Praise and Worship in Ruth

5 Nov 2018 Book of Ruth

Praise in Ruth

Strength he provides during difficult and faithless times (1:1);

Relief he grants to those who are hungry and thirsty (1:6);

Faithful love of family and friends (1:16);

Work that provides food and other necessities (2:7);

People who generously help us when we are in need (2:8-9);

Special people to whom we grow very close (3:6-13);

Children, who bring joy into our life (4:13); and

A heritage of faithful believers (4:18-22).

Worship in Ruth

Finding time to worship can seem difficult under the daily stress of a busy schedule. But when you’re also alone, grieving, and in danger, worship may be your last priority. These are the conditions that faced Ruth, a Moabite widow in the time of the judges. Ruth’s story illustrates the importance of trusting God and worshiping him in the midst of difficult circumstances.

In this book there is no mention of a formal gathering for worship. At no point is the narrative interrupted by a sermon or formal prayer. No priest appears in this story, and in a culture steeped in ritual, only one rite is mentioned—marriage. Yet this book does help us worship. Throughout the story we are given a clear portrait of God as protector, guide, and one who strengthens us and keeps his promises to us—the same attributes we celebrate in worship today. Ruth and Naomi exemplify proper worship as they respond to their circumstances, counting misfortune as God’s hand in their lives. They remained faithful to God, and later, when Boaz married Ruth and Obed was born, their faithfulness was rewarded and caused everyone to praise God. Like Ruth and Naomi, we all experience times when we realize our defenselessness and vulnerability. During these times, let us respond with worship, as did Ruth and Naomi, and recognize that the Lord watches over us. He is able to accomplish great things through the most difficult circumstances.

Life insurance policies and retirement plans did not exist in the days of Ruth, and so many widows in ancient Israel were simply out of luck—and out of protection, work, and sometimes even food. But God provided a way to take care of these women. He instituted the law of the family redeemer (Deuteronomy 25), which provided that a brother of a deceased man would marry and care for his brother’s widow. A man who refused to marry his brother’s widow was publicly disgraced. All this was intended to provide for Israelite widows. It was according to this law that Boaz “redeemed” Ruth and married her.

Like Ruth, we are in need of a redeemer today. Sin has caused our widowhood, separating us from God and leaving us lost and alone. But Jesus Christ has become our Redeemer. He has claimed and paid for us, redeeming us by his death on the cross and giving us a new family. Praise God that we, too, have a family Redeemer!

Being faithful to God is as important in a foreign place as it is in our own familiar community (1:1-5).

God can overcome cultural and religious barriers to bring people to himself (1:16).

Often when we least expect it, God blesses us, and we should respond with worship (2:20).

It is good for older believers to bless younger believers, encouraging them and strengthening them in their walk with God (4:11).

God graciously provides for our needs, and we should be thankful (4:15).