(originally published July 29, 2012)
Reading Ruth 3, you would instinctively think that the idea most drawn to is Ruth coming to the feet of Boaz in the middle of the night. See, already you wonder if this can really be in the Bible! It is indeed...I couldn't make this stuff up! However, as I read through the chapter, I can't help but be drawn to Ruth's character. A woman who displays faith, humility and kindness to all of those around her. In fact, I can't help but think of the resemblance between her and the Proverbs 31 woman.
Ruth and Boaz are great examples to us. Your everyday people highlighted for their faith and obedience. Ruth was a woman of faith, no doubt. She had a genuine conversion on the road to Bethlehem and continued her journey to the new land. She believed that God would provide for her and Naomi (Ruth 2.2) as she went out to glean. She believed and she trusted in the midst of difficulty. Dear friend, if there's one thing we can be sure of it's that no matter how difficult our season may be, we must believe and trust God to provide and be who He is...good. As difficult as some times may be, if we can't allow our faith to be stretched to the place of trusting God, our faith will never grow. We will never see the fullness of what God wants to do in our lives.
Ruth was also a woman of great humility. When Naomi instructs her to go to the feet of Boaz and essentially propose a proposal, she willingly submits to such a bizarre request. She doesn't fight Naomi, or tell her it's a crazy idea, or suggest another route. She quickly and willingly submits, gets all dolled up and heads to the threshing floor.
She also is a woman of hesed, or loving kindness. She shows great kindness to Naomi and Boaz, as he indicates in verse 10.
" You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich."
Ruth showed hesed, the characteristic most attributed to God in the Bible. A characteristic that we are called to show to the people around us.
Ruth is a virtuous woman, as so is the man who's feet she lays at. Boaz and Ruth are a great match in that way. Two people of great virtue brought together through God's providence and goodness. I believe there is a lot to be said through this story.
As Ruth walked in kindness, faith and humility, she was commended by the man that she loved. HE noticed her excellence and virtue and honored her for it by answering his own prayer in chapter 2 for her. But more than that, God noticed her excellence and virtue.
I have heard the saying, "character is who you are when no one is watching." Ruth certainly had no idea that her life would be highlighted to such an extent, but millions look to her as an example. Imagine what God wants to do through His people that have great character. It's in the moments when we think no one is watching or there is no reward for our actions that character is noticed by God.
May you and I be people who can be called men and women of virtue like Ruth and Boaz. Operate in faith when hope is near gone. Respond in humility to the opportunities presented to you. Extend loving kindness to all those around. You may never know who your life is touching?