Reading in Ruth today, I felt like my old teacher days when I would be working on lessons during the week.
Here are some thoughts “gleaned” today from the reading in Ruth.
Today I read the short book of Ruth and even as I have read this so many times, it occurred to me for the first time the stark contrast between the treatment of women in the last three chapters of Judges versus the story of Ruth.
I will preface the comments to support this with the way Naomi and Boaz obviously followed God with their lives.
In the first chapter, when Naomi has lost her husband and both of her sons, and is now returning to her home country with two Moabite daughter-in-laws in tow, she urges them to return to their people and maybe they can marry again and have children and such.
Both want to stay with her, but one does turn back. Ruth, however, insists that she will not leave Naomi and she uses these words:
For wherever you to, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your PEOPLE shall be my people, and your God, my God.Ruth 1: 16
Obviously Naomi’s life had been clearly one of following God and Ruth had come to be a God-follower as well because of it.
We also see in Boaz many referenced quotes of the Lord and God and he followed the commandment to leave the edges of the field unharvested for the poor and widows to glean.
So all the language of the book of Ruth shows that not all the people of God during the time of Judges were doing whatever seemed right in there own eyes. And in the book, we see the difference this makes.
Boaz has heard of Ruth’s love and care for her mother-in-law. This means that the people of the area had spoken with respect of this Moabite woman who had left her own people to be a part of their community.
“Why have if found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner.”
And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how yo uhave left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people who you did not know before. The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”Ruth 2: 10-12
Also Boaz makes sure Ruth is protected physically as she gleans, by commanding the men to treat her respectfully. He assures her she can come and get water when needed and to rest in the shelter when tired.
He also provides for her and Naomi by telling the harvesters to leave extra sheaves for her to find and finally he guards her reputation by telling them not to embarrass her if she takes too much or gleans in the wrong places.
Finally, he allows Ruth the ability to work for her family. He doesn’t just give her grain and send her off, he gives her the dignity of earning her wages as she cared for her mother-in-law. There is a value to feeling we have done a good day’s work and he did not rob her of this.
While the customs of the time are odd to us and may seem far from the way we think women should be able to live and work in our modern world, for the times they were living in we see nothing but counter-culture respect for Ruth and for Naomi.
What a refreshing balm to know that this is God’s heart for women. The events at the end of Judges were not done, not one single activity, with respect to following God. These were men at their worst.
Be assured God is for us. He is not limited by whatever the culture or times deem to be the way women should be treated. In the book of Ruth we see nothing but honor and respect displayed.
I may just have to read Ruth one extra time this year and mark down all the ways God shows His character in the story.
Blessings on this day, friends.
You are deeply loved <3