In the upper room this week we came near the end of Ruth’s story.
We relished in the first few verses of the final chapter of Ruth. Boaz redeemed Naomi’s property, and got Ruth in the deal. In this intriguing saga, Ruth finally became Boaz’s wife. No longer would she be called Mahlon’s widow, or that foreigner, or the Moabitess. She was now wife to the one in Bethlehem who was known and respected in his community. Along with her title came all the privileges, benefits, and standing that were his. She found the rest that Naomi sought for her. She took off her widow’s garb and exchanged it for a wedding gown. A song flutters through my mind:
I’m trading my sorrows. I’m trading my pain. I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord. I’m trading my sickness. I’m trading my shame. I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord.
Ah, Ruth, you have drawn us a picture of a Proverbs 31 woman, a woman of nobel character, a woman who fears the Lord. And just as promised, “she shall be praised.” By laying down at Boaz’s feet, Ruth demonstrated a sweet surrender, a willingness to wait for a faithful man to stand true to his word.
Can you see yourself laying your life down, surrendering absolutely everything to the Lord Jesus Christ, and waiting with hopeful endurance for Him to fulfill His word in you and through you? It is that kind of sweet surrender that brings rest and the promise of every spiritual blessing He offers.
Ruth’s story was not what I am accustomed to seeing on TV or on a movie. The beauty of these characters was revealed from the inside out. Their ordinary lives provided a backdrop as we watched God’s providential hand move until Ruth and Boaz were face to face. Their meeting, their marriage was part of a greater plan.
Perhaps now we’d like to hear, “And they lived happily ever after.” But we know better. Just being a wife and mother will bring Ruth untold challenges. I believe she was in it for the long haul, a “long obedience” Kelly Minter described it. It is an obedience that does the right thing even when it is hard, even when it looks like a long, dark road to travel before daylight. Even when we weep while we still press forward.
In the pages of Scripture we discover real people experiencing real life with real problems. The enduring theme from Genesis to Revelations is God’s involvement in their lives and His unrelenting love for them. His love reaches the world and each of us individually, as amazing as that is to try to comprehend. It is the greatest love story ever written.