7 Little-Known Lessons from the Book of Ruth

Ruth is a popular Biblical name. While a lot of people know this name, not many know the lessons from the Book of Ruth. Do you want to know these lessons and how to apply them in your life? In this post, let me share with you 7 lessons we can learn from the life of Ruth.

Who is Ruth? What are the lessons we can learn from her life? How can we apply these lessons as well in our modern life?

These are some of the questions we are going to answer in this post. Read on to learn more!

What is the Book of Ruth?

The Book of Ruth is among the Five Megillot that is read in one of the Holy Days or Festivals of God. It is especially read during the Day of Pentecost.

The book is believed to be written by the Prophet Samuel. The book tells us about the story of Naomi, Ruth, Obed, and other minor characters.

In this book, you will read about how Naomi’s family went to Moab and lost her sons and husband. She will then go back to Bethlehem with Ruth who would later marry Boaz.

Who is Ruth?

Ruth’s name, though popular, is only found in the book, which bears her name. It is worth noting as well that there are only two books named after a woman. The other one is Esther.

Ruth is a Moabite. Her name means, “friend,” “companion,” and “comrade.” As her name suggests, she is truly a loyal friend to Naomi as you will see later.

There was a time when the family of Elimelech settled in the land of Moab. One of Elimelech’s son is Mahlon who would later marry Ruth.

However, tragedy struck the family. Elimelech died and after ten years, Mahlon and his brother died as well. This left Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah (wife of the brother of Mahlon) widows.

Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem and Ruth came along with her. From there, Ruth met Boaz and eventually, they got married. Their son is Obed, the father of Jesse. Obed’s grandson is King David. Thus, Ruth, a Moabite, became part of the majestic bloodline of the Messiah.

Lesson no. 1: God does not play favoritism

Ruth is a widow. As you can imagine, life as a widow is not easy and certainly, it is not easy way back then. When you lose the provider of the family, life can be tough and the same is true with Ruth.

If you think about it, there’s nothing special about Ruth. He is even a Moabite, a woman who does not belong to the covenant people.

Ruth isn’t rich. She doesn’t hold any position. She isn’t famous. She didn’t come from an illustrious family.

Thankfully, God does not play favoritism. He does not regard people according to their wealth, status, or station in life.

Ruth may be a nobody in the eyes of society. However, Ruth is SOMEBODY in the eyes of God.

In the same manner, you are of great value. You are the very creation of God and thus, He cares for you.

Whoever you are, wherever you might be right now, don’t forget that God loves you.

Whatever problem you are going through, you can always go to God and confide with Him. Don’t ever think that your present circumstance could prevent you from coming before God’s Holy Throne of Grace.

Lesson no. 2: We must not return to our old ways

Naomi had two daughters-in-law: Ruth and Orpah. When Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem, she urged both of them to go back to their people.

We read in Ruth 1:8-11:

And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law;

“Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”

So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.”

But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me?”

Ruth and Orpah heard the words of Naomi, but they responded differently.

Notice in verse 14:

Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

One stayed.

The other left.

As you can see, having married to the sons of Naomi, it could be that both Ruth and Orpah learned the culture, belief, and traditions of the family of their husbands.

I would even venture to say that both Ruth and Orpah came to the point to believe the God of Israel.

Of course, it could also be said that it was the custom of the land at that time.

The religion of the husband becomes the religion of the wife.

Now that the sons of Naomi were gone, the real test begins.

It is sad that Orpah went back to her people and most likely, to worship the same gods that her people worship.

Look at the words of Naomi after Orpah left them in verse 15:

 “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

Orpah didn’t simply go back to her people, but she also went back to her gods. She lacked the commitment and loyalty to the true God of Israel, YAHWEH, the Supreme Ruler and Almighty.

In the same manner, when we answer God’s call, we must NEVER look back anymore. Once we decided to run the Christian race, we MUST stay on the course.

Quitting is never an option.

This leads us to the third lesson.

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Lesson no. 3: Following God requires great commitment

Answering God’s call isn’t enough.

You need to do what that call entails.

Just like in a race, you don’t win the race simply by enlisting yourself.

You need to actually run the race and cross the finish line.

That’s exactly what Ruth did.

She answered the call of God and stayed true to her calling.

Though she knew very well that hardship, trouble, and problems may be waiting for her in Bethlehem, she still chose to be with Naomi.

Notice how she expressed her commitment to Naomi as well as to God (Ruth 1:16-17):

But Ruth said:
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God
.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”

If you ask me, that’s one of the most powerful and inspiring expressions of faith and commitment anyone can make in the Bible!

As a result, what happened? Read verse 18:

“When she saw that she was DETERMINED to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.”

The Hebrew word for determined here is synonymous with courageous, brave, steadfastly minded, strong, and bold.

No wonder Naomi stopped convincing Ruth to go back to her people. She could see that Ruth is really determined.

As Christians today, may we also have the same determination and courage to keep the faith.

May we not let anything to part us from God, be it people, possessions, problems, or positions.

Let us be fully resolved to stay committed.

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Lesson no. 4: Get rid of bitterness

When Naomi saw that Ruth is going with her, one would expect that she would be happy or at least be more optimistic in life.

However, this wasn’t the case.

When they arrived in Bethlehem, apparently, Naomi is a relatively popular person.

The people were excited to see her.

In excitement, the women exclaimed, “Is this Naomi?”

Naomi coldly responded in verse 20-21:

“Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and YAHWEH has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since YAHWEH has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

The name of Naomi means pleasantness.

However, in her great dismay and disappointments from life’s tragedy, she doesn’t want to be called Naomi anymore.

Instead, she wanted to be called Mara, which means bitter.

Now, there’s no doubt that Naomi virtually lost everything. Her life has been nothing but tragedy after tragedy.

They have to sell their possession when they left Bethlehem and settled in Moab. When they arrived at Moab, her husband died. And if that wasn’t enough, her two sons died.

It’s no joke to lose almost all your material possessions as well as loved ones.

It is a normal response for us, humans, to respond in the same manner.

When bad things happen, it takes a great character and converted mind to exhibit godly attitude.

This reminds of the response of Job upon hearing the destructions of his properties and the death of his children.

Instead of cursing God or feeling bitter, he said this in Job 1:20:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

What a profound response from a man who lost a lot of things in just a few hours.

Going through bad times does not give us the excuse to feel bitter. Actually, it gives us another opportunity to seek God’s goodness and thank Him for the good things he has done to us and the good things He will still do.

So, whenever you feel like you want to be bitter, choose to praise and thank God instead. You never know what He has in store for you if you only stay strong and faithful.

Ruth staying with Naomi while Orpah walking away.

Lesson no. 5: Establish a good reputation

You probably know of some people who have exchanged their good reputation for money, wealth, and material things.

Proverbs 22:1 tells us:

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favor rather than silver and gold.

Undoubtedly, Ruth had a good reputation and because of this, she earned something way better than all the riches in the world.

When Naomi and Ruth came to Bethlehem, they needed something to eat. That’s the time when Ruth asked Naomi for her permission to go to the field and glean heads of grain. Through God’s provision and intervention, Ruth ends up gleaning in the field of Boaz.

Inevitably, Boaz noticed Ruth and ask her to stay in his field. That’s when Ruth asked, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me since I am a foreigner?”

Notice the response of Boaz:

It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before” (Ruth 2:11).

Did you see that? Ruth made a good reputation out of herself because of the things she had done.

A good reputation is earned and it is not given to you.

Because of hard work and dedication, Ruth obtained the reputation of the woman who didn’t forsake her mother-in-law and now, has come to a foreign land to take care of her.

The good thing about having a good reputation is it opens up a lot of good opportunities.

Do you think if Ruth didn’t have a good reputation, would she be noticed by Boaz? What if she just remained in the house and be lazy? Surely, Boaz would have not seen her!

The same is true in our lives today.

If you want to be successful in life, make sure you take care of your name. Make sure you create a good reputation for yourself.

By the end of your life, people will not remember you because of how wealthy you are, but because of your good reputation.

Lesson no. 6: God redeems us from our hopeless situation

The story of Boaz and Ruth has a lot of symbolism for us to take note of. Among them is how it illustrates the relationship between Jesus (Yahshua) with His Church.

Boaz is considered to be a kinsman-redeemer. The term refers to a relative who acts as a protector of the family.

His duties may include buying back properties of the family, providing an heir for a deceased brother, and buying back a family member who might have been sold to slavery.

It is quite interesting that God the Father is called the Redeemer (Isaiah 60:16) and Yahshua is called the redemption (I Peter 1:18-19).

Boaz, in our story, redeemed Ruth. It is an important portrayal of the redemptive act of Jesus Christ. Like Boaz, Christ paid for our sins to redeem us.

However, we also have a role to pay.

Like Ruth, she also wanted to get married to Boaz. Thus, there should be a willingness on our part.

It was Boaz who initiated the relationship with Ruth. In the same manner, it is not us who chose Christ, but it is Him who chose us (John 15:16).

Not only that, but we must also remember that we can’t go to Yahshua without the Father drawing us to Him (John 6:44).

It is comforting to note that no matter what situations we are in, no matter how hopeless it may be, we can always have the assurance and confidence that God will redeem us.

It is not yet the end of the story. Brighter days are still ahead for those who faithfully wait for God!

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Lesson no. 7: All things work together for good

The story of Naomi and Ruth started with tragedies, deaths, and loss.

If you are going to focus on how they started, it seems all are gone and hopeless.

However, as we go through the story of Ruth, it ended with blessings and a new life of her son.

In this life, we may go through a lot of trouble, but this thing holds true, “This too shall pass.”

Indeed, Ruth’s life story is another undeniable proof of how true Romans 8:28 is:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

No matter how bleak your situation is right now, just hold on to your faith.

Rescue is on the way.

God will not give you a trial that you can’t handle.

Remember, God will ultimately work all things out for good. He can use the bad to fulfill His purpose. Like Ruth, stay committed and time will come when your help will arrive.

Final words

These are just some of the best lessons that you and I can learn from the book of Ruth.

When you go through tragedy, I hope you remember the story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. I pray this gives you hope that no matter what happens in your life, there will still be a happy ending as long as you stay committed with God. If not in this lifetime, it will surely be a reality in the life to come.

How about you? Did I miss anything? If yes, share the lessons that you learned from the life of Ruth in our comment section. I’d love to hear from you.

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