“It wasn’t the days that were hard; it was the nights. The darkness lay on us like a frozen blanket, not cold enough to kill us but enough to rob us of sleep. Not that we were sleeping much anyway. Eyeing us like meat, other travelers seemed always ready to pounce, to steal us away. Unaccompanied women, on a wilderness trek or though life itself, were fair game for much worse than I can tell you here.”
From The Scarlet Cord, page 68
So might have been Ruth’s thoughts as she followed her mother-in-law, Naomi, from through the wilderness from Moab to Bethlehem some 3000 years ago. Newly widowed, she was leaving behind her family, her security and in her eyes, her future.
Naomi wasn’t the most pleasant company. Far from it; she appears to be snarly, grumpy, worn down by the years and going home to die. But Ruth stays beside the old woman, refusing to abandon her.
Once in Bethlehem, she finds and marries Boaz and gives birth to Obed. Such action makes her a great-grandmother to King David and a direct ancestor of Jesus (one of the four immigrant women in his genealogy, according to Matthew).
If you haven’t read the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament, do so. If you have read it, you know the feeling that pours through its pages as two homeless and poor women find their way to a brighter future than they could have ever dreamed possible.
Several truths rise to the surface in Ruth’s story: 1) Because she protected and sustained her mother-in-law, God did the same for Ruth; 2) The moral life matters; and 3) Jesus has AWESOME women in his family tree.