And They Lived Happily Ever After~ Ruth (Part 1)

I am thrilled about this next Bible Study: Four consecutive Mondays, I plan to publish a wonderful study including many life applications from the Book of Ruth: “When A Fairy Tale Came True.”

Hope you get to relax, elevate your tired feet, sip on your favorite cup of hot tea or cocoa as you turn to Ruth 1. Know that I have prayed for you to receive abundant blessings as you study God’s Holy Word along with me. I want to credit my Pastor, Dr. Stephen Davey, because I learned much about this Bible story from his sermons on Ruth.

I have loved fairy tales ever since I was a young girl. My childhood favorite fairy tale is Cinderella. Cinderella rose from rags to riches. She went from living with a cruel stepmother and jealous, mean stepsisters, to being swept off her feet by Prince Charming. Cinderella married Prince Charming and the best thing about it was….they lived happily ever after.

glass slipperThere is a similar Cinderella story in the Bible, but without the glass slipper and without the villain. The Bible story has the bitter mother-in-law, the beautiful but poor damsel in distress, and the dashing Prince Charming who rescues the damsel in distress. The damsel in distress went from rags to riches.

Even though it reads like a fairy tale, the story of Ruth really happened. God’s handiwork is being beautifully knitted behind the scenes of distress. God was arranging all the details so that the fair maiden would be rescued at just the right time, in just the right way, by just the right man.

The incredibly good thing is that God is doing something beautiful behind the scenes in our lives when we face hardships.

In certain times of our lives, whether single or married, we are all damsels in distress. We may have our Prince Charming right by our side, but the trials and tough times will come.

Confession of Heaven Bound Homemaker: I am a damsel in distress in a certain area of my life as I write. My Prince Charming and I are praying about a certain “need” we have in our lives. Please pray for God to direct and meet the need.  I appreciate it so very much! Thank you, sweet ladies.

Dear Heavenly FatherJust as God was working behind the scenes in the true story of Ruth, I know God is working behind the scenes in our lives too. As a result of knowing this fact, I am no longer “in fear” but I am now “in trust.” Being in fear is miserable. I know from personal experience. Being “in trust” is liberating. The power of crying out to God is incredibly awesome. I can already see glimpses of His mighty Hand working good through this area of need. I cannot wait to share with you ladies, hopefully in the near future how God answered this prayer of need, so please keep praying. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! If only the cyber world could show the deep degree of my “thank you” to you for praying for us.

I am thankful my son set up my blog and I just do what I like to do: write. He showed me the other day how to see my stats. I was surprised to find from the stats that over 1000 different people read my blog this past month. I had no idea that many people were coming to my website. I feel humbled and I also know many of those 1000 ladies are in distress in certain areas of their lives too. I am not the only lady in distress. The hardship you are facing may be hurt, health, finances, loss or other stresses on your life or in your loved one’s life. Tough times go along with life on this earth.  If everything were perfect in this life, we would not ever want to leave this earth and go to our heavenly Father. If everything were perfect, we would not pray in dependence on our Father. I am praying for you ladies right now.  My heart goes out to you. God knows your name and need.

“Lord, touch each of the dear ladies who are reading these words right now in a mighty way.  They each have a need. You know their need. Lord, I cry out to You to meet their need and to show each lady they are very precious to You. Increase their faith. Increase my faith. We are trusting You for the impossible. Thank You, our loving Father, in advance for working beautifully in and through the situation. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!”

Now, breathe deeply and smile showing more than three teeth, dear ladies…His Shoulders are so much bigger than our shoulders and He wants to bear our burdens. Leave them with Him, and let us have a day of rejoicing. If you or I Smiletake the burden back…let us hurry and quickly shift Shoulders. God may not deliver us from the trial at this time, but He will deliver us in the trial.

  • My favorite Scripture in this season of life (yes, I have Seasonal Scriptures) is Philippians 4:4. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
  • My Seasonal Scripture when I homeschooled our children was Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
  • Do you want to know my favorite Scripture when I am in need of keeping my thoughts in check? Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true (Bible), whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
  • You have probably already guessed my favorite New Testament Chapter. I love LOVE Philippians 4.  You may want to check out my post on Philippians 4 called, “12 Ways To Have A Healthy Mind.

I also love daily applications, so when I study the Bible, I ask the Lord to reveal applications I need for my life. I have underlined throughout this beautiful love story of Ruth, questions to ponder and life applications. I have put in bold, the Godly character qualities I saw in Ruth.

Lord, may we all be ladies who seek to please You by allowing You to work Your Godly character in and through us.

Scripture Reading: Ruth~ Chapter 1

Once upon a time, there was a peasant girl, named Ruth who lived in a very worldly heathen land called Moab. In Moab, they worshipped false gods.  Moab meant wash pot. A wash pot was used to get dirt and grime off of feet.

You can only imagine what Ruth went through living amongst worldly dirt and grime. Even though Ruth lived in a heathen culture with false gods, Ruth did not allow the wicked culture to define her. Instead, Ruth stood out and would later influence ladies for generations to come by her trust in the Lord and her devotion to Him.

Do we allow our culture to define us, or do we influence our culture by our obedience to our Saviour? God cared about this peasant girl who lived way out in dirty, filthy, worldly, heathen Washpotville. God cares about you and me too. God reached out and touched Ruth. He reaches out and touches each of us. We are all so very blessed in so many ways. Lord, may I count my blessings, one by one.

One day, a Christian family arrived in Moab; Naomi, her husband and two sons. This family went through a worrisome time of famine in Bethlehem. I cannot fault Naomi’s husband for wanting to take care of his family in a time of famine. The problem was that Naomi and her husband looked at their situation and compared it to the prosperity going on in the world. Moab is a picture of the world. Naomi and her husband both knew Moab was a country of false gods.

Even though Naomi and her family went through a worrisome and fearful time in Bethlehem, they went through a tormenting and grievous time when they moved to Moab, known for its paganism. Have you and your husband ever been in a famine where it seemed like God was not answering? Has it ever seemed like God did not care? Have you ever been in fear that God would not provide? When times get hard, do we look to God, or do we look to what the world has to offer? Remember this truth: God allows us to be in famine-like situations, so we can learn to live by faith and not by sight. Pray with your husband for wisdom and direction. There is no safer place to be than in the center of God’s will. What may seem like a disaster, may be a stepping stone for God to work great things in our lives.

garbage dump
Garbage Dump

Naomi, her husband and two sons left Bethlehem, the name meaning the place of Bread to move to Moab, the garbage dump. The decision to move towards the world cost them dearly.

Well, there was a treasure amongst the trash in Moab; Ruth. Ruth married Naomi’s son and they lived happily ever after…not so. Instead, tragedy struck and Naomi’s husband and all her children died. Can you imagine? Poor Naomi! Naomi had a Job’s life. Ruth and Orpah must have been newlyweds since no children were born out of the marriages. Naomi and her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah are now widows, who are alone in the heathen country of Moab. It seems to be a hopeless situation, but God is the God of the impossible!

One day, Naomi heard some good news about Bethlehem and decided it was time to go home. Naomi means “pleasant.” Naomi asked for her name to be changed to Mara, because she said the Lord had dealt bitterly with her.

I put myself in Naomi’s shoes. Naomi has been stripped of all earthly possessions that would make a wife and mother content. I cannot imagine my husband dying and then all my children dying. That is one of the most tragic stories ever! I would probably initially feel anger and bitterness too. I think it is only natural.

I know ladies who have lost their husband and I know ladies who have lost a child. My mother lost two children; a full term baby daughter died at birth and her only son, my brother, at age eighteen in a car accident. I can still remember the day of the car accident like it was yesterday. Oh, how we were all so hurt and grieved; especially my parents. God gives special grace to those who go through such a hardship in life. If you are in that situation, please know that God cares! In time, the Lord lifted each of these ladies I know up to where they all became a sweet testimony of the Lord’s grace. If we knew that today would be our husband’s last day on this earth, would we do anything different? What extra kindness would you or I do to show our love for our husband? Let us plan to do that kindness today, just because…

For Naomi, Moab, a picture of the world, had become a place of death. Ruth’s name means “companion, friend and vision of beauty.” Orpah means “stiff-necked.”

  • Naomi is a picture of the backslidden Christian lady.
  • Ruth is a picture of the new believer; a lady sold out to the Lord.
  • Orpah is a picture of the double-minded lady.

Ruth’s Decision: Naomi decides to turn from her backslidden state and to return to Bethlehem. When Naomi took steps to be in God’s will, Naomi began Ruth clung to Naomito be blessed. Even in her sorrow, Naomi exalts the Lord while speaking to her daughters-in-law; “the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The LORD grant you that ye may find rest…” (Ruth 1:8,9) Notice that Ruth is noted by Naomi for her kind character. Bless Naomi’s sweet heart.  Even though Naomi was bitter, Ruth had evidently seen the reality of God in Naomi’s life and Ruth was saved because of Naomi’s witness.

Naomi believed she could offer her young widowed daughters-in-law no hope of protection, so in her thoughtfulness, she tried to encourage them to return to their mothers. Ruth clung to Naomi! Ruth was decisive and Orpah was double-minded. Orpah eventually went back to her heathen culture. Naomi encouraged Ruth, her daughter-in-law to count the cost. It is here that Ruth articulates her thoughts beautifully and in such a touching way, it still touches us today:

And Ruth said, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” Ruth 1:16,17

Ruth had counted the cost! Wow, this has got to be one the greatest utterances of true conversion in the Old Testament! We know for certain from this testimony that Ruth had been converted to faith in Christ. Even when others leave around her, Ruth is dedicated to the Lord.

Recent picture of my daughter-in-law
Recent picture of my daughter-in-law

What a tremendous love for her mother-in-law too! Ruth was loyal. I notice the touching love of this relationship more now since I am a mother-in-law. I love my daughter-in-law, Jodi! She is a delight. I love my sons-in-law too. What a blessed addition to our family. Our family just keeps getting bigger and better.

You know, I never liked mother-in-law jokes. I do have a good sense of humor, but honestly, mother-in-law jokes do not encourage a healthy family relationship. I love the relationship between Naomi and her daughter-in-law. Naomi and Ruth’s relationship is a beautiful love story in itself.

A mother-in-law needs to treat her daughter-in-law like her own daughter and on an equal basis. She must never be jealous of the relationship of the daughter-in-law and her son. The mother must stop serving her son and accept the new relationship. Most opinions need to be left unsaid. She must remember the daughter-in-law was trained up in a different family and may do things differently. Accept her and her ways.

Both mother-in-law and daughter-in-law must work at having a good, God-honoring relationship with each other. I read that one of the top ten marital problems are with in-laws.  None of us want to be the cause of stress in our children’s marriages. Let us do whatever it takes to have a healthy in-law relationship. Let us do what it takes to put our spouse ahead of our in-laws if the in-laws are causing unnecessary stress in the marriage. Daughter-in-law, make an effort to become good friends with your mother-in-law. God intends for this relationship in every family to be a beautiful relationship and a rewarding friendship.

Coming up in the next post, Prince Charming Boaz rescues Ruth, the fair maiden in distress, and they lived happily ever after. It occurred to me that this is true for all Christians. One day, we will all live happily ever after. A story is being written about you and about me, and we will have a happy ending to our story. What an encouraging thought!

The backdrop of the story of Ruth is now Bethlehem, the city where our Redeemer was born.  Boaz is the picture of Jesus Christ who rescued you and

Jesus Rescued Me
Jesus Rescued Me

me from our sins. Right now, life may be hard and we may be damsels in distress, but let us remember, Jesus Christ rescues us moment by moment in our problems, not necessarily from them. Let us also remember, there is a happy ending to every Christian lady’s story….it is a fact and not a fairy tale; in heaven, we will all live happily ever after.

Let us bow our heads and thank the Lord right this minute for being our Rescuer. “Where would I be today Lord, if You had not rescued me from my sins?  I can remember that day perfectly. It makes me happy thinking on the day You rescued me! If you had not rescued me, I would not have met my Christian husband at a Bible Study and I would not have had our love story. I would not have had our children and grandchildren.”

“Where would I be in the future when I died if You had not rescued me from my sins? I would not have a happy ending in heaven and I would live unhappily ever after. Where would I be this moment, if you were not rescuing me in my hardships right now? Instead of peace in my heart, I would be in turmoil. Instead of faith, I would have fear. Instead of hope, I would have hopelessness.  Thank You Lord, for being my Rescuer, my Redeemer!”

Coming up soon~The curtain rises and the Enchanting Romance of a fairy tale Fairy talestory that came true unfolds in Ruth 2.

Annette

You are a blessing Linda. I’m grateful that you are sharing the good words the Lord is giving you. Being reminded of precious Ruth and Naomi, beautiful story. In the midst of such pain and sorrow…. GOD is there. Praying for you right now Linda.

Melissa Jo

Linda,

Thank you so very much for this Bible study the Lord certainly used it to minister to me today. And I am new to visiting your website the Lord has used many of your words to speak to me and I thank the Lord for leading me to your website. I have been praying for you.

Have a rejoiceful day.

In Christ’s Abiding Love,
Melissa Jo

admin

Melissa Jo,

I so appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to write me such thoughtful and encouraging words. Thank you so much for praying for me.May the Lord abundantly bless you and your family!I am having a “rejoiceful” day 🙂

Joyfully, In Him,
Linda Hoover

Loni Bowen

God has truly blessed you with the gift of writing…how blessed you are that the Lord has opened this tool!!!
Love and prayers!

admin

Thank you so very much Loni. I give God all the glory for anything good I do. He has put a love for writing within me. He has put a love for studying His Word.

Your encouraging words have really meant a lot to me! I appreciate you! That sweet Carson is adorable too.

With love in Him,
Linda

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