Character on Display
A student of the Bible could delve in to the book of Ruth and have plenty to speculate about. There are questions that come to my mind as I read the story as to why some things were done. How were some decisions made that seem to have some characters from God's people at odds with His will? Surely it was not God's will that a family would have to leave their home in the promised land and go live in not only a strange land... but a land of fierce, life long enemies that would certainly not have their best interest at heart. The circumstances that lead Elimelech to take his family to Moab must have been severe and dire indeed, but we shouldn't really speculate further than that. What we know is his wife Naomi found herself in a tough situation, in a tough place, at a tough time for God's people. God saw fit to preserve the story of Naomi and Ruth and so it is worthy of our consideration of the lessons found here as we listen and observe.
One of the first things I notice is that Naomi displays good character from the beginning. After suffering great tragedy in the death of her husband and then two sons, Naomi is loved and respected by her daughters in law. They would have been raised much differently than Naomi and also different from the way Naomi had raised her sons. With Naomi there was an acknowledgment of Jehovah as God and not some other god of the Moabites. The daughters in law were fine with that and in fact Ruth is convinced enough to share Naomi's faith in Jehovah as the one true and living God. Naomi must have felt alone as she faced her challenges but she had an ear open to God, Ruth 1:6. The devotion of Ruth to Naomi certainly suggests that Naomi possessed the faith and character that God desires and expects His children to have.
The interaction of Ruth and Boaz as they meet and develop a relationship shows the character that each had. They were obviously attracted to each other but their first act was not to satisfy their physical lusts but to maintain self control. Ruth had a name for being a woman of character among the whole town, Ruth 3:11. Boaz knew the Law of Moses and what was expected of him as a kinsman of Ruth's dead husband. Boaz further reveals his good character as he followed the will of the Lord in the entire matter, Ruth 4:1-12. In the end they were together and shared in the genealogy of the Messiah, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Ruth 4:17 & Matthew 1:5.
Just a few lessons we can take from Ruth:
- ALWAYS have an ear open to God’s will
- NEVER underestimate God's ability to carry out His will regardless of the actions, rebellion or ignorance of man
- Appreciate the Godly character of others in our lives that have it.
- Allow those influences to add to our character.
- Display that character when:
--- life is easy AND when it's tough
--- when others are watching AND when no one is watching
--- when your faith is strong AND when it is weak
--- when you have all the answers AND when you have none
--- when you are happy AND when you are sad
--- when you are pleased with others AND when you are angry
Do you have the integrity to allow the character of God to be displayed through you at all times ???