A happy life gone wrong.
It started with a small family in search of a better life. Trying to escape a famine they moved from Bethlehem to a place called Moab. Naomi, her husband, and their two sons lived there for a bit but then Naomi’s husband died. She had two sons who married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Then the unimaginable happened, both Naomi’s sons died. Desolate with nothing, Naomi heard that God had provided food for His people in the land she was from so she planned to go back.
She told both of her daughters-in-law to go back to where they came from. Orpah did but Ruth begged Naomi to allow her to stay with her. Ruth clung to Naomi and said,
“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. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17
When Naomi saw how determined Ruth was, she allowed her to come. When they got to Bethlehem, everyone was excited to see them.
While Naomi’s name meant “Happy”, she felt God had ruined her life so she asked everyone to call her Marah, which meant “bitter”.
There was a rich man named Boaz, who was a close relative of Naomi’s from her past husband's family. One day, Ruth was looking for someone who would be kind to her and allow her to collect food from their land. She ended up in a field that belonged to Boaz.
Noticing her, Boaz asked the other workers who Ruth was. Then he allowed her to stay and get everything she needed and more. Ruth had found favor in his eyes. Boaz was impressed by her loyalty and all that she had done for her mother in law. He spoke kind words over her and made sure she was protected and provided for.
Ruth shared all that had happened with Naomi who was very pleased. So, Ruth continued to go back to work in his field.
The first two chapters of Ruth are both stories of tragedy and of great hope. I believe what God wants to communicate through these stories is that He is the great redeemer. When we come back to Him after losing everything, He will restore us abundantly.
Scripture tells us, it’s the enemy who is the author of death, theft and destruction (John 10:10). The first chapter of Ruth is another example in scripture where the enemy’s main attacks are against our identity and what we believe about God. Naomi, whose name literally meant “happy”, allowed her circumstances to taint her view of herself and of God.
I believe the root of most of our struggles come from the enemy lying and convincing us that we aren’t who God says we are.
And also neither is God; that He is against us and withholding from us. This lie keeps us sad, depressed and distant from God. If this lie is a successful weed planted in our soul, then we won’t pursue our calling and that gives the enemy full rein to do as he pleases.
Jesus paid the price so that we would bring His Kingdom gospel in His stead. We can’t do that if we don’t truly believe we are who He says we are and God is who He says He is.
In this story Boaz is a solid representation of Christ. A man of riches, power and protection who comes to our aid with much favor over us.
This is a constant theme throughout scripture. It all points to Jesus.
He is our great redeemer.
~ Amanda Santistevan