This past year I have enjoyed reading through the book of Ruth several times. The book of Ruth is fun reading that inspires as well. I decided to step back and really take a look at why so many people enjoy reading the book of Ruth, what is it about the character of Ruth that we like?
When I started looking at her different good character traits I came up with quite an impressive list. I thought I would share them with you and also share some verses that should encourage you and I to strive to emulate Ruth in these areas.
· Ruth was courageous. She was willing to go with her mother-in-law to the land of Judah even though it would mean going away from her family and the land where she had always lived. She evidently went because she thought it was the right thing to do, not because it was easy.
We too need to be people of courage. God told Joshua (in Josh. 1:9) to “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” If we are Christians and are following God then that is still true for us today. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
· Ruth was kind. Naomi said to her and Orpah, “ May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me.”(Ruth 1:8) Ruth’s kindness is displayed all throughout the book.
Ephesians 4:32 tells us “Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Kindness doesn’t always come easily but it is something that is definitely worth working on. When we are kind it makes us feel better as well as making it more enjoyable for others to be around us.
· Ruth was loyal. In Ruth 1:16 is the famous verse “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” She was loyal to Naomi and remained that way throughout her life.
I don’t know that there is anything better to ask for in a friend than loyalty. Most of all we need to be loyal to our God and loyal to our spouse and family.
· Ruth was determined. Ruth 1:18 mentions here determination to go with Naomi, we see that determination more throughout the story as she goes out and works and then even in pursuing a husband. When she saw the right thing to do, she followed it through with determination.
Do we have that same determination? When we see something that needs to be done, that is the right thing to do, do we work at it with determination until the job is done or are we a quitter? One of my favorite verses is 1 Cor. 15:58 which says “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” I think that verse says a lot about the determination that we need to have.
· Ruth was a hard worker. She went out and worked hard all day in order that she and Naomi could eat. (Ruth 2:17)
Hard workers are also needed today and I know there are a lot of them out there. One of the verses that I find the most inspiring along this line is Eph. 5:16 which says: “Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” We only have so much time given to us here and we need to make the most of it, being hard workers for our great God and Father. The woman in Proverbs 31 is another good example of a hard worker. Some other verses that are encouraging are: 2 Thess. 3:12, Eph. 4:28 and Prov. 14:23.
· Ruth was humble. When Boaz noticed Ruth working in the field, Ruth’s response was one of complete humility. She said, “Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” (Ruth 2:10). Humility is one of the most endearing traits anyone can have and I think that is part of the reason many people enjoy the book of Ruth.
There are many verse that tell us how important it is to be humble but I thought I would chose this one to close with, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.
What do you enjoy in the book of Ruth? If you have never read it before I would really encourage you to and to look for ways to learn from the book.