THE FAITH OF RUTH

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

MARCH 22, 2024

TOPIC: THE FAITH OF RUTH

BY T. O. BANSO

“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. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17 New International Version).

Following the death of Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, and her two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, she decided to return from Moab to Bethlehem in Judah when she heard that the Lord had come to the aid of her people in Bethlehem by providing food for them. Elimelech had gone with his family to Moab because there was famine in Bethlehem but, unfortunately, he and his two sons died there leaving behind his wife and two daughters-in-law who had no child.

Naomi, together with her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, left where she had been living in Moab and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

But Naomi discouraged her two daughters-in-law from going with her to the land of Judah. “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband” (Ruth 1:8-9a New International Version). Naomi kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said they would go back with her to her people.”

However, Naomi gave them a picture of the hopelessness awaiting them in Bethlehem, telling them she could not give birth to other sons who could grow up to be their husbands. See Naomi’s words: Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!” (Ruth 1:11-13 New International Version).

Again, they wept aloud together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi; she insisted that she would go with Naomi. Naomi tried further to dissuade Ruth, telling her that Orpah, her sister-in-law, was going back to her people and her gods, and pleaded with Ruth to go back with her.

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.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17 New International Version). When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her to go back.

What a declaration of faith by Ruth! Ruth may have believed in the God of Israel before this time by marriage. Though a Moabite, Ruth was a woman of faith. Without a child yet and a gloomy picture of not having a husband in the land of Judah painted by her mother-in-law who should know better, Ruth was not moved. She left the gods of her country and committed her future to the hand of God. She was not moved by the possibility of never getting married again or having a child. What a rare demonstration of faith!

How many young ladies today can do what Ruth did? Some men and women are outside the will of God for their lives because of their desperation to get married or have children. They rejected divine guidance and godly counsel just to have their way. Nevertheless, sooner or later, they will reap the consequences of their actions. Some of such people are already regretting their decisions. If they had another opportunity, they would make a different decision.

Naomi and Ruth finally arrived in Bethlehem, neither of them knowing what awaited them. Ruth had committed her life to the hand of the God of Israel. Unknown to her and her mother-in-law, God had prepared a husband for her even when Naomi had no positive expectations of her daughters-in-law getting married. As Ruth remained loyal to her mother-in-law and followed her instructions and guidance in Bethlehem, God gave her a husband, Boaz, a relation of her dead husband who had heard of her loyalty to her mother-in-law. If Orpah had not gone back at the request of Naomi, she could also have gotten another relation of her deceased husband to marry her.

By placing her faith in the true God, Ruth got a husband! Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, ‘Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon.  I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!” (Ruth 4:9-10 New International Version).

The elders and other witnesses blessed the marriage and Ruth became Boaz’s wife. She conceived and gave birth to a son, Obed. Because of Ruth’s faith in God, Naomi who had lost all hope of having a son, had a reason to rejoice because she had a son through Ruth! The women said to Naomi: ‘Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.’ Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, ‘Naomi has a son!’ And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David” (verses 14-17 New International Version).

Ruth remained loyal to her mother-in-law, as she had vowed. Nothing separated them. Through her, God restored joy to Naomi. Also, Ruth’s faith brought her into the genealogy of Jesus Christ. She is one of the five women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ in the book of Matthew: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba whose name is not mentioned), and Mary. By faith, Ruth’s name is included in the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah! Matthew 1:5-6 says, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David” (New International Version). Jesus the Messiah was called the son of David, who was of the tribe of Judah.

Take up your cross and follow Jesus. Jesus says, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39 New International Version). Emulate the faith of Ruth by taking up your cross and following Jesus. Don’t let any life’s problems discourage you. Some people could have considered Ruth as being stupid when she decided to go with her widowed mother-in-law who had told her there was no prospect of a husband for her in Bethlehem. But Ruth found her life because she lost it! God rewarded her faith.

Many are losing their lives today because they are trying to save it. But if you want to ‘find’ your life, as a disciple of Christ, you must deny yourself and follow Jesus, suffering or dying for Him if need be. Matthew 16:24-25 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity]’” (Amplified Bible).

Ruth left her comfort zone in her country to go to Bethlehem to start a new life (Ruth 2:11). She placed her faith in the living God instead of the gods of her country. God rewarded Ruth’s decision and faith in Him. If you emulate the faith of Ruth, you will not regret it, for more than the earthly reward, there is an eternal reward waiting for you. As a disciple of Christ, deny yourself. Set aside selfish interests. Take up your cross and follow Him even when you don’t know what is ahead of you. You are in a safe hand.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to leave my comfort zone and follow Jesus. I shall take up my cross and follow Jesus. I shall lose my life for His sake so that I will find it.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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