“When Things Turn Out Right”

On November 11, Pastor Jim preaches on Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17.

3:1 Naomi her mother-in-law said to Ruth, “My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you. 2 Now here is our kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Now wash and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do.” 5 She said to her, “All that you tell me I will do.”

4:13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15 He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. 17 The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The Book of Ruth has been described as “an artistically constructed, kaleidoscopic narrative filled with word play such as puns and double entendres.”

It’s a story of God’s redemption and grace, though the narrator never mentions the name of God. Nevertheless, it’s about God working in partnership with human beings.

As I’ve read the text this week, it struck me that while the Moabite Ruth is lifted up as gentle and fiercely loyal, a fine individual, the story is actually about her mother, Naomi. Naomi is transformed and her life turned around. She turns away and emigrates with her husbands and sons to Moab, then she turns back home after they die, accompanied by her daughters-in-law Orpah and Ruth. Then she turns bitter, changing her name from Naomi to Mara. Ruth refuses to turn on her and stays by her side, eventually proposing to and marrying Boaz, their kinsman redeemer. In the end, with Ruth’s baby in her arms, Naomi’s life turns to joy.

Do you see God working in the ups and downs of your daily life? Are you paying attention?