Ruth: Commited Friend

Pentecost is considered to be the birthday of the Christian church. On the corresponding Holy Day of Shavuot, the Book of Ruth is read in Jewish Synagogues. This portion of Scripture is rich in meaning for the Christian believer.

Ruth was a descendant of Lot through Moab. She did not by birth belong to the nation that had received the blessings of Abraham. It was through Abraham’s Seed, Jesus, that all nations, not just Israel, would be blessed. Ruth was grafted into this family line through whom Jesus descended. Her story looked forward to the time when all people who put their faith in God would receive the promises made to Abraham.

Because Ruth had grown to love her mother-in-law, Naomi, she refused to leave her when they were widowed. Naomi had lost not only her husband, but also both her sons. Naomi’s grief was so great that she no longer wanted to be called “Pleasant” but “Bitter” (Mara). Ruth compassionately committed herself to caring for Naomi. Her story conveys to us many lessons relevant to our life in Christ. This short article will explore only a part of that.

  • She committed herself to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Through Naomi she had learned enough to be willing to trust the God Naomi worshipped.
  • She committed herself to the people of God, especially Naomi. She gave up her own blood family to fulfill this commitment.
  • She committed herself to a way of life different from the life she had previously lived.
  • She committed herself to laboring to feed herself and Naomi.
Ruth (sounds like the Hebrew for “friendship”*) symbolically lived out the commitment we make when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. She gave up her old life and fully committed to a new one. She epitomizes the deep selfless love each of us is called upon to express toward God and others. Ruth and Naomi’s story is a story of redemption. Those of us in Christ, whether male or female, Israelite or non-Israelite, are also redeemed and look forward to inheriting along with our Elder Brother Jesus Christ.

*Source: NIV study note

Scarlett Stough

For the scripture reference list and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Commitment