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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Hidden Heroes: Ruth, In the Lineage of Jesus

by Marilynn Chadwick


Now my daughter, do not be afraid! Everything you propose, I will do for you, for everyone in town knows that you are a woman of valor (Ruth 3:11 TLV). 

 

Ruth is one of just two women to have a book of the Bible named after her. What’s more, she ended up in the lineage of Jesus, one of only four women listed by name (Matthew 1:5 NIV). Yet there is nothing in Ruth’s early life to suggest she would end up as one of Scripture’s most noble women.

 

The book of Ruth is an inspiring love story that demonstrates God’s providential care. A Hebrew woman named Naomi, her husband, and sons left home in Bethlehem and traveled to Moab because of a terrible famine. Conditions were already hard, and living among the Moabites was even harder. They were a heathen culture that practiced hideous idolatry and even human sacrifice. Naomi’s husband died and what started as a temporary stay in Moab dragged on and on. Her two sons ended up marrying two women from Moab and after ten more long years, her sons also died. Naomi was grief stricken. Certainly, God was punishing her, she thought. She prepared to travel back home—now destitute—renaming herself Mara, which means “bitter.” Neither of Naomi’s daughters-in-law had children. She encouraged them to go back to their own people and their own gods and to try to remarry. One did so, but Ruth refused and clung to Naomi. 


Ruth pledged undying devotion, not only to Naomi, but to God: “Your people will be my people and your God my God... May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17 NIV). What appears to be the simple kindness and fervent devotion of a young woman to her widowed mother-in-law not only saved Naomi’s life, but brought about a destiny and a blessing for Ruth that would change the world forever.

 

Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem. The villagers and elders were amazed at Ruth’s devotion and loyalty to her mother-in-law. When Ruth finally met Boaz, the man she would eventually marry, Boaz assured her “everyone in town knows that you are a woman of valor” (Ruth 3:11 TLV). Ruth is the only woman in the entire Bible to be called a woman of valor by name. As I mentioned yesterday, valor in Hebrew conveys worth, strength and bravery.

 

Ruth, an outsider and Gentile, married Boaz, the nearest kinsman redeemer. He could buy the land formerly owned by Naomi’s deceased husband and take Ruth as a wife. Little did the couple know that the son to be born to them, Obed, would one day have a grandson named King David. I’m sure Ruth, Naomi, and their tiny village would have been awestruck to learn that Ruth and her son would be listed by name in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). I believe Naomi’s reflection of the one true God invited Ruth to give up the false gods of her people and to serve this God. Her decision changed history!


The Lord used an unlikely woman named Ruth to be an instrument of redemption. When you think God has forgotten you; when you’ve endured grinding poverty or hunger, or war; when those closest to you have died; when you feel ashamed and forsaken; remember this: You are never beyond the grace of God. His grace will never fail!

 

________________________


Today's Moment of Hope is adapted from Woman of Valor by Marilynn Chadwick. To receive a free PDF copy of this book please visit www.momentsofhopechurch.org/books.

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