We are no doubt in uncertain times and uncharted territory for us as a generation. And whilst the church and other organisations are forced into learning how to be community online, we here at Mummy Meditations are already pros at it!! To reflect the changing…
Welcome! It’s the penultimate summary post for this series on Ruth, and you can tell from this week’s verse that we are nearing the end of this story.
“So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.” Ruth 4:13
I kind of want to finish the series here – this makes a great happy ending doesn’t it! Well, lets take a look at what this happy ending really means.
For both Ruth and Boaz, this verse is a joyful one. There really is that element of a happy ending, where things come out alright for the hero and heroine of the story. Boaz, perhaps ostracised because of his mother ends up with a wife, and Ruth, the outsider widow who has stuck by her mother-in-law, gets a husband to protect and love her. Not only that but they are blessed with a son! I don’t think I could write a better ending. When I read this verse in this version and its says that Boaz made love to Ruth, it really does make me think of a relationship that is built on more than just ticking boxes and convenience. The language echoes of love. Other versions use the phrasing “and he went in to her”, which just doesn’t have as much niceness to it!!! We must remember that this story if likely being told from a male perspective, so the description of this act is probably more about what happened than why!
Despite wanting this to be a happy ending, we really don’t know what these two people are really feeling. I tried to step into Ruth’s shoes this week, and I think the only thing I could imagine her feeling was relief and secure. Relief things were finally going her way ,and secure in her future and her life. Isn’t that what most of us crave? A husband we can trust and rely on to be secure, a place to live that is secure and the knowledge that we have children who will look after us when we can’t look after ourselves? Security is a vital human need. So even if this isn’t a love story, but just one of two people meeting each others need for security, then that is a happy ending in my book.
The big thing that God has kept reminding me of this week is that happiness now does not wipe out the past. We can’t under-estimate how much the past has shaped us and impacted us. Ruth has a dead husband and I am sure that she probably grieved not only for him but for the children they would never have together. Although giving birth to a son with Boaz is cause for celebration, maybe it was also a reminder of the children she wasn’t able to have with her first husband. Maybe she cried in the night as she fed him, shedding a tear for what could have been. Even if we know its God’s plan and we are moving forward, leaving the past behind can be hard.
In our final week of the series, we are meditation on this verse:
“Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.” Ruth 4:16-17
Join us over in the Facebook Community for the last Facebook Live Discussion of the series on Monday at 8pm.
Hello Mummy Meditators! Welcome to Week 6 of our series focusing on the story of Ruth. This week we studied the following verse: “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run…
Good Morning Mummy Meditators!
How is it being a mummy in your world this week? Are you on countdown to half term week? Or are you surviving endless night feeds? What is your biggest fear and what dangers lurk around the corner in your life? Well Ruth had some dangers that were lurking around her that we were looking at this week, through meditating on the following verse:
“So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” Ruth 2:8-9
The Dangers of Gleaning
Last week we saw Ruth being a woman of gumption and taking it upon herself to provide for her and Naomi by gleaning. However, it’s not until this week that I have truly understood how dangerous that activity would have been for her as a single woman. Boaz makes it abundantly clear in this conversation. She was a foreigner. Poor. On her own. He knew his men would take advantage. And everyone else would probably turn the other way as it was happening (remember the story of the Good Samaritan….). This to me makes the decision to go out and glean even more brave. Ruth was certainly a risk taker, not afraid to step out to do what was right or for her family.
Not only was she at danger of rape or attack, but also the physicality of labouring in the hot sun would be a danger, especially if she had no access to shade, water or food whilst doing it. She could easily become dehydrated and die out in the fields too.
The Relief of Protection
Even though Ruth was brave, I am sure the dangers would be niggling in the back of her mind as she gleaned. Perhaps she was praying as she went, keeping up a constant conversation with God as her protection. But God knew that she needed that protection to be more public and visible. Boaz provides that protection, and I can imagine the relief flowing through Ruth, perhaps she wept with joy and thankfulness. I can picture her running over to the jars of water as she was parched from gleaning and drinking as much as she could to quench her thirst.
I wonder how the men and women who worked for Boaz felt about this? Did they welcome her happily, or were they frosty to her? After all, she wasn’t a hired worker but she was given the same rights and privileges. How do we feel about it when those we dislike become Christians? Do we feel pushed out or do we celebrate with them and welcome them into to the family and protection of God?
God Chose The Right Man
I had totally forgotten who Boaz’s family was, until one of the Mum’s mentioned that perhaps he was inclined to help Ruth because his mum had been a foreigner brought in to Israel too. Boaz’s mum was Rahab, the prostitute who helped save the spies in Jericho and was saved when the city eventually fell. Boaz would have known what it would have felt like to be the outsider, he would have seen the ways in which Rahab wasn’t fully accepted, or had to work harder to be seen on the same footing as everyone else. Or maybe he knew the joy of being included in the people of God, and wanted that for others outside of Israel too! Whatever his motivations, he has a real affinity with Ruth. It’s no coincidence that she ends up in his field and that he acts in this way. God set that passion for the outsider into his heart from birth. Once again Ruth is called “my daughter”. She is accepted here, just as she is with Naomi.
What passions has God put into your heart? Have you ever thought that maybe that’s not a coincidence? Maybe they have been put there for a specific time or reason? The thing that you want to tell others about or that moves you when you see it on the news, that is your passion. Run with it. Let God use it in you to reach and impact others. Boaz did.
The story between Boaz and Ruth takes an interesting turn next week – I do hope you will all join me in meditating on the following verse:
“When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned-and there was a woman lying at his feet!” Ruth 3:7-8
I’ll be going live at 8pm tomorrow night to start the discussion with you all over on the Facebook Group. See you there!
Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening Mummy Meditators! Whenever you are finding time to read this post I hope it finds you well. I am sure most of us, after this weeks pondering, will say that we are probably in a better place economically and socially than Ruth. Although…
Hello Mummy Meditators! Welcome to the Week 2 Summary Post. We’ve really enjoyed reading and watching your contributions to the page during the week. This week we have been meditating on the following verse: “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn…
Happy Sunday! And welcome to the first summary post of our new series stepping into the shoes of Ruth. We have thrown away all our assumptions and things that we think we know about her, and are starting from scratch this week. With empty minds and fresh thoughts, we have been meditating on the following verse:
“They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.” Ruth 1:4-5
Things Weren’t Simple
Do you ever have the desire to have a simple, “normal” life? Where you meet someone, get married, have kids and get a “happily ever after” moment? Well this isn’t that story. Firstly, the main characters find themselves in a country they’d rather not be in. Moab wasn’t exactly first choice for Israelites to live. Moabites were enemies of Israel, descended from Lot’s incest, and it would have been a difficult decision for Naomi to have to go along with when her husband made it. But they were in the midst of famine, and so the nice family life that Naomi had probably dreamed of having wasn’t on the cards unless something big changed.
This family moved and set up life in Moab, hoping to return one day. Whilst there they found it welcoming, and they saw hope in a happily ever after, making friends and finding wives for their sons. They built a family life up, and Ruth became a part of that. But things surely couldn’t have been as “happy” as they seemed, as within a short space of time all three men died.
What we don’t know is how old the boys were when they moved to Moab. How long after they moved they got married. How long they were married before they died. What they all died of. Why neither daughter-in-law was able to have a baby before their husbands died (especially as there wouldn’t have been much in the way of birth control in those days!). How old was Ruth? So many unanswered questions making their life not at all simple.
Ruth was in an unthinkable situation
So now we know the story of this family isn’t simple, we turn our attention to Ruth. A Moabitess who finds herself in this family who moved to her country. She probably wouldn’t have had much of a choice about marrying into the family (that would have been between the two fathers), and we don’t know how much time she was married to him before his death. Either way, this was a situation I’m sure none of us would like to go through. Our husbands are our partners, best friends, confidants and much much more. To lose her husband would have been devastating. To lose him without having any kids would have been even worse, as she would have nothing and no-one to look after her. Not a great position to be in. I would be terrified if I was in Ruth’s shoes and overwhelmed, with grief and confusion and uncertainty over what to do next.
Ruth had to make impossible decisions
Finding herself in this new and unthinkable situation, Ruth is then forced to make some pretty huge life decisions. This is not something she would have had to do up til then – the men in her life would have made most of the big decisions for her. Her Dad followed by her husband would have been the decision makers. I imagine she might have been paralysed with fear to start off with. How would she have dealt with this?
When I am paralysed by the fear of making a big decision, my first port of call is praying and talking to God. I wonder what kind of faith Ruth had at this point? Did she know God already? What had her upbringing been like in Moab and what did her husband teach her?
Ruth then had to take into account her own grief, as well as that of a mother-in-law who is grieving too. Not an easy balance. I know that I would have felt more comfortable going back to my birth mums rather than staying with my mother-in-law, but then I am not LIVING with my in laws like Ruth would have been. I can’t possibly be as close to my in-laws as Ruth would have been, living, working, talking every day with Naomi. They would have become the closest people in her life, and her birth family may not even have been in the picture for her anymore. To go back home would have been humiliating and a burden on her birth family. It is very different to now, when I know I would be welcomed back and supported in either household.
What can we learn from Ruth this week?
As I stepped into Ruth’s shoes this week I felt completely overwhelmed by the situation she found herself in and the decisions she had to made on her own. Perhaps it puts some of our situations into context this week. Be thankful for the family and support networks you have around you, whether that is your birth family, the families you have married into, your church family or other friends who feel like family. Be thankful that we have a God who loves to guide and lead us, who can help us and be our strength in any and every situation we find ourselves in.
We move on to our next verse in the story of Ruth, looking at when and how she makes a decision about her future:
“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17
Philippa, one of the Mummy Meditations Champions, will be leading the Facebook Live discussion to kick us off this Monday night at 8pm, so I do hope you will join us all to start your week of meditating!!