Ruth lived in a land of darkness. In some ways her world was not unlike ours. Babies were sacrificed in order to gain personal well-being. Moab was a godless country. Despair reigned instead of hope.
The one bright spot in Ruth’s life was her mother-in-law, Naomi. There is irony here. Naomi had lost her husband and two sons as a result of her husband’s ill-advised plan to find a better life in Moab. Yet, even in Naomi’s bitterness and sadness, she still retained her faith in the Lord of Hosts. This faith was observed by Ruth and began to grow within her. Ruth embraced Naomi’s God, the God of Israel, as her own God with these famous words:
“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
What was it that caused Ruth to claim the covenant promises of Israel’s God for herself? She had seen her husband, her father-in-law, and her brother-in-law die in Moab. She had seen the sadness of Naomi. She knew Israel was no longer the political and military power that it was during the conquest of Canaan under Joshua. She knew Naomi had no promise of prosperity once they returned to Israel. Not a bright future!
Nonetheless, through power of the Holy Spirit, Ruth was drawn to the God of Naomi.
As Ruth arose from the ashes of a miserable life in Moab, God caused the power of life-giving faith to flourish in her. This young woman entrusted her life to Naomi’s God. She cared for her mother-in-law; she respectfully followed Naomi’s direction; in doing so, she followed Naomi’s counsel to present herself to Boaz. In all of this, Ruth demonstrated that the faith that lived in Naomi now burned brightly within her.
In darkness came light. In despair came hope. In faithlessness came blessing. From the womb of a foreigner came royal offspring. Ruth became the grandmother of King David and ancestor to Jesus Christ, the King of Kings!
In our world today, things are dark indeed—but the God of Naomi and Ruth still lives! He still brings hope from the ashes of life. Tell your children about Ruth. Remind them of the power of faith that God gives as a gift to his children. Remind your children that God’s purpose for all of history still stands. No one can turn back his hand. Show your children the power of the faith living in you. Do not be overwhelmed with the darkness. Your God reigns!