“Practical Righteousness”

Posted: September 26, 2014 in Compassion, Ruth

Although the words of the prophet Micah hadn’t even been written yet, this young widow woman was following the principles of God’s command “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Justice. Ruth was a Moabite. Here people had a bad reputation (Revelation 2:14). She hadn’t grown up being taught the Law of Moses but she had come to faith in the God of the Jews. She knew that it was the just and right thing for her to take care of her elderly mother-in-law who was a widow. (See 1 Timothy 5:8; James 1:27).  Ruth herself was also a widow and had made a vow to go wherever her mother-in-law would go, lodge wherever she did, make Jehovah her God, and be buried where her mother-in-law would be buried (Ruth 1:16, 17).

Mercy. Upon arriving back in Bethlehem, the city from which her mother-in-law Naomi came, Ruth saw the necessity for herself to go out each day and glean in the barley fields and pick up the left overs so she and Naomi could survive. Ruth was a compassionate young woman. Having secured permission from her mother- in-law, Ruth went out to work in  the barley fields to glean the left over crops for Naomi and herself. We see no indication on Naomi’s part to caution Ruth to the possible dangers that she might face as a foreign widow woman, especially in those dark days of the judges when horrific things were happening (See Judges 19-21).

Humility. With her faith in God, Ruth went out to work in the harvest fields with other Jewish people. She had to rely on God to direct her to the right field to work (See Proverbs 3:5, 6). She humbly requested one of the foremen to allow her to glean in his field and he granted her permission. Ruth displayed a good work ethic and this was recognized by the foreman and others.

Owner. When Boaz, the owner of the field, came to check up on the work, he greeted his workers kindly and they responded in like manner (Ruth 2:4). That doesn’t happen too often these days but if it did there might be more profit for the company and this would enable the owner to treat his employees better. Unfortunately, greed takes place on both sides: labor and management. Boaz asked his foreman about the Moabite woman in his field. When he learned that she was Naomi’s daughter-in-law he treated her kindly and encouraged her to stay in his fields rather than go to other fields to glean where there might be unseen dangers.

Hope. When Ruth returned home that evening, Naomi asked her about her day. Ruth told about her encounter with Boaz. Naomi’s eyes must have lit up as she realized that he was a near kinsman who could deliver them from their poverty by buying back the family farm and marrying the widow Ruth. So Naomi blessed the Lord and Boaz who had shown kindness to Ruth.

Moral. The moral of the story is that whether we realize it or not, God is at work behind the scenes working all things out for the good of His children who love Him (Romans 8:28). Even though we may be facing hard times now, we are to give thanks in the midst of our trials and tests (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and display the joy of the Lord in our lives (James 1:2; Philippians 4:4). As the song writer wrote, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

Help. The temptations of life give us an opportunity to display our true love either for God or for the temporary pleasure we might derive from engaging in sin (Hebrews 11:25). Those Christians who overcome temptations will receive the crown of life (James 1:12). If you need spiritual help or have questions/comments, we invite you to contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com.  Click on “Follow” if you’d like to receive future articles as they come out.

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