Delight Yourself in the Lord
Back in Moab was the likely chance of Ruth finding a man of her people to marry. For someone in her position, this would have seemed the logical choice, as it would spare her the hard labor of providing for herself. But something else drew Ruth’s attention.
As I read through Ruth recently, I saw a beautiful picture of Psalm 37:4 displayed: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Ruth is four chapters long, and easy to read in one sitting. We get the whole picture: her bereavement, her move, her work, her betrothal, her marriage, her motherhood. And in seeing this whole picture, it is easy to see how God blessed her.
Where it began: “Delight thyself in the Lord…”
Some see Ruth as a love story between a woman and a man. I prefer to see it as a love story between a woman and God. In her choice to go to Bethlehem with Naomi, there was no guarantee that Ruth would find a husband. In fact, Naomi tried to talk her out if it for that very reason (Ruth 1:12-13). If Ruth’s heart was set on finding a husband, Bethlehem would not have been the logical place. No, her heart was set on following God. This is evidenced in Ruth’s own words (“thy God [shall be] my God” – Ruth 1:16) as well as in the testimony of those who observed her (“a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” – Ruth 2:12, emphasis added). From what the Scripture depicts, Ruth’s focus was on God and Him alone.
Where it ended: “And He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
There is no clear evidence that Ruth’s goal was to gain a husband and provider. She did not set out to find a good, godly husband. Nor did she set her sights on a man, his power, or his wealth (Ruth 2:1). By the end of the book, though, she received all of those things, and it is beautiful to read about.
Where are we?
When we compare our lives to Ruth’s, it’s easy to skim over her hard days and get straight to her wedding — and wish that we could skim ahead in our lives as well. But let’s not lose the valuable lesson from the first half of Ruth.
Ruth faithfully followed God as well as submitted to the authority over her (Naomi). If following God meant being out in the fields, sweating and gleaning daily provision, that is where she was.
Ruth blossomed under hard circumstances, she didn’t crumble under pressure — revealing her solid faith in One Who was stronger than herself. Her character was clearly seen by those around her (Ruth 2:11-12, 3:10-11).
Where are you, dear sister? Are you, like Ruth, in the throes of difficulty and sorrow? Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Like Ruth, set your eyes on things above, not on things of this earth. Are you hopeful of better days to come? Like Ruth, set your heart on that which is eternal, undistracted by temporal pleasures. Delight yourself in the Lord — and let Him take control of the desires of your hearts so that, one day, you will have a beautiful story like Ruth to share.