Ruth, A Shining Light

Ruth a Shining Light

In the time of the judges and amidst a famine...  Thus, we begin the book of Ruth. The morality of Israel in the last chapters of Judges has left us dismayed and appalled. Famine was often used by God as a form of discipline and/or punishment for such grievous covenant breeches as we saw in Judges. In the midst of such blackness and gloom, we discover Ruth.

Here was a Moabite, a descendant of Lot (Gen. 19:37). The Moabite women had been used by Balaam to seduce Israel into adultery and idol worship. The Moabites had been instrumental in punishing Israel during the Judges period (cp. Judges 3). NOW, we find this Moabite woman married to an Israelite. With all the ungodliness and evil among the people of Israel, she stands out as a godly woman.

It makes you wish you knew more about her mother-in-law, Naomi, who had such influence over her. Ruth dedicates herself to follow Naomi and her religion. She becomes a devotee of Yahweh. I am reminded of a statement Jesus made concerning the Centurion: "I have not seen such faith, no, not in all of Israel" (Matt. 8:10). 

Add to this the story of Boaz, yet another light amidst the darkness of this period. He showed the compassion towards the poor that God had asked for in the law. He was attracted to the character of Ruth but pursued the relationship in a godly manner. He went beyond the requirements of the law concerning marrying a dead brother's wife and married Ruth. He was not the brother of Ruth's husband, but a relative of Ruth's father-in-law (2:1). Even in this, he followed the teaching of the law in doing so publicly. The result of this, of course, is that Ruth and Boaz become the ancestors to David and eventually of Jesus (Matt. 1:5).

Can one be godly in a godless society? Yes, as we see yet again. The story of the Bible so far has been littered with these standouts. Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth did not save Israel by might or war or power, yet they were the slender thread of a faithful remnant through which the whole world is blessed through Abraham's seed. 

These things happened as an example for us...  In our society that is rushing toward a similar moral abyss as Israel in the time of the judges, we need more than ever to be godly. We need to shine as lights in the darkness (Matt. 5:14-16; Eph. 5:8-14; Phil. 2:15-16). How bright is your light?  Hugh DeLong