This story in Francine Rivers book is about Ruth. I had just gone over Ruth with my friends in a study through WordGo (a cool Bible study app you should try if you have a group , it’s created by BSF!) and so this was just pure coincidence when I read this right afterward.
I enjoyed reading Rivers’ take on Ruth’s story and all the details. Here are some things that stuck out to me!
We kind of skipped over the fact that the family had suffered so much with the men being ill/dying. I guess I never thought about their suffering and periods of uncertainty. In the Bible, it’s also written without much mention of time frame at all. It could have been years between the sons deaths and the father’s death.
Feeling as though could be a burden to Naomi. Naomi would be hurting and mourning the loss and with Orpah and Naomi also mourning, it would be a lot to bare.
Reading though Francine Rivers’ interpretation and narrative, it made me think more about if I was also in that situation. Going along, feeling tied to a MIL and, not wanting to be a burden, but not wanting to let her go on alone, Ruth decides to be the provider for them. It seems like it was a no-brained for Ruth. She was doing what had to be done and her heart seems to show throughout the book in the Bible as well as in Rivers’ story.
In Rivers’ narrative, Ruth’s family sacrificed and served multiple gods. Naomi served the one true God. Ruth’s family thought she should come home because Naomi’s god did nothing for her, according to them. They were wealthy and had gods for every purpose. Did they not know there’s only One God who is sovereign and serves every purpose? He is everything, everywhere all the time. Ultimately, if this is true, they rejected God – I’m sure they had some belief at some point but someone along the way went their own way, chose self over God.
Grief is deeper when the sun goes down and memories rise up with the moon and stars.Chapter One, page 202
There were little tidbits of the story that I thought were interesting but probably weren’t factual, although very possible. Such things like when Naomi and Elimelech left Bethlehem and went to Moab – Naomi didn’t want to go, she didn’t agree with the move during the famine. She believed that God would provide, but Elimelech had lost faith and hope in Him.
Even if this little bit was not real, the intention of mentioned that was. It showed how people lost faith, they turned away fork God, moved away and embraced customs and rituals of other people, worshipping other gods. Embracing the ways of the people, they forget the Law of Moses and the promises of God.
Something that may have or may not have been factual was that Boaz once sought Naomi to be his wife. As we know, Boaz was much older than Ruth. It’s possible that this was the case. Could that have impacted his decision to take Ruth as his wife? We don’t know. It’s all speculation, but still, I found it an interesting thought to at least note.
Nothing brings people closer together than shared suffering.Chapter One, page 205
“Why are you so interested in God?”
“Shouldn’t I be able to teach your sons about Him?”
“Teach them about Chemosh if it pleases you. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m sure my mother will teach them about Yahweh. The important thing is for them to be tolerant of all religions. That’s the only way they’re going to succeed in Kir-hareseth.”page 214 – conversation between Ruth and her husband
How accurate that little excerpt above is to today’s time in America (the world as a whole though, too). Everyone wants to be accepting of everything and everyone. I think there’s a fine line between knowing that not everyone is going to come to faith, that there’s always going to be other religions and beliefs and the flip side that we shouldn’t embrace or teach those things to those around us. We are a light and we need to share that light, not extinguish or hide it underneath the other beliefs of the world – because that’s what they are… of this world, not of God.
Ruth knew the real trial of her strength was only just beginning. With each day of travel, Naomi has become increasingly dependent upon her. Ruth did not mind, but she was plagued by worries.
What would become of them when they reached Bethlehem?Chapter Two, page 222
Ruth is described of being of darker skin color which made it easy for those in Bethlehem to identify her as a foreigner. She might not have been accepted due to that. This was the Promised Land! Yet, Jesus hadn’t come to teach on samaritans and blah blah blah, I’ll give them a break. Only because we know that Boaz will soon be the light of this story!
“When all is done according to the ways of the Lord, no one goes hungry.”Page 230
I did enjoy her portrayal of Boaz in the story. With much more detail obviously than in the Bible, we can see more Christ-like characteristics and actions.
The cry of Elimelech had always been “God has abandoned us, so I will provide!” Boaz’s life made this declaration: “God is my provider, and I will trust in Him.” -page 251
Boaz is described as a man of faith, who studied the word with diligence and passion, a man who sat in the city gate and ruled his people with wisdom and loving-kindness.
Reflective questions are taken from the book:
What life-changing events have you experienced? Who helped you through these events? What kind of counsel did you receive?
After reading James 3:13-18, contrast worldly wisdom and godly wisdom.
Which kind of wisdom do you seek? What kind of wisdom do you usually seek first? Which kind of wisdom do you impart to others?
Do you identify with either Ruth or Naomi? Why?
Ruth accepted the circumstances that had placed her in a humbling, subservient position. What does Ephesians 6:7 say about serving?
What kind of servant are you?
Difficult situations in life reveal our real character. What kind of report could be given about you?
After reading James 2:14-18, how important are your actions toward others in need?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
How do you go about making major decisions?
What excuses do you offer people when you don’t want to do something?
After reading Romans 12:2, have you let God transform you?
As I leave you here, I hope that this interests you and you’re able to glean something from this story of love and a picture of Christ. ❤️