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5 Women With a Connection…Part 3

Have you ever left your home and family to move to a place you had never been? Perhaps even a foreign country? That’s what Ruth did. Maybe you are familiar with her story, maybe not.

Let’s back up and talk about her mother-in-law Naomi. She, along with her husband Elimelech and sons Mahlon and Chilion, moved from Jerusalem to Moab (a godless nation) due to the famine in Israel. This was a time period of the Judges in Israel and the famine was devastating.

In Moab, the sons married Moabite women. Eventually, her husband and sons died leaving Naomi, and her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, widows.

In that day and time, widows had no financial support without a man in their lives, whether brother, husband or father. Naomi was so distraught, she changed her name from Naomi, which means “pleasantness”, to Marah, which means “bitter”. She only saw loss and hopelessness in her situation.

She decided to move back to Jerusalem where she at least knew people. And, there were a couple of men who were at least related to her family who might help. But she encouraged Ruth and Orpah to go back to their families and stay in Moab since Naomi could not provide them with another husband nor finances to support them.

Orphah stays in Moab, but Ruth, whose name means “friend,” “friendship,” or “compassionate friend,” said she wanted to stay with Naomi and make Naomi’s God her god.

Here is Ruth’s plea to Naomi to take her when she went home to Bethlehem:

Don’t plead with me to abandon you
or to return and not follow you.
For wherever you go, I will go,
and wherever you live, I will live;
your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God.
Where you die, I will die,
and there I will be buried.
May the LORD punish me,
and do so severely,
if anything but death separates you and me.

Ruth 1:16-22

What qualities does Ruth exhibit in these verses? Compassion, love, and desire to follow Naomi, including following Naomi’s God. She must have seen something in Naomi’s life she wanted for herself.

Eventually, one of Naomi’s relatives, her “kinsman redeemer,” married Ruth and they had a son named Obed, Noami’s first grandchild. Now she could rejoice in seeing how the Lord had provided for her and Ruth, even blessing her with a grandson.

The neighbor women said, “A son has been born to Naomi,” and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Ruth 4:17

A grieving, hopeless widow and a pagan daughter-in-law being part of God’s much bigger story of redemption…having a son in the kingly line of David. Keep reading this series for the conclusion of this connection between 5 various women in scripture and how God uses ALL kinds of people to carry out His story.

Today’s cultural, political, and spiritual problems could lead us to hopelessness and negativity. But, like Ruth, can we add optimism to our negative world? Can we stand in the truth of God’s faithfulness and shine out His hope?

Part 4 next week. Read previous posts in this category here: 5 WOMEN WITH A CONNECTION

Banner photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash 

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