I recently re-read the Book of Ruth and wanted to share with you 4 things that stood out to me.
1. Naomie was going through it!
I sometimes feel that we overlook the pain that Naomie had to endure and the selfless act she showcased while mourning. Naomie took on the role of a mentor for Ruth when she was really not in the position to do so. She lost her husband and two sons (one of which was Ruth's husband) so you can only imagine the burden and pain that Naomie endured (Ruth 1:3-5). However, despite her current losses, Naomie decided to allow Ruth to go back home with her to Bethlehem. As a result, Naomie found herself coaching Ruth when she discovered that she had met Boaz.
I do not know about you but I believe that Naomie deserves a round of applause. Why? Instead of her going back home to grieve, she decided to lead. Naomie guided Ruth towards her Boaz after dealing with the loss of her husband for 10 years and followed with 2 more losses. You can argue that Ruth did experience a loss and I am not one to normally play the comparison game but Naomie's was greater.
The Word does not specify the emotions that Ruth felt after losing her husband but it does indicate what Naomie was feeling. Naomie's heart was filled with so much bitterness that she changed her name to Mara'-a, meaning, the "Almighty has dealt with me very bitterly". Even though Naomie was going through it, she still found strength to mentor another woman and that that strength comes from the grace of God.
2. Ruth did not find peace in Naomie's "no".
When Naomie decided to go back to Bethlehem, she encourage Ruth and Orpah (her daughter in laws) to go back to their respective homes. Both women refused to leave. So Naomie urged them once again to go back home and in this moment you see a distinct difference in how Ruth and Orpah interpreted her request. Orpah was sad but she found peace in walking away. However, Ruth did not find peace in Naomie's no. (Ruth 1:14-18)
There is a powerful message found in Ruth's refusal and that is, if you truly want something, you will not rest until it is achieved because you will not find peace. In the end, it is Ruth's lack of peace in leaving Naomie that positions her to later meet Boaz.
3. Ruth's reputation followed her and granted her favor.
When Ruth followed Naomie to Bethlehem, her reputation went along with her. When Ruth first interacted with Boaz, while gleaning in his fields, he mentioned that he knew of her and all of what she did and gave up to follow Naomie (Ruth 2:11).
4. Ruth had an open mind and heart for instructions.
There were probably moments of doubt and confusion when Naomie gave her instructions. In Ruth 3: 3-4, Naomie orders Ruth to make herself up with fine linen, perfume and then provided her with specific instructions in what to do with Boaz. Now, Ruth had a choice in all of this. If I were Ruth back in the day and my mentor tells me to lay at the feet of a man at night, I would probably look at her sideways and serve her with a "nahhhhh".
In this case, Ruth had such an open mind towards the instructions and trusted in Naomie so much that she obeyed. Ruth did not second guess her, she did not challenge her nor did she call her foolish for what she told her to do. She simply adhered to Naomie's instructions without a commotion.
I am very certain that there are more gems found in the Book of Ruth but since I like to keep my promises, I will stick to 4. Please feel free to share with me the gems that stood out to you.