We serve a faithful God. There is a story in the Bible of a widow named Naomi, her faithful daughter-in-law Ruth, and Boaz, their kinsman-redeemer. You can read the story in its entirety in The Book of Ruth. It is an inspiring story that proves that our God is faithful.
There was a famine in the land of Israel. A certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, named Elimelech, took his wife Naomi, and his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, to dwell in Moab to escape the famine. While they were in Moab, Naomi’s husband, Elimelech died. After his death, Naomi’s sons took wives of the women of Moab; the name of one was Orpah, and the name of the other was Ruth. They lived in Moab for about ten years. But then Mahlon and Chilion died. Naomi and her two daughters-in-law were now widows in a foreign land. They were alone, their husbands were dead, and they had no income.
When Naomi heard that the famine was over in Judah, she and her two daughters-in-law left Moab to return there. On the way, she told her daughters-in-law that they should go back to their mother’s house. Naomi thought they might have a better chance of finding husbands among their people than if they remained with her. But her two daughters-in-law refused to leave her.
But Naomi insisted that they leave. “Turn back,” she said, “Why will you go with me? Can I bear more sons, to give you husbands? Go back, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I should say I have hope if I could have a husband tonight and bear more sons, would you wait for them to grow up? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; go to your mother’s house; for it grieves me very much for your sake that the hand of the LORD has come against me!” This time Orpah kissed Naomi and left, but Ruth remained faithful and would not leave.
By now, discouragement was trying to take root in Naomi’s heart. She was beginning to feel hopeless. The enemy had begun to whisper in Naomi’s ear, telling her that she was too old to have the good life that she had planned for. But what Nomi did not know is that God was with her in her despair.
Like Naomi, you might be all alone in your situation. That is the time to remember that you serve a faithful God. He promised to never leave you. If you trust Him, He will comfort you in your loneliness. That is the time to look for God to send somebody like Ruth to you. Ruth will never leave you; Ruth is a friend to death. Remain faithful to God and Ruth will show up.
Our God Is Trustworthy
For the third time, Naomi insisted that Ruth leave her. She said, “Look! Your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; go with her!” But Ruth said: “Please don’t ask me to leave you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to stay with her, she ceased asking her to leave. Then Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem.
You might be in a challenging situation in which the odds are suddenly turned against you. The pain associated with losing a loved one can be overwhelming. But don’t lose hope. Determine that you will remain faithful to God. Do not allow the voice of the enemy to speak through your emotions and cause you to doubt God. Even in your discouragement, continue to have faith in God. Be assured, He will deliver you. If you continue to fight the good fight of faith, God will show up and take control of the fight.
You Can Overcome Discouragement
When Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem, people in the city were excited to see them. One of the women asked, “Is this Naomi?” Naomi replied, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty God, has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD has brought me home empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”
Naomi means pleasantness; Mara means bitter. Naomi had become bitter. In essence, she was saying, “There is nothing pleasant about me. Can’t you see that I am cursed by God?” The enemy had begun to whisper in Naomi’s ear and she was listening. Because she had lost so much, she had forgotten that the God she served is faithful.
The enemy will visit you in the same way that he visited Naomi. He will try to tell you that God has forsaken you. But don’t listen to him. Don’t allow your feelings to control your destiny. If you remain devoted to God, He will see you through your sadness.
Ruth Meets Her Redeemer
It was the beginning of the barley harvest when Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem. Ruth was now a believer; she was now in Israel. Not only was she dedicated to Naomi, but she had forsaken Baal, the Moabite god. Ruth now accepted Naomi’s God as her own God. Ruth was a believer.
Boaz owned a wheat field in Judah. But Ruth was a Moabite. She knew the Moabites were considered outcasts in Israel. Therefore, she asked Naomi’s permission to go into the wheat fields so that she might find favor. But what Ruth did not know is that God was already working on her behalf to bless her.
So Ruth went into the wheat fields to glean after the reapers. When Boaz entered the field and saw Ruth, he inquired of his servant in charge of his fields about her. “She is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from Moab,” said the servant. Then Boaz commanded his men not to touch her, nor restrain her from gleaning. He even ordered them to drop grain purposely for Ruth to glean.
God Is Unwavering and He Knows Your Name
It had been told to Boaz all that Ruth had done for her mother-in-law, since the death of her husband. He also knew that she had forsaken the land of her gods to seek safety under the wings of the God of Israel. Therefore, Boaz showed her favor. He made sure that she had enough grain to feed herself and her mother-in-law.
Naomi was overjoyed at the amount of grain Ruth brought home that evening. When she asked Ruth where she had worked today, Ruth told her that she had worked with Boaz. Naomi was even more pleased. She said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!”
God knows how to build confidence in His people. While God was blessing Ruth, He was rebuilding confidence in Naomi. Naomi was in the process of rekindling her hope. The grain that Ruth brought home that day was enough to remind Naomi that God had not forsaken her and He had not forgotten her husband, nor their sons.
You might be working on a job that might not pay much, but if you remain faithful, God will bring you to the place of overflow. Don’t forget that it was God who gave you that low-paying job. Being faithful to God also means being faithful to your job. Now is not the time to be slack. Continue to show up on time and work as though you were working for God. Our God is faithful. He knows who you are and He has not forsaken you. God knows the sacrifices that you are making. If you continue to trust Him, God will provide you with increase.
Boaz Speaks for Ruth
Ruth visited Boaz one night while he was winnowing wheat on the threshing floor. When he had finished working, and he was ready to retire for the night, she said to Boaz, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing for you are a close relative.” Boaz replied, “I am indeed a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. If he will perform the duty of a close relative for you, let him do it. If he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will do it.”
According to Jewish tradition, a close relative could act as a protector or guarantor of the family’s rights. A close relative could perform several duties. Those duties include: (1) buying back property that the family had sold; (2) providing an heir for a deceased brother by marrying that brother’s wife and producing a child with her; (3) buying back a family member who had been sold into slavery due to poverty; and (4) avenging a murdered relative by killing the murderer.
Boaz went up to the gate in the morning, and behold, the close relative of whom he had spoken came by. Boaz called him aside and asked him to sit with him. Then Boaz went and found ten city elders and also asked them to sit with him. Then, in the presence of the elders, he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab sold the land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. And I thought to ask you to buy it back in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will not buy it, then I will buy it, for I am next in line.”
Boaz Redeems Ruth
When Boaz finished speaking the close relative said: “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth, the Moabite, the wife of Naomi’s deceased son to perpetuate his name through his inheritance.” The close relative then said, “I cannot redeem it for myself lest I ruin my inheritance. Buy it for yourself.” Therefore, Boaz bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s from Naomi. He also acquired Ruth as his wife, to perpetuate the name of Elimelech.
Christ Is Our Devoted Boaz
This story of Naomi and Ruth illustrates God’s work of salvation. The story begins with Ruth as an outsider and a stranger. It ends with Ruth as a member of the covenant community of God, and all because she married Boaz. Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer. The story also illustrates our deepening relationship with the Lord. Ruth does not even know that Boaz exists. She was nothing more than a laborer receiving gifts from the owner of the field whom she did not know and had never met.
Boaz is a type of Christ; a shadow so to speak. He redeemed Ruth by paying the price so that she might be recognized in God’s family. Today we have a chance to experience Jesus; He is the real Boaz. He redeemed us by paying the price for our disobedience to God with His blood.
Harvest time is nearing. Jesus, the real Boaz, will be coming into the fields to meet His bride. What better time than now to find your place in the harvest fields? We have been assured of salvation through God’s redemption plan. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Today, you can receive redemption by faith, for the word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that is, the word of faith (Romans 10:8).