Monday, February 15, 2010

Character Study: Ruth

If you've never read the book of Ruth, I strongly urge you to do so. As we'll see today, the Ruth's story is an excellent example of how God has a plan to take care of us (Jeremiah 29:11). You probably know that Boaz was Ruth's Kinsman Redeemer, and today we're gonna explore this.

I recently studied the book of Ruth, and to be honest it's the first time I'd ever read the book all the way through for myself. I mean, I knew the story, and I'd studied it in my Sunday School class, but somehow I missed a couple of key things until I read it for myself.

First off, thanks to the study notes in my Bible I finally understood exactly what a kinsman redeemer was. According to the study notes a kinsman reedemer is someone who "was a close, influential relative to whom members of the extended family could turn to for help, usually when the family line or possessions were in danger of being lost." As I said earlier, Boaz was one of Ruth's kinsman redeemers. But did you know there was a closer relative who could have redeemed Ruth (Ruth 3:12)? I had never caught that until I read the book for myself. You see, Ruth and Naomi were in need of help, and Naomi sent Ruth to Boaz for that help. Ruth had shown kindness and respect to Boaz by not chasing after younger men, and she was well known for being a respectable woman. But there was something in between them, a closer kinsman redeemer. So, as it turns out, when Boaz met with the other unnamed relative, he couldn't redeem Ruth. He couldn't follow through on his job (Ruth 4:6) for risk of endangering his own estate. So, in the end, Boaz was the kinsman redeemer who married Ruth, and preserved the lineage of David, and ultimately, the lineage of Christ! God had a plan, and he followed through with it!

I always wondered why God chose a Moabitess to be in the lineage of Christ. Well my study notes addressed this. You see, Ruth's faith in God allowed her to be an ancestor of Christ. When God chose Ruth, he symbolized that his new covenant would be for all people who believed, not just the Hebrews.

So what can we learn from Ruth? I took two big things from this story. First, faith in God will not go unrewarded. You may not be rewarded for everything on earth, but you certainly will be in heaven. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 to store up our treasures in heaven, for where our treasure lies, there our hearts will be also.

The second thing I saw was that God really does have a plan to take care of you. In Jeremiah 29:11 it says "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm, plans to give you hope and a future." Ruth is the perfect example of this verse!

So girls, I encourage you today, be a Ruth! Put your faith in God, because he has a plan. And we can know that when we do this, we'll always be taken care of.