Ruth: Called to be more than a pretty face

Rebel. Unconventional. Spy. I’ve heard it all. You’d think I’m the first person to marry someone who isn’t Moabite. 

Okay, maybe I am. It’s not like we don’t have anything in common.  Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I haven’t listened and learned. The Moabites and Isrealites are cousins, literally.

And it doesn’t hurt that my “foreign” husband is handsome. And if his good looks and the excitement of marrying someone a little different from my family isn’t enough, I love the way his family has embraced me. I think Naomi is lonely since Elimelech died.

Elimelech died and Naomi was left, she and her two sons. The sons took Moabite wives; the name of the first was Orpah, the second Ruth. They lived there in Moab for the next ten years. 
Ruth 1: 3-4 MSG


This has been a good life, mostly.  Naomi has taught me so much about keeping a home, and Orpah has become a good friend.

I pray some day God will bless me with children. We have waited so long. Our children will learn how family takes care of each other. Naomi says their God, Jehovah, loves the Isrealites as His children. She says she shows her love for Him by loving us.

But then the two brothers, Mahlon and Kilion, died. Now the woman was left without either her young men or her husband.
6-7 One day she got herself together, she and her two daughters-in-law, to leave the country of Moab and set out for home; she had heard that God had been pleased to visit his people and give them food. And so she started out from the place she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law with her, on the road back to the land of Judah.
8-9 After a short while on the road, Naomi told her two daughters-in-law, “Go back. Go home and live with your mothers. And may God treat you as graciously as you treated your deceased husbands and me. May God give each of you a new home and a new husband!” She kissed them and they cried openly.

18-19 When Naomi saw that Ruth had her heart set on going with her, she gave in. And so the two of them traveled on together to Bethlehem.
​Ruth 1: 5-9, 18-19 

Naomi is so strong and decisive. I have no idea what lies ahead. But, here I am, no husband, no children. What do I have to lose? If Naomi is up for the journey, then I’m up for the adventure…

The journey and her losses have taken their toll on Naomi. I’m thankful she has friends and family here in Bethlehem, but it looks like its up to me to make a living for us. Good thing it’s harvest time.

Naomi had a relative named Boaz, a rich and influential man who belonged to the family of her husband Elimelech. One day Ruth said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields to gather the grain that the harvest workers leave. I am sure to find someone who will let me work with him.”
Naomi answered, “Go ahead, daughter.”
So Ruth went out to the fields and walked behind the workers, picking up the heads of grain which they left. It so happened that she was in a field that belonged to Boaz.
​Ruth 2: 1-3 GNT


Okay, so it’s not the most glamorous job in the world, but lots of other women are out here picking up the harvest scraps. There seems to be plenty for Naomi and I to live on.

I wonder if Naomi’s cousin told the harvesters to leave a little extra behind. Boaz seems genuinely kind, and a pretty nice piece of eye candy, too. 

22 Naomi said to Ruth, “Yes, daughter, it will be better for you to work with the women in Boaz’ field. You might be molested if you went to someone else’s field.” 23 So Ruth worked with them and gathered grain until all the barley and wheat had been harvested. And she continued to live with her mother-in-law.
​Ruth 2: 22-23 GNT

Now that we’re not worried about starving to death, Naomi has made up her mind to find me a husband. I sure hope this plan of hers works out.

So Ruth went to the threshing place and did just what her mother-in-law had told her. When Boaz had finished eating and drinking, he was in a good mood. He went to the pile of barley and lay down to sleep. Ruth slipped over quietly, lifted the covers and lay down at his feet. During the night he woke up suddenly, turned over, and was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet. 

“Who are you?” he asked.

“It’s Ruth, sir,” she answered. “Because you are a close relative, you are responsible for taking care of me. So please marry me.”
Ruth 3: 6 – 9 GNT


Amazing! Boaz is kind, attractive, and a bargaining genius. He’s bought the field that belonged to my father-in-law, and made a way for us to get married. I can’t imagine how things can get any better.

13 So Boaz took Ruth home as his wife. The Lordblessed her, and she became pregnant and had a son. 14 The women said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord! He has given you a grandson today to take care of you. May the boy become famous in Israel! 15 Your daughter-in-law loves you, and has done more for you than seven sons. And now she has given you a grandson, who will bring new life to you and give you security in your old age.” 16 Naomi took the child, held him close,[c] and took care of him.
17 The women of the neighborhood named the boy Obed. They told everyone, “A son has been born to Naomi!”
Obed became the father of Jesse, who was the father of David.
​Ruth 4: 13 – 17



Dear Reader, commentaries and Bible studies looked at Ruth as analogy for the people of Isreal and their perpetual cycle of sin-punishment-repentance-redemption. For me, the lessons of Ruth’s story are much more basic.

Ruth reminds us that the tragedies of life can be swift and life-changing. No big surprise there. But that’s just the opening act for the big idea.

Moabites and Isrealites were similar in a lot of ways, but that didn’t mean Ruth was fluent in the ways of Jehovah. Nevertheless, she kept doing the right thing despite her losses.

Long before Jesus told His disciples to “love one another”, Ruth was living His gospel of agape love. Her story gives us hope that whether anyone else sees our good deeds or not, our Heavenly Father does.

Well-spoken words bring satisfaction;
    well-done work has its own reward.
Proverbs 12:14 MSG


Thanks for joining me for the “Called to Be More than a Pretty Face” series. I pray it has inspired you as much as it has me.  I hope you’ll stop by for my new Bible Study series, “God’s Little Letters” beginning next week.

0 thoughts on “Ruth: Called to be more than a pretty face”

  1. “Nevertheless, she kept doing the right thing despite her losses.” May we go and do likewise! God always redeems the situations in the end. We just sometimes have to wait longer than we want. But the reward will always come. Thanks for sharing this retelling, Alice.

    1. Alice V Walters

      You are more than welcome, Lisa! Accounts like the one about Ruth remind me of how generous the heart of God is to offer us His encouragement.

  2. I love how you unpacked this Scripture, Alice! There’s nothing I love more than a new way to deeply enter into God’s Word and connect on a new level. Thanks for taking me there!

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