In fact, when Ruth first met Boaz, he had already heard of her.
Boaz said, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before” (Ruth 2:11). What a nice reputation for Ruth to have in this new town—received as a woman of love, kindness, and sacrifice.
I enjoy how Boaz went on to say, “May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (Ruth 2:12). He indicated that Ruth’s actions didn’t just honor her mother-in-law and her late husband—her actions also showed a submissive spirit to God himself. And God is the one who provided a redeemer for both Ruth and Naomi.
Our Journey to God
Verse 12 about seeking refuge under God’s wings really struck me. What a beautiful description of not only Ruth’s story but our journey to God as well:
• Like Ruth we seek after the Lord from foreign lands—we humbly approach God’s holiness from a sinful condition.
• Just as Ruth worked to provide for Naomi and herself, we are doing our best to work hard—but it will never be enough on our own. We can’t earn our holiness. We need one to redeem us.
• As Ruth’s family was redeemed by Boaz, we are welcomed into the family of God because he has shown mercy and love to us. Jesus has purchased our lives as our Redeemer.
Surely we will be richly rewarded on many levels when we continue to seek refuge under the Lord’s wings.