Ruth: The Daughter

by Carolyn Hope

One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.” Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.” (Ruth 2:2)

Not only did Ruth follow her mother-in-law to a brand new country, but she took care of her. She was faithful and considerate toward Naomi. We don’t know how different in age the two women were, but Naomi could have easily been 20 years Ruth’s senior. She was, most likely, an older woman, and Ruth was still on the younger and stronger side. Ruth went out to find work so that Naomi wouldn’t have to. Why? Because she was Naomi’s daughter.

Of course, Ruth was legally related to Naomi; but in her heart, she loved Naomi more than anything in her native country, and she claimed Naomi as her mother. Likewise, Naomi called Ruth as her daughter, not as her ‘daughter-in-law.’ Legal attachments and heart attachments are two separate things. Ruth and Naomi shared both, with the latter being the most prevalent in their lives and relationship.

Who is your family? How do you relate and interact with them? Are you a daughter, son, brother, sister, parent, etc. in name only, or does your relational position show through the way you speak to, listen to, give to, and love them? I challenge you today to identify the people God has placed in your life to be a family to you (whether or not they are biologically connected). Once you know who those precious ones are, let your heart become attached to them. Don’t stand at a distance; let them in. Get to know them, truly know them, until you love them so much that you will sacrifice for them. You can be a Ruth. Who’s your Naomi?

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ruth: The Widow

by Carolyn Hope

Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband. (Ruth 1:3-5)

We often focus on the fact that Naomi was stripped of her sons and husband. She was a widow; but so was Ruth. After being married for ten years, Ruth found herself without a husband. Her security and provision were gone.

Ruth could have gone back to her biological family, and in fact, Naomi encouraged her to do so. In a radical, relentless love, Ruth chose to stay with Naomi. The life of two widows was likely to be lonely and impoverished. That didn’t stop Ruth from walking in sacrifice and integrity.

Unfortunate circumstances don’t have to dictate you or your identity. When life gets hard, and your heart is in pain, you can still be the overcomer that God created you to be. You can always choose to love, to give, to sacrifice. What comes against you doesn’t have to stop you. You determine who will break: you or your obstacle.

You are promised trouble in your life (see John 16:33). It’s a promise that we like to forget but is still just as true. When trouble comes, as it inevitably will, how you respond is your choice and your responsibility. You can curl up in a ball and have a pity party (a rather tempting option sometimes), or you can press on. You can give up and quit, or you can rise above all you’re going through to shine as the light you are. Don’t give up. Choose and determine to keep going; you will make it through.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ruth: The Moabite

by Carolyn Hope

So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. (Ruth 1:22)

Moab and Israel had a tempestuous relationship, as clearly portrayed in Scripture (see Numbers 25, Judges 11:14-28, and Revelation 2:14). If you look you’ll observe that the Moabites tried to destroy Israel through trickery instead of helping them on their way. Because of this, God instructed the Israelites that they must not let a Moabite enter the temple courts; nor were they to promote their well-being (see Deuteronomy 23:3-6). The name “Moab” left a bitter taste in Israel’s mouth.

Ruth, however, was a Moabite. When Naomi and her family moved to Moab to escape a famine in Israel, Ruth became the wife of one of Naomi’s sons. Then, when Naomi’s husband and two sons died, Ruth came with Naomi as she returned to Israel.

Not only was Ruth a foreigner, a challenge all by itself, but she also came from a country that wasn’t viewed too favorably by the Israelites. Even still, Ruth’s honorable character overcame the obstacles of her race and origins. She gladly abandoned her country, her lifestyle, and her religion in order to follow after Naomi. She was willing to sacrifice her culture, all she’d ever known, because of her love for her mother-in-law. She left her own flesh-and-blood family for a woman related to her only by marriage! Not only so, but when she arrived in Israel, she adapted to the Hebrew culture and way of life. She became one of them.

Some of the Israeli people may have regarded her as an enemy at first, but she quickly became family. Though her skin may have looked different and her accent may have sounded strange, her behavior was respectable and kind. Her identity came more from who she was and how she acted than from where she came.

It doesn’t matter where you came from or how you started. What matters is who you are. What does your character prove to others? How do your actions speak for you? It’s not for your ethnicity or your beginnings that you will be remembered; people will remember you for what you did with your life. The way you carry yourself is far more compelling than your outward appearance; the words you speak matter far more than the accent with which you say them. Even if you find yourself in an unfamiliar place, you can and will make a difference, because Jesus is with you, and He will empower you to be all you need to be.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ruth: A Story of Redemption

by Carolyn Hope

The story of Ruth in Scripture is an especially beautiful one. Ruth was a woman who displayed the power of kindness. The Book of Ruth spins a charming tale of redemption, full of characters who lived with gentleness and quiet strength.

This week, I’d like to explore some of the different identifying titles Ruth had (or could have had). Ruth was a Moabite, a daughter, and a servant. She was also a widow and a wife. Throughout the many changes and adjustments in her life, Ruth remained faithful, compassionate, and humble.

My hope for you this week is that you can find the Ruth inside of you. Not that you would be exactly like her, but that you would see how her redemption story can be yours as well. There are many qualities to admire in Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi; but the greatest truth to see is the mercy and grace God extended to them, and how that same Father loves and cares for you.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Fruit #5: Kindness

by Carolyn Brucks

“I hope I continue to please you, sir,” she replied. “You have comforted me by speaking so kindly to me, even though I am not one of your workers.” (Ruth 2:13)

The short book of Ruth, comprised of only 4 chapters, is full of many instances of kindness. Ruth herself was a character of kindness, taking good care of her mother-in-law, Naomi, even after Naomi’s husband and two sons (one of whom was Ruth’s husband) died. When Naomi took Ruth with her to Israel, God brought Boaz, a very kind man, to watch out for them. He provided for them both, and he protected Ruth. The relationship between Ruth and Boaz was very beautiful, a tender exchange of kindnesses.

There is a gentleness to kindness. In a world of screams, kindness is a whisper, soft and sweet. Like a pleasant breeze, kindness is often unseen, but still effective. Yes, it’s true that kindness can be unappreciated many times. Do not, however, underestimate the power of kindness. Titus 3:4-5 says, “When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Your very salvation is a revelation, a revealing, of God’s kindness toward you. Kindness will move people to do outrageous things and give what is undeserved.

Dare to be kind today. Let your heart be caring and considerate of others. When you see someone has a need, quietly fill it. What you do may seem simple or small, but remember, your kindness is powerful. How can you help someone today?

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Loyal Living: As Relentless As Ruth

by Carolyn Hope

“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.’ When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.” (Ruth 1:16-18)

Ruth is probably the most recognized picture of loyalty in the Old Testament. The above passage has been used in sermons, weddings, and more. Ruth is certainly worthy of all she is esteemed for. Her loyalty to Naomi changed the world. Had Ruth stayed in Moab, she would not have married Boaz, and in so doing, one day become the great-grandmother of David!

Ruth’s loyalty was relentless. Naomi had urged both her daughters-in-law to stay behind, but each had declared they would not leave her. Then Naomi pressed them again, and this time, one of them did leave. Even still, Ruth refused to be parted with Naomi. She proclaimed that even death should not separate them, and because of Ruth’s determination, Naomi let her come with her. The result was blessing and favor on all involved.

Loyalty never, never, NEVER gives up. Loyalty will press forward, and onward, and upward for all of time. Loyalty is an iron grip that refuses to let go of love. Will you be determined in your loyalty today? Will you decide, once and forever, to be loyal to God and to your family? You can be a Ruth by being resolute in your commitments, whether big or small, exciting or boring. Stick with it today. You were made to be relentless.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.