Ruth + Boaz—The Mother’s Day Version

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John Maxwell said, “We overestimate what we can do in a day; we underestimate what we can do in a year.” In the case of parents, I think we do the same thing: we lose sight of the big picture when we get bogged down in the details and the pressures of each day. As a result, many times we are unaware of the long-lasting rewards that come from our daily obedience and God’s eternal faithfulness. This was never more true than in the fantastic love story of Ruth + Boaz. 

Last week we looked at the history of Pentecost and what took place 50 days after the Passover, we saw a picture in the Old Testament that was fulfilled in the New Testament. The Jews saw this too. In the Hagiographa (Holy Writings), they picked one of the books of the Old Testament to read at each of the annual Jewish feasts, and the Book of Ruth was selected for Pentecost. I think this was because Ruth herself is in essence a “harvest” of God’s blessing. She is the firstfruits of the non-Jewish people whom God has engrafted into His holy family. 

The story of Ruth’s coming into God’s family is birthed out of heartache. Elimelech and Naomi live in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread,” but it was a time of famine; Elimelech’s name means “God is King,” but Israel had no king and everyone lived for themselves; Naomi’s name means “pleasant,” but her days were bitter (see Judges 21:25; Ruth 1:1-5). 

After Elimelech and his two sons die, Naomi changes her name to Mara (which means bitterness), and yet she hears “that the LORD had come to the aid of His people by providing food for them” (1:6) and she decides to return to Bethlehem. She counsels her daughters-in-law to remain with their families in Moab, but Ruth decides to cling to Naomi. 

In the face of utter hopelessness, Ruth could have chosen what was familiar—her family, her homeland, her gods—but instead she chose to cling to Jehovah. 

Perhaps when she heard that Jehovah had come to the aid of His people she realized, “I’ve never heard of Chemosh coming to the aid of his people. We sacrifice to him but he doesn’t do anything for us. This Jehovah cares for His people. I will put my faith in Him.” 

Ruth’s first step of obedience triggers a whole series of events, starting with one that the writer of this story introduces by saying, “As it turned out, Ruth found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz.” 

But this is no accident—God oversees and directs all of the details. All of history is His story. God is in charge of the tiniest of details: even down to directing Ruth to the right barley field. Ruth’s trust in Jehovah, her obedience in following Him, set things in motion that God had planned, just as Paul explained in Romans 8:28. 

Moms, at the end of the story of your life, you will look back and see so many as-it-turned-out moments. But that means you are living in an as-it-turned-out moment right now. If you believe God is overseeing the details of your life, then every moment is divinely orchestrated by Jehovah, every moment is strategic, every moment is God-directed. You must remain daily obedient to God. 

Don’t underestimate the legacy of God’s provision that is being established every single day that you remain obedient in following Him. Look at the amazing way God used Ruth and Boaz in the family tree of Jesus Christ (Ruth 4:16-22; Matthew 1:1-6).

Moms, your obedience today is preparing your children—and their future generations—for them to experience God’s provision in a coming famine (see Amos 8:11; Psalm 91).

Of course, Ruth can’t give birth to Obed without there being a father, which is why the story is called Ruth + Boaz. On Father’s Day we’ll look at the integrity of Boaz that made this possible too, so please make plans to join me then.

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A Mother’s Prayerful Perseverance

Prayerful perseveranceNaomi had it rough. It seemed like everything in her life fell apart. And to add insult to injury, everything around her seemed to mock her pain—

  • She lived in Bethlehem, which means House of Bread, but there was no bread because of the famine.
  • Her husband’s name was Elimelech, which means God is my king, but instead of him trusting God, he trusted his own wits.
  • Her sons were supposed to bring her joy and a hopeful future, but their names also haunted her: Mahlon means sickly, and Kilion means wasting away.

Naomi hit rock-bottom—Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died… And after they had lived there about ten years both Mahlon and Kilion both died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband (Ruth 1:3, 5).

Is it any wonder Naomi—whose name means pleasant—wanted to change her name to Mara (bitterness)?

But somewhere deep inside, Naomi had courage enough to hang on to hope. She heard that God had once again provided bread in the House of Bread, and she returned home. She had no prospects for success, and her husband’s debts were still awaiting her, but she went back to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth.

It was here they encountered Boaz. His name means pillar and he is described as “a man of standing” (2:1). Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer. Boaz is a picture of Jesus. As our Kinsman-Redeemer, only Jesus can…

  • Give our needs a voice as He intercedes for us
  • Bring us peace as He asks us to cast all our cares on Him
  • Pay all of our debts
  • Give us a hope-filled future

Especially as we remember Mothers Day, it’s a great reminder that a mother’s prayerful perseverance on her Kinsman-Redeemer yields blessings now and for generations to come! 

Don’t give up! Jesus is your Kinsman-Redeemer, and He is waiting for you to cling to Him.

(The Book of Ruth is an absolutely amazing, hope-inspiring story. It you haven’t read it lately, you can read it through in just a few minutes.)

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