In the book of Ruth we have a beautiful story of love and devotion. A mother has been forced from her home, and must live in a foreign land. After her husband and sons die, she decides to go home. She encourages her young daughter-in-law’s to go back home and marry men from their own town. However, Ruth chooses to go with her mother-in-law, and become a part of the Hebrew people. Her mother-in-law Naomi has no money, and her land has been given in debt so there is nothing to return to. Naomi, says she is bitter and so will return to live in her bitterness.
Ruth, must have seen some true love and devotion in Naomi, because she joins her on this journey into poverty, and desolation. Some scholars even think that Ruth may have left a prominent family behind in her home town to live as a foreigner with little hope of ever having anything to survive on. Yet, she went with Naomi. Even more than this, Ruth went into the fields to work hard gathering the leftovers from the crops of the local farmers, just so they could have food.
While working in those fields she caught the eye of the owner of the fields, not just because of her beauty but because of her dedication to work hard to help Naomi. This close relative, Boaz, would begin to provide for Ruth and Naomi, and Ruth always made sure to she her portions with Naomi.
In the end of the story Boaz pays the debts of the land, and claims Ruth, the foreigner as his wife. They would be the great-grand-parents of King David. God, took this foreign born woman, and not only brought her to a place of being a part of his people, but put her in the family line of His Messianic hope for the world.
Much of this was due to the fact that Ruth had seen something in Naomi and her family that attracted her to join the Hebrew people, God’s children. When she told Naomi that she would go with her she made a promise saying, “Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, your God will be my God.” (Ruth 1:16) This promise shows her commitment to Naomi, and to the true God of Israel. God honored her commitment by blessing her to be a part of His redemption plan for the world.
Maybe you feel at times like an outsider. Maybe you haven’t quite connected to the love and mercy of God. You may even feel like there is no hope for you, or that you would never really be accepted. I promise you that God is in the business of welcoming those outside the normal place in his family. We who are followers were all outsiders and foreigners to God’s love once. Jesus came to open the door, “that whoever believes in him,” (John3:16), can have life and a place in God’s family.
If you haven’t found that hope yet, I pray that you will take time to consider God’s love and mercy is for you. Commit your life to Him, and He will begin to bless you now.
If you have accepted God’s gift of acceptance through the blood of Christ, then you should help to welcome the stranger, those outside the doors of our normal daily life. You should be hospitable and welcoming to the foreigner to God’s love, so that they can find their way into the family with you. Take time to pray and ask God how you can become more welcoming in your life.