The wayyyyyy too brief overview of Ruth
When you think of the word love what usually comes to mind? Cringey, romantic flicks between awkward, teenage lovebirds? Men and their Saturday nights with the boys?
How about the selfless, loyal peace between a widowed mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, and their faithful Lord? If you’re looking for a non-scripted, genuine example of love, then you’ll find a basket of roses and fancy chocolate in Ruth (figuratively.)
The story of Ruth is a freshly baked batch of warmth and tenderness that shows us how God blesses the kindhearted. See how in this brief overview:
Famine in Bethlehem
We begin this chapter with a man named Elimilech and his wife Naomi and two sons. Living in Bethlehem, during this time period of Judges, was super tough and food was extremely difficult to find. So Elimilech, being the responsible man of the house he was, decides to move his family to the lands of Moab for better opportunities.
Unfortunately, a sudden nightmare strikes Naomi as her husband soon dies in this unknown land leaving her widowed and alone with 2 sons. A heartbroken Naomi is blessed with the chance to see her two sons grow up and marry Moabite women (Orpah and Ruth). Yet cruelly, as if in some cursed reality, she is soon met with her second worst nightmare: both of her sons die as well.
Naomi, feeling empty and homesick, finally makes the decision to return to Bethlehem after news of the famine dying down.
She urges her daughter-in-laws to stay in Moab and live their youthful, beautiful lives for themselves. Oprah gives a tearful sayonara and doesn’t hesitate to leave. Ruth instead stands her ground in staying with Naomi while promising that only the hands of death can separate the two.
Blessings for a Kind Heart
While back in Bethlehem, Ruth begins working in the fields of a wealthy man named Boaz during a special harvest. He instantly takes notice of her collecting grains and falls head over heels for her kind heart. (The whole town pretty much knows the gossip of her giving up her old life to stay in Moab with Naomi.)
Not only does he make sure everyone in the fields treats her like a queen, but he also supplies her with plenty of grains and food to thrive.
Even more so, Boaz soon makes Ruth his wife, saving Naomi’s family name and gifting Israel with the family lineage of one of the greatest kings ever: David. (Ruth and Boaz are David’s great grandparents!)
And there you have a short and sweet love story. If you would like more details on Ruth and her family ties to King David, check out Overview Bible. They’ve broken up all the major points of the bible for you.
Now let’s take a look at how Ruth’s tale of love relates to young adult Christians in modern-day times!
Big Takeaway #1 – Loyalty is rewarded.
Ruth 1:16-18 – “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or 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 will my God. Where you die, I will die and be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever severely, if even death separates you and I.”
Naomi, now an old, widowed woman in this verse, becomes full of grief with the Lord and her life. With all the losses she’s suffered, it’s nearly impossible for her to see a rainbow at the end of her storm.
Rather than to ruin her daughter-in-laws’ lives by sucking away their happiness, she begs them to leave her alone in Bethlehem. Surprisingly for her, Naomi gets nowhere in her pleading with Ruth to stay behind in Moab. Ruth swears an oath, greater than a pinky promise, to never leave her side.
She is more than willing to give up everything she has ever known to show her mother-in-law, true love.
The big takeaways for us young adults from Ruth 1:16-18
While it takes great courage to stand up for what you want or believe in, it takes even more courage to be undyingly loyal. That’s what God wants from us. To love Him as much as Ruth loved Naomi.
We all have those friends that we would go to battle for any day of the week. God wants to be one of them! He gives us this wholesome story of Ruth to not only show us what love is supposed to look like but how we should love Him.
Like Ruth, we must be ready to toss away our old selves (sins, insecurities, doubts) to be washed clean with new a new life in Him. If we remain faithful in our love to God as Ruth did to Naomi, a cascade of wealth is sure to fall upon our paths too, as we reap the grains of blessings during the harvests of life.
Up Next- 1 Samuel
Love stories not your cup of tea? Things begin to heat up after Ruth’s noble tale. Find out how in the next book, 1 Samuel!