Friday, May 25, 2012

Stories of Daughters Redeemed: Gleaning from Ruth

Stories of Daughters Redeemed

I don't know about you, but I LOVE hearing other people's stories. Where they come from, who they are, what makes them's fascinating to me! So, I've decided to make Fridays story time here at Daughter Redeemed. Each Friday (lord-willing), I will be sharing Stories of Daughters Redeemed. The redeemed daughter may be someone famous or she may be someone unknown. She may be living for Christ now or she may be gone on to glory. But all of these women will have one story in common...their story of redemption in Christ.

A Diamond in the Rough

Today, I thought it fitting to start out the series with this blog's namesake...Ruth.

Ruth is one of my favorite characters in the bible. To me, her story is one of the most beautiful stories of redemption ever told.

A while back, our church went through a series on the book of Judges. If you've never read Judges, it's a pretty heavy book. Lots of darkness. Lots of sin. And it ends with one of the most tragic lines of the bible, "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

But I remember our pastor referring to the book of Ruth as "the diamond in the rough." All this darkness, all this sin...but there's a glimmer of hope in the book of Ruth.

Where the book of Judges ends, the book of Ruth picks up, with the first line reading, "In the days when the judges ruled..."

 At first, we don't see the diamond. It looks like all rough. The judges were ruling. There was a famine in the land. Ruth's husband had died, along with all the other men in her family. She, her sister-in-law, and her mother-in-law Naomi, were left to fend for themselves.

Naomi, realizing that she had no way to care for the girls, encouraged them to return to their homeland. One daughter-in-law left, but Ruth was determined to stay. She was fiercely loyal to her mother-in-law. A trait that I have always admired in her.

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”

Ruth decided to follow the one true God, and she and Naomi traveled back to Bethlehem together...just in time for barley harvest. And Ruth, out of care for her mother-in-law, set out to the fields to "glean" after the harvesters. While in the fields, she happened to come to the part of the field which belonged to a man named Boaz who took particular interest in her...

“Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.”

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”

Then she said,“I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

When she returned home, Naomi--in typical mother-in law fashion--asked whose field she had worked in that day. When Ruth told her about Boaz, Naomi praised God, for she knew that Boaz was a relative and a redeemer.  You see, at this time, if a woman was widowed, an unmarried man in the family could take her as his own bride so that she and her family would be taken care of.  This man was called a kinsman redeemer.  Naomi recognized that Boaz was a potential "kinsman redeemer" and praised God for bringing him into their life.

Boaz eventually redeems Ruth (and Naomi, by association).  Before the elders and all the people of the land, he takes Ruth as wife, and the people and the elders pronounce a blessing on the couple on their offspring.  The bible says that they then conceived and bore a son.  

And then one of the most beautiful lines in the book reads...

The women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!"  

You see, God had not just delivered Naomi and Ruth from hunger and poverty.  This was just a small part of an even bigger redemption story.  For through the baby boy who was born to Boaz and Ruth, would come another baby boy who would one day redeem not just a family, but an entire people to himself by dying on a cross.  Jesus, our true kinsman redeemer.  A diamond in the rough.

"Gleaning" from Ruth

In Ruth's story, we see a tremendous example of simple, yet profound trust.  She deserted all that she knew, all that she follow the one true God.  When she was poor and hungry, the bible says that she took refuge under the wings of her redeemer.  At one point, she even laid herself down at the feet of her redeemer, surrendering herself to his care.

Today, I encourage you to have that same level of trust in your own kinsman redeemer.  Lay yourself down at his feet.  Surrender to his care.  Blessed are you, daughter, for he has not left you this day without a redeemer!

Do you have a recommendation for Stories of Daughters Redeemed?  If so, please leave a comment below!

No comments:

Post a Comment