Lesson 11 The Story of Ruth
Ruth 1:1-4:22


Most of our lessons have been about boys and men whom God used to do His work, but today I want to tell you about a girl named Ruth who looked to God, was saved from her sins, and greatly rewarded.

Ruth was not from Israel but from one of the heathen nations, called Moab. God had commanded his people that they should have nothing to do with this nation because of idol worship in Moab. Ruth grew up in Moab. She knew nothing of the living God. Instead she worshiped idols. There was much evil and wickedness around her. Then one day a new family moved into their village—a father, mother, and two sons. Ruth learned that they had come from Bethlehem in the land of Canaan. This seemed very far away to Ruth. She learned that this family had come to Moab because there was a famine in their land and they could not get food. Ruth learned, too, that they did now bow down nor worship gods. They had no images nor idols in their home.

As Naomi, the mother of the family, explained to Ruth why they did not worship idols, perhaps she said, “There is only one true living God. He is the God who made the heavens and the earth. He has said that we must never make images nor worship any god made with hands.” She probably told her that the true and living God spoke to Abraham, and told him to go to a foreign land, and that this same God rolled back the Red Sea so that our people could walk across on dry land. Then she probably said, “This is our God.”

Ruth listened, and her heart was drawn to Naomi and her message. One day the father in that home died, and Naomi was very sad. Later Ruth, this girl I’ve talked about, married one of the boys in the family. Perhaps she went to their home to live. The other son also married a girl from Moab named Orpah.

Before long, both of Naomi’s sons died, and Naomi began to think about Bethlehem and how much she would like to be there with her old friends and among her own people. One day she decided that she would go back to Bethlehem for she heard that now there was food in Judah. As she kissed Ruth and Orpah goodbye, they wept and asked if they could go with her to Judah. Naomi urged them to stay in their own land, for she had nothing to offer them. So Orpah stayed in Moab, but Ruth would not leave Naomi. I want you to notice four things about Ruth in our lesson today.

(1) The first is that she chose to follow and serve the living and true God. She said, “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” She had heard about God from her husband, and from Naomi and she was determined not to worship the idols of the Moabites any more. And, the first step that we can take is to trust in the Lord Jesus as our Saviour
(2) Ruth showed her faith by leaving her own people and going with Naomi to Judah. We, too, set aside time and make the effort to be with the Lord’s people. In I John, chapter 2, John says that “We know that we love Christ, if we love those who love and follow Christ.” So if you have trusted Christ for forgiveness of your sins, you can be encouraged when you notice you care about others who know Christ, too.

When Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem, which is the place where later the Lord Jesus would be born, there was great rejoicing among Naomi’s friends. However, her own heart was sad as she told of the death of her husband and her two sons. Do you think Ruth at first may have felt lonely? She was dressed differently and she was a Gentile (not a Jew.)

(3) I want you to notice how loving and kind Ruth was to Naomi, which was another good proof that she was really following the true God. God puts His loving spirit within us when we come to faith in the Lord Jesus.

And then we want to notice Ruth’s service. Ruth went out the next day to work in the field to make a living for herself and Naomi. She went out to the harvest field to glean. This means that she was allowed to pick up the stalks of grain that fell behind the reapers as they gathered the harvest. This was a provision that the Lord had made for the poor. After Ruth had worked a while, she went into the house to rest. The wealthy man who owned the field came to look over the harvest and noticed her. His name was Boaz. He was the son of Rahab. He was very kind to Ruth.

Boaz had heard of Ruth’s kindness to Naomi, and he knew that she had come to put her trust in the living God rather than in the gods of Moab. When Ruth went home that evening, she had over a bushel of barley. When Naomi learned that it was Boaz who had been so kind to Ruth, she told her that Boaz was a kinsman, a relative of her husband, Elimelech. Naomi told Ruth to always glean in Boaz’ fields and not to go anywhere else. Ruth was obedient. She did what Naomi told her to do.

Have you ever thought of the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ in coming to earth when the Father sent Him? He was obedient even though it meant that he would have to die on the cross. His obedience purchased salvation for sinners. He died so that sinners like you and me would not have to die and bear the punishment for our sins.
Ruth had no plans of our own; she did as Naomi told her. Oh, how wonderful it would be if each of us would be obedient to God’s Word like that! That’s the attitude we want. “Help me Lord to do what your Word says.”

(3) Another thing we can notice is Ruth’s reward. Ruth continued to glean in Boaz’ fields. As they became better friends, before long he wanted to marry her. According to their laws, the man who was the nearest relative had the first right to buy the land that had belonged to Naomi’s husband and also to marry Ruth. Boaz wanted to do this, but there was another man who was a closer relative than he was. Boaz went to the relative who was nearest of kin and told him about the land and Ruth. This man was willing for Boaz to purchase the land, and so Boaz bought it immediately. It was the custom to give your shoe to show you give up your rights by an agreement. How happy Boaz must have been as he returned home, knowing that now he could marry Ruth.

There is something here that is such a precious truth. The relative who purchased the land was called a “kinsman redeemer.” “Kinsman” means that he was a relative, and “redeemer” that he was buying the land. Only a relative could buy the land, and he had to be able to pay the price. The Lord Jesus is our “kinsman redeemer.” When we are born in sin, we are held captive as Satan’s prisoner. But the Lord Jesus came and died to redeem or purchase sinners like us with His own precious blood. In order to die for sinners, the Lord Jesus took on a human body. He became one of us but without sin. He was God and man. The Lord Jesus became like us. He purchased sinners with His own precious blood, and claimed them for His own. So when we receive Christ, we become part of God’s family.

A baby boy was born to Boaz and Ruth. Naomi cared for him, and he filled her heart with gladness. This little boy grew up in Bethlehem and became the grandfather of David, and it was from this family that the Lord Jesus was born. (see Matthew, chapter 1, to read for yourself.)

We saw last week that Samson brought sorrow and shame to himself, to others, and to God’s name because he chose his own way instead of going God’s way. But Ruth brought happiness to others, joy to herself, and honor to God because she chose to please God instead of herself.

God gave Ruth joy because she chose His way. Joy is another word that means much the same as happiness, though it is better than happiness. Each letter stands for a word:
J is for Jesus. (Jesus should be first in everything we do.)
O stands for others. (Ruth thought of Naomi and planned for her. We want to do this for others also.)

Y is for yourself. (This will be last. Only the Saviour can help us think of others and then ourselves.)

Jesus understands us. He is able to help Christians day by day. Let us ask him to teach us how to put Him first in all that we do. You may have never thanked God the Father for sending Christ to die for sinners. You can thank Him today. May God give you the grace to do so.

Prayer: Father, if there is someone reading this who has not yet received Christ as Saviour, enable them to do so today. Lord, please teach us how to put You first in all that we do. May we please you and bring honor to Your name by being kind and loving to others. Thank you for sending your Son to die for sinners. Amen.



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