Ruth never gave in to the dread that was surrounding her from all sides. Instead, she chose to look into the brilliance of God’s light and focus on Him.
Ruth is a vital book of the Old Testament that needs to be taught more in the modern day. Often, we think of the Book of Ruth as “outdated” or “too old,” yet there are important lessons we can learn.
Here are three lessons from the Book of Ruth for all believers:
1. There is Always Hope
The first lesson from the Book of Ruth is that there is always hope. At the beginning of the Book of Ruth, we meet Ruth, who is a Moabitess. She is with her mother-in-law Naomi and her sister-in-law Orpah. Naomi’s husband died as well as her two sons, which left Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah as widows. Naomi gave Ruth and Orpah the choice to leave and return to their native land, but Ruth decided to stay with Naomi. Rather than looking at the impending doom of the situation, Ruth chose to remain hopeful and remained with Naomi.
Ruth had hope in God despite being brought up in Moab. Moab was known to be a place without faith in God, yet after Ruth had been a part of Naomi’s family, she placed faith in God. Due to her faith in God, she knew she could have hope. The Book of Ruth teaches us that there is always hope even in the darkest times. Not many of us have to go through what Ruth went through during her life, yet we all have walked through dark seasons. Whether we have experienced the death of a loved one, the ending of a friendship, or the loss of a job, we all know what it feels like to be without hope.
Through the Book of Ruth, we are taught the crucial lesson that we can have hope even in the deepest, darkest days. Ruth never gave in to the dread that was surrounding her from all sides. Instead, she chose to look into the brilliance of God’s light and focus on Him. In our lives, we need to apply this lesson to our hearts. We need to allow God’s peace, love, and mercy to heal our hearts and allow Him to give us hope. None of us are ever truly without hope because God is always there. Hebrews 6:19-20 tells us, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
There is always hope—one must look for it in the Person of Christ. No matter what you are going through today, know that God is always with You, and He is your hope. He is the firm anchor of your hope, and with Him, you can weather any storm. Just as Ruth had hope in God despite the hopeless situation, we too can have hope by trusting in God and focusing on Him. Hebrews 12:1-2 challenges us by saying, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
2. Our Past Doesn’t Define Us
A second lesson from the Book of Ruth is that our past doesn’t define us. As previously mentioned, Ruth was a Moabitess (Ruth 1:4). The Moabites were descendants of Moab, who was the son of Lot (Genesis 19:37). They were known for their unbiblical and pagan practices. Israel was greatly opposed to the Moabites due to these pagan practices. From the Book of Ruth, we can see how our past doesn’t define us. Even though Ruth was a Moabite, she chose to become part of spiritual Israel by believing in God.
For most of us, our past can be dampened with many things we are not proud of. No matter your past, it doesn’t define you. Once you have placed faith in Christ, you are a new creation in Christ. Paul tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). From this passage, we are told that our past is forgiven and we are made new in Christ. The things in the past no longer define you as the only One who defines you is Christ Himself.
It is extremely freeing to know that you are not bound by your past. I have known many great Christians who left their past behind when they found Christ and chose to live for Him. Similar to Ruth, these individuals strive to serve God and are living in the freedom of Christ. In the same way, God wants you to be set free from your past because your past doesn’t define you. The person you are today doesn’t have to live in regret. He wants you to move forward and experience the true freedom of knowing Him.
3. Cultivate God-Honoring Relationships
The third lesson from the Book of Ruth concerns our friendships and relationships. As mentioned in lesson one, Ruth refused to return to Moab. Instead, she chose to remain with Naomi and was a loyal daughter-in-law. When Naomi urged Ruth to go, Ruth told Naomi, “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.” Ruth’s profession caused her and Naomi’s relationship to strengthen.
In our relationships with others, we need to extend the same loyalty, kindness, and love that Ruth did. In addition to Ruth’s friendship with Naomi, she also expressed extreme loyalty in her relationship with Boaz. Boaz was a man who loved God and God blessed both him and Ruth greatly in their time together. In the same way, we need to extend loyalty, kindness, and love in our romantic relationships, as was the case between Ruth and Boaz. Mutual respect, dignity, and love were shared between them, and their relationship honored God.
Relationships are best cultivated between two individuals who love the Lord and extend mutual respect and loyalty to one another. Similar to Ruth with Naomi and Boaz, our friendships and romantic relationships will change for the better when we are loyal to one another. Ruth demonstrated great loyalty in her life with all her relationships, including her relationship with God. In our own lives, we need to mirror this same loyalty to the Lord. Our first priority always needs to be the Lord, and our loyalty must always be to the Lord.
Ruth was a woman in the Bible who overcame great feats and dark times to emerge as a woman who loved the Lord. She was greatly blessed in her life as well as her descendants. Due to her loyalty and love for God, she became the great-grandmother of King David and was later included in the lineage of Jesus Himself. Even though the Book of Ruth is often overlooked, there are many great lessons to be learned in this beautiful book of the Bible.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.