She Could Have Walked Away: Don’t Miss Your “Ruth” Blessing!

Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

But Ruth said:

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”

– Ruth 1:14-17

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The Book of Ruth tells the story of Ruth and Boaz

One moment in time. A bereaved mother, and her two daughters-in-law, on their way back to “the land of Judah” (Ruth 1:6-7 NKJV) from Moab after the deaths of both her sons. Two women, grieving for their husbands. One moment that would change everything and alter the course of history. Urged by their weeping mother-in-law to return to their people, both young widows had a decision to make at a moment’s notice that would change their lives one way or the other. With tears in their eyes, they wept, wanting to stay with her. Broken in her grief, with nothing left to offer them, the woman could only urge them to go back to the life they had known. The one kissed her and turned back. The other stood there, no doubt, with tears running down her cheeks as she watched her sister-in-law walk out of her life. She could have just walked away. But the choice she made in that moment would change her life forever. Her name was Ruth.

Have you ever had a “Ruth” moment? I am sure at one time or other, we all will at some point in our lives. For some, it will be the right choice they make in that moment. For others, it will be one they will regret for the rest of their lives.

For Ruth, it was the right choice. She could have chosen to go back to her people in Moab, and their gods. In the eyes of Naomi, her broken-hearted mother-in-law, there was no more reason for either of her daughters-in-law to stay in her life. The tension builds as they both look to her, weeping as they have, at this point, intended to go back with her to her people (Ruth 1:8-10 NKJV). It’s pretty clear that Naomi is thinking of their future, even in her grief, still weeping as she cries out, asking why they would want to stay with her, seeing she is past childbearing age, and knowing that even if she could have more sons, they couldn’t possibly wait until they were grown. The one, Orpah, finally kisses her mother-in-law and walks away. Naomi, looking to Ruth, can only try to get her to see the obvious pointlessness in her staying with her (Ruth 1:15 NKJV): “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” Yet, in that pivotal moment, the young, widowed Ruth couldn’t walk away and leave the poor woman to go on alone. In a dark time of faithlessness and everyone doing whatever was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25 NKJV), she chose to be faithful to the God of Israel, and spoke the well-known words that have now been used in many weddings as wedding vows (Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV, see above). It was settled. Ruth chose in that moment to let it be firmly known that she would not leave her. In time, she would see God’s reward for her faithfulness.

As the two women reached the city of Bethlehem, you might say they had a pretty big welcome. Yet, when the women asked about her, calling her by her name, Naomi changes her name (Ruth 1:19-21 NKJV) to Mara, which, in Hebrew, means “bitter”, saying God had dealt very bitterly with her. Click here for the meaning and history of the name, “Naomi”.  So, this is a woman who is truly devastated at this point (Verse 21). Yet, before it was all over, God would turn her situation around.

You see, if you think about it, with the state of grief she was in, she could have adamantly ran Ruth off. Yet, instead, she chose to let her go on with her. Verse eighteen of Chapter One reads, “When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her (or, I guess you could say, she saw no further point to argue with her).

But here’s where it gets interesting. In those days, Jewish custom, or law, said that when a woman’s husband died before she could conceive, his brother was to marry her in order to raise children in his brother’s name. For example, in Genesis 38, we read of the story of Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah. So, you see now, why Naomi is so grieved for her daughters-in-law, thus, her emotional response to their pleas in verses 11-13 of that first chapter of Ruth:

But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”

Yet…I’ve gotta say it! BUT GOD!!!! (You had to know there was a “but God” coming!) 😀 So, Ruth was in the right place at the right time. God placed her directly in the path of Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband! You can read the Book of Ruth in like 5 minutes, but I love what he says to her in Ruth 2:11-12, after she asks why she has found favor in his eyes, that he should take notice of her, since she is a foreigner (Verse 10):

And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

More and more lately, I believe, as Bishop T.D. Jakes has well said, Nothing Just Happens. In this message, at about 8:10, Bishop Jakes mentions Orpah and Ruth, and talks about this story, so if you’re interested, you can click the link and listen to this excerpt of his message on this. The footsteps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord (see Psalm 37:23)! So, as God’s reward for Ruth’s  undying loyalty to her mother-in-law, and her faithfulness to Him as the God of Israel, she was rewarded with an honored place in the bloodline leading up to the birth of Christ, through (of course) the Tribe of Judah.

The story of Ruth has to be one of the most beautiful love stories in the Bible, (2nd only to our Jesus and what He did for us, of course). So, Boaz married Ruth, and they had a son, who was named, Obed. Here, from Ruth 4:13-22, is the wonderful ending to their love story, as only God could write it:

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron;Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab;Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.

Remember when I mentioned Tamar earlier? Well, Perez was one of her twin sons. Even the well-known geneology sites can’t touch this! So, think about this story if you ever have a “Ruth” moment, and trust God. He only writes the best love stories.

So, Naomi found joy again, and no doubt, got lots of cuddles in with that new baby boy. Ruth took her place in history, in the bloodline through the Tribe of Judah, leading to the birth of our Savior. She was the great grandmother of David, and another page turned in Biblical history…

…And she could have just walked away. 

Something For Your Daughter… From a Mother of 2 Daughters

In my “Book Reviews” section, I have something new I’m doing that I wanted to let you know about. The name of the “Book Reviews” tab has changed to “Flo’s Reading Room: Book Reviews”. My approach here is something a little different that I wanted to try. As time goes by, I will be featuring reviews of books I have read that I thought were very good reads or that have had a positive or inspiring impact on my life. As I add more of these, this will be sort of a “Reading Room” type thing, or my own little “virtual library”, if you will.

You may have already read my review of Mary McDonough’s book, “Lessons From the Mountain, What I Learned From Erin Walton”. (Mary also has a new book coming out, called “One Year”. You can visit her at www.marymcdonough.com to learn more and preorder your copy. My newest addition is one that I ran across a few years ago while browsing through a local bookstore. Written by Robin McGraw, who is Dr. Phil’s wife, it’s called “Inside My Heart” (Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose). This is a very powerful and encouraging book which is geared especially toward women who want to learn how they can choose the fulfilling, satisfying, and rewarding life they want to live and pursue it. After I flipped it over and read what it is about, I immediately purchased it and gave it to my youngest daughter as a gift, and then told her that when she finished reading it, to give it to her older sister and let her read it. I later went back and bought myself a copy. I decided to review it here on my blog and add it to my “Reading Room” for anyone who has daughters and wants the best for them, as I want for my daughters. You can read my review of it here:

My review of Robin McGraw’s book, “Inside My Heart, Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose”.

Part of what we do as writers is help other authors, which is really only a small part of why I am doing this. My goal, in addition to promoting my own books, is also sharing books with you that I have found helpful in my own life, either as a writer, a wife, or a mother, or even as a grandmother. So, from time to time, I will be adding to this collection, and eventually have my own little “virtual library”. As for my own books, my first two, “Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind” and “River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”, are now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (online) in print and ebook versions. You can click on my “Books Available Now” tab to learn more. You can also visit the “Books Coming Soon” section to read sneak preview excerpts of other books I am working on, including one my husband and I are very excited about, “Sadie’s Love”,  which is a heart warming story set in Big Sky, Montana, about a Siberian husky, Sadie, and her journey to becoming a Seizure Alert dog. This one is nearly finished and coming soon, although the title may change, as it will likely end up being two books. However, I have decided to hold off on self publishing it, as I did the first two, and send out some query letters and hopefully attract a traditional publisher. I will, of course, keep you posted with new updates on this, so be sure to subscribe to my email by clicking that tab above so you won’t miss out! This way, you will receive an email when it comes out.

In the meantime, while you’re waiting, you can check out my other two books and let me know what you think, or even stop by either the Amazon or Barnes & Noble online pages and leave a nice 1 to 5 star (hopefully 5) customer review! Or, grab a cup of coffee and visit the “Reading Room” and see what’s new in “Flo’s Library”.

These are the books by the authors who have inspired me on my own path to becoming an author, and who have been my greatest teachers. Check back as I will be adding more books to my little “library” from time to time. As for the newest addition, Robin McGraw’s book, I thought it made a great gift for my own daughters. By the way, while we are on the subject of gifts for our daughters, here is some valuable insight written by a father of four daughters: 10 Men Christian Women Should Never Marry.

The greatest gifts we can give our daughters comes from our own experiences, and the life lessons we have learned on our own journeys. Those are the lessons and experiences we will one day pass on to those precious grandchildren when they come along. Those life lessons are the important treasures that our daughters carry forward with them, and eventually become a part of who they will be as young women in a tough and changing world.

The books written by some of the great authors who have gone before me, such as Louis L’Amour, who was one of my Dad’s favorites, just happen to have been a significant part of my journey. May they be a part of yours as well!

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