Ruth was a woman of principle. A woman of deep sorrow and pain, but a woman of principle. Read the story in the book that bears her name (it's only 4 chapters and is well worth your time). Naomi (her mother-in-law) was a woman that had every intention of helping others around her see that God had dealt bitterly with her, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, (which means bitter) for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full and came back empty..." Ruth 1:20-21. Now, if you read the whole story you will see the kindness and providence of God and how it ultimately steers Naomi back to his loving arms... a picture and promise of sovereignty.
But, for the moment, lets focus our attention on Ruth. In Ruth chapter one we learn that Ruth was married for about ten years and never bore children...they did not have the big debate we do these days. You know, "how long are you going to wait to have children?" One of the purposes of marriage (this remains today, yet is clouded by the Western ideal of "me first") in those days was propagation - so ten years of marriage with no fruit to show was particularly hard. Add to this the fact that her husband dies, so does her brother-in-law, and her father-in-law. At this point, Ruth could easily have said, "alright, well I gave that life a run and it was unsuccessful. Mom, dad, I hope you have a room for me, cause I am moving back home!"
Ruth, however, chose not to go the customary route and head back to all that was familiar, safe and inviting. Her heart, I believe, was aching for her mother-in-law who had endured the same losses as Ruth only from Naomi's vantage point they seem almost vindictive.
So, Ruth forsook her biological family - not in a "I'm done with you" sort of way, but more in a "whom else does Naomi have" sort of way. Let's be clear that Ruth was not acting as a mode of salvation to Naomi she was just identifying with and coming alongside her.
Ruth 2:12 states "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!" This is a pivotal statement in the book. The picture this verse creates in the mind of the weary is like that of an Oasis of Hope while in the desert of despair. Sometimes the Christian life is on those terms. You may find yourself grasping at straws praying, begging, hoping, that one of them leads to some sort of solace or refuge.
What exactly did Ruth find in her forsaking? Well, she found a hand of providence that seemed bitter if the end were not known. She found blessing in obedience. She found herself in the direct line of the King of Kings. Most of all - she found a REDEEMER!
I beseech you come under the wings of God for refuge. Not for the blessings but for the comfort it is to know He has His hand in every detail. This week our family had the joy of hosting, for a short time, Chris Koelle and Will Parker. Chris is the artist of the Job book (here's a link to the book for sale and Chris' website) Jada and I read in the hospital which has had such profound impact on our family. Having discovered Jada and her condition, along with the affinity she has for art - these two gentlemen made a HUGE effort that blessed and encouraged us beyond adequate description.
Jess and I may not be a picture of Ruth (in commitment or obedience) but Ruth's story of refuge under the wings of God makes for stories like these in our lives. Seek refuge under the wings of God, find a redeemer and be written into the story of God as one of His children and a co-heir with his Son.
Forsake Ease, Find Jesus!