Ruth Follows Naomi
March 22 - Nº 81 Ruth 1 – 2
During the time of the judges, there was a famine in Israel. A man named Elimelek, who lived in Bethlehem, decided to take his wife Naomi along with their two sons and move to Moab. But things didn’t go very well once they got there. Elimelek died and the two sons married Moabite women. After about ten years, both sons died. Naomi was left with her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. When she heard that God had brought rain and food to Israel, Naomi decided it was time for her to go home. Although her daughters-in-law wanted to accompany her, she tried to convince them to stay in Moab. “I have no more sons to give you,” she explained. “It is much better for you to go to your own homes. Life with me will be very bitter.” She prayed that God would be kind to them since they had been very kind to her. She also prayed that they would each find another man to marry. Orpah understood and kissed Naomi goodbye. But Ruth clung to her and said, “I won’t leave you! Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God.” Naomi finally gave in and allowed Ruth to accompany her back to Bethlehem. When they arrived, the whole town heard the news. “Can this really be Naomi?” they wondered. “Don’t call me Naomi anymore,” she insisted. “Naomi means pleasant. Call me Mara, which means bitter, because God has caused my life to become very bitter.” And life was tough. Naomi and Ruth had no money and no income. Fortunately, it was time for the barley harvest, and one of God’s laws provided for poor people to pick up any grain that was left behind in the fields during the harvest. This was called ‘gleaning’ (see Deuteronomy 24:19-22). So, Ruth went to a field to glean barley. The field happened to be owned by a man named Boaz. When he came to check on his workers, he noticed Ruth and asked his foreman, “Who is that young woman?” The foreman replied, “She is the Moabite who came here with Naomi. She is a hard worker.” Boaz approached Ruth. “I want you to stay here and work alongside the women who work for me,” he said. Do whatever they do. As a matter of fact, drink from the water I provide for them. I will make sure no one harms you.” Ruth bowed her head and asked him, “Why would you take such good care of a foreigner?” Boaz replied, “I’ve been told how well you treated Naomi. You left your parents and your country to come here to take care of her. May the Lord richly bless you for what you have done!” At mealtime Boaz gave her food and privately instructed his men to leave extra grain for her. After working all day, Ruth brought Naomi 30 pounds of barley, as well as leftovers from the meal Boaz had provided! When Ruth mentioned Boaz’s name, Naomi was shocked. “Oh Ruth!” she exclaimed. “He is a close relative of ours. Stay in his field and you will be safe!” So, Ruth gleaned in the fields of Boaz until the barley and wheat harvests ended.
Do you have a person in your life who is both a mentor and a friend—like Ruth had Naomi? If not, look for someone you trust who can lead you closer to Jesus. Ask them if you can follow them. And don’t forget to be there for them when they need you!