Readings for the Day
Ruth 1-2, Psalm 53,61 2 Coeinthians 5
Verses of the Day
16 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. 17 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.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
The book of Ruth is beautiful book which shows us God's sovereignty in using unlikely people in the line of Jesus. Ruth was a Moabitess, who married one of Naomi's sons, as Naomi's family escaped the famine in their homeland. But as luck would have it, both of Naomi's sons died, which left her alone with no family to pass on her heritage. When Naomi realized that she had nothing to offer her daughter in laws, she urged them to return home to their families.
So when she told them to leave, Orpah left reluctantly, but Ruth said these famous words to her mother in law Naomi, "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." So Ruth stays faithful to her mother-in-law not knowing what would befall her. She did not care about herself, but her mother in law who had suffered the loss of her husband and two sons.
And this sets the scene for her relative Boaz to become what they called her "kinsmen redeemer". Since Naomi had no offspring, Boaz would marry her daughter in law in obedience to the Levirate law that was there to provide for widows with no way to carry on their family line. Later God would honor Ruth's loyalty and faithfulness, despite the fact she came outside the Jewish nation.
Though God chose the nation of Israel to bring in the Messiah, we see that in the line of Jesus there are many who God chose to include who come from outside of Judaism. God saw something in Ruth that he knew he could use to carry on the lineage of the Messiah. Ruth eventually became the great grandmother of the Great King David.
As we study Ruth she portrays one virtue that is worth pointing out. The bible calls it "hesed" love. It is most often translated "steadfast love". "Hesed" love is central to Jewish ethics and represents the love God has for his chosen people. We might translate it "loyal love" or "covenant love".
One website describes it this way, "Hebrew has a word for life-long love that is richer and deeper than English has ever conceived of—hesed (HEH-sed). Based in a covenantal relationship, hesed is a steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness that endures to eternity. “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love (hesed) for you will not be shaken” Isaiah 54:10."
So as we look at Ruth and the qualities she portrayed to Naomi, it was her "loyal love" that set her apart to God. It didn't matter if she was Jewish or not, God saw in her the same qualities that reflected his own "steadfast love" that will one day be brought to earth through the Messiah.
Loyalty is one of the best character traits that reflect God's love and loyalty to us. Are you a loyal person? Would those around you say this about you? How can God's "hesed" love teach you about God's loyal love so you can love others in the same way?