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Lessons from Ruth: Day 4

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory he sheds on our way. While we do His good will, He abides with us still; and for all who will trust and obey.
John H.Sammis 1887

Ruth is the story of great love. But it is also a story of great faith.
When Naomi arrives back in Bethlehem, she is nearly paralyzed with hopelessness. Though a stranger in a strange culture, Ruth, sees what needs to be done. With Naomi’s permission, she goes out looking for food. She brings back dinner and this report:
As it turns out, she [Ruth] found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimilech.” (Ruth 2:3). Boaz notices a stranger gleaning in his fields and ask his foreman who she is. Boaz then calls Ruth over and instructs her to stay in his fields and under his protection. When Ruth asks why he is so kind to a foreigner, Boaz replies, “I have 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)
Upon hearing all this, Naomi blesses Boaz; she isn’t in Moab anymore. Both the provision and the goodness of the Law of the God of Israel bring hope flooding back in Naomi’s soul. She becomes Ruth’s tutor in faith-filled obedience to its good instruction.
Boaz was a man of nobility, grace and godliness. Bethlehem was not a large place, so word got around pretty fast; the “word” on Ruth was in regard to her astonishing integrity and kindness. That caught Boaz’ attention-- which says everything about him. The beauties of Bethlehem may have turned his head, but not his heart. For many years, perhaps, he had looked for a woman of “purity and reverence…the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight.’ (I Pet. 3:3,4) And he was willing to wait, in faith, for God to bring her.
And Ruth. How does the seeker become the sanctified? Through the obedience that comes by faith and the faith that comes by obedience. It is both a gift and a task. Ruth’s emotional profession was followed by hard work and an unquestioning obedience, even when it took her to uncomfortable places.
Is our faith burned-out or worn thin? Naomi encourages us that renewed obedience is the key to renewed faith. Are we tired of waiting for God to give us our heart’s desire? Boaz proves that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20) in response to our patient faith. Finally, Ruth shows us that true faith is not merely a decision, but a journey.

Nancy Shirah

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