Friday, November 2, 2018

The Value of the Immigrant, the Faithful Ruth

Ruth, a Moabite, daugther-in-law of Naomi, is an example of true faithfulness. In the age of the Judges, when Israel had drifted from God, from faith, into idolatry and civil war, Ruth show what true faithfulness is all about. She gives up her people, her country, her gods, to head to a land where her people are looked down upon with suspicion and thought to be idolatrous, licenteous, people of ill repute. She makes the God of Israel her God. She stands by Naomi even though her mother-in-law has nothing to offer her in the way of a secure future. She goes out to glean in the barley fields at harvest time to feed Naomi and herself, even though it was not safe for a woman to do so in those uncertain times in Israel. When she meets Naomi's relative Boaz, this is what Boaz says of her faithfulness (word gets around in a small community like Bethlehem): 

Ruth 2:10-12: 10Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?” 11But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!” 

In an age when we too look suspicously upon outsiders, it is worth taking the time to remember Ruth, the faithful Moabite. Ruth and Boaz would become the great grandparents (spoiler alert) of King David, Israel's greatest king. Ruth would be one of four women listed in the lineage of Jesus Christ. 

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