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Lessons from the
Book of Ruth

By Ken Raggio

(see extensive article - "Ruth-Woman of Loyalty")


One of the most heartwarming stories ever - suffering widowhood and poverty in a godless land, Ruth's heart bound to Naomi, her God-fearing mother-in-law. Word of her loyalty, godly devotion and commitment reached Boaz, who became her redeemer-husband. Greater than any Cinderella story! Ruth became Great-Grandmother to Christ!

Ruth 1:16 - "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."

Naomi's Prayer

Death dealt devastating blows to Naomi and her daughters-in-law. Her husband and both sons were dead, and Naomi decided that survival depended on returning to Bethlehem. She called her poor daughters-in-law and prayed the blessings of God on them. Prayer is the gift for all occasions and all seasons of life.

Ruth 1:8,9 - "...Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each of you to her mother's house: Jehovah deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. Jehovah grant you that ye may find rest."


When she returned to Bethlehem from Moab, her old friends remembered her as Naomi, meaning "pleasant." But Naomi did not feel pleasant, because her husband and both sons had died. She wanted to be called Mara, or 'bitter,' but nobody consented. God had already started a flood of miracles for her and Ruth. We must stop mourning our losses and acknowledge the good things God is doing now.

Ruth 1:20-21 - "...Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty."

Bethlehem - "House of Bread"

The legacy of Bethlehem, "house of bread," began when Jacob's beloved Rachel was buried there. Elimelech and Naomi fled from there during days of apostasy and dearth. But in better days, Naomi came with Ruth, and found food in the barley fields of Boaz. The whole world would find bread in the fields of Bethlehem, when Jesus Christ, "bread of life," was born there - descended from his famous grandparents: Boaz and Ruth.

Ruth 1:22 - "So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, ...and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest."

Ruth and Her "Hap"

Ruth made an epic consecration to be faithful to Naomi and her God, for which she was profoundly blessed. There is no "happen-stance" with God - no accidents! When Ruth went to the fields of Boaz to glean, it was "her hap" to be there. God was scrupulously leading her to Boaz, and into the bloodline of the Savior of the world.

Ruth 2:3 - "And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech."

A Message for the Gleaners

Although Naomi and Ruth were destitute in their widowhood, God had something special in store for them. His law stipulated that at harvest time, the edges of the fields should be left for the poor to glean in. Boaz carefully instructed the workers to leave plenty for Ruth. Likewise, Jesus says, "he that cometh to me shall never hunger," (John 6:35).

Ruth 2:15-16 - "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:. And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not."


The law of the kinsman redeemer required a near of kin to redeem a childless widow. Ruth did not know who would redeem her, how it would happen, or even IF it would happen. But her faithfulness to God was exemplary, and Boaz assured her good fortune when he pronounced the blessing of God on her in one simple prayer.

Ruth 3:10-11 - "And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: ...fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman."

Bloodline of Redeemers

Jesus came from a bloodline of redeemers and redeemed, like Judah, who redeemed Joseph from murderous brothers. He descended from Tamar, who was redeemed from playing the harlot. He descended from Rahab the harlot, redeemed to give birth to Boaz, kinsman redeemer for Ruth and Naomi. Women of Bethlehem prophesied to Naomi that Boaz and Ruth's son, Obed, would be famous. He was! Grandfather of King David and Jesus the Redeemer!

Ruth 4:14 - "...the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel."

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