Biblical Lessons from Ruth for Daughters-in-law Part 3

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36. God renewed Naomi through the kinsman redeemer. “The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!” These women were praising God. They knew some of what Naomi had gone through. They could not wait to give God the credit for what was happening in Naomi’s life. We praise or bless God for the good in Him or how He bestows that good to us. The women were praising God for giving Naomi a kinsman-redeemer in this new baby. The women were not using go el or kinsman-redeemer in the legal sense but as a solution for Naomi’s insecurity.  As Naomi had tried to take care of her husband, two sons and two daughters-in-law now God had given her a grandson who could grow up and take care of her. Naomi could see God’s protection for her in this child.

Obed would keep Naomi young at heart and then take care of her later in life. I love doing things with my grandchildren that my children no longer enjoy.  Obed would continue the family line and protect the inheritance. His name means serving or worshipping. He would live up to his name and serve Naomi. Obed would grow up watching his mother Ruth serve his grandmother and love her. Obed would learn at an early age the love of a daughter-in-law for a mother-in-law and he would pass it on to his children. He would not grow up hearing the disdain for mothers-in-law but the love for them. Obed would be the restorer of life for Naomi. This would put a spring in her step; a new hope for life. Naomi was no longer Mara “bitter” but Naomi “pleasant”. God had brought her full circle. God had given her mercies and God had used Ruth to show those mercies. God had not given back to her the life she had had with Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion but a new life with blessings like she had never had before. It was not the old life but a new life with the riches of God’s grace.

37. Ruth loved Naomi. “He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” (Ruth 4:15) Naomi who had been so concerned for the well-being of her daughters-in-law was now seeing God’s outpouring of kindness to her. Ruth who was a foreigner had shown the Israelites how to love with “hesed” love to a mother-in-law. God had instructed the Israelites to “love your neighbor as yourself”. Ruth had treated Naomi better than herself. Ruth had worked in the fields and brought food to Naomi. Ruth had been better to Naomi than seven sons and the people had seen it. Seven was considered perfect or complete.  In the OT, a perfect family would have been many sons to make sure the family line and care of the parents in later years took place. The women were saying God had given Naomi a perfect family with Ruth. God in his perfect wisdom had changed Naomi’s family. It no longer was a husband and two sons but a daughter, son-in-law and a grandson. Naomi had learned so much about God and herself during the changes. Naomi’s family loved her more than if she had had seven sons.

Our families are not always perfect by today standards. This family had struggled together just like we do. They had moved, buried loved ones, moved again and had financial trouble. They had dealt with loss of family and friends, grief, more grief, bitterness, embarrassment and hurt. Through it all, God had renewed their life and sustained both women. Through their struggles they had kept their love for each other. This daughter-in-law had loved her mother-in-law and this love shown throughout the town. This love was worth talking about.

38. Ruth was better to Naomi than seven sons. ” . . . For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” (Ruth 4:15) Naomi who had been so concerned for the well-being of her daughters-in-law was now seeing God’s outpouring of kindness to her. Ruth who was a foreigner had shown the Israelites how to love with “hesed” love to a mother-in-law. God had instructed the Israelites to “love your neighbor as yourself”. Ruth had treated Naomi better than herself. Ruth had worked in the fields and brought food to Naomi. Ruth had been better to Naomi than seven sons and the people had seen it. Seven was considered perfect or complete. Male babies were considered superior to female babies. In the OT, a perfect family would have been many sons to make sure the family line and care of the parents in later years took place. The women were saying God had given Naomi a perfect family with Ruth. God in his perfect wisdom had changed Naomi’s family. It no longer was a husband and two sons but a daughter, son-in-law and a grandson. Naomi had learned so much about God and herself during the changes. Naomi’s family loved her more than if she had had seven sons.

Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law need an example on how to treat each other. We have that in Naomi and Ruth. Too many times we look to relationships that have been modeled for us or listen to the advice that is given by our friends and family. Models are sometimes passed down and down. This daughter-in-law didn’t have a relationship with her mother-in-law because her mother didn’t have a relationship with her mother-in-law and so on. Have you ever thought of where advice comes from? Advice sometimes comes from how people have handled a situation. Whether they did it right or wrong, they offer advice to other people on how they did it.  People sometimes give advice based on what they heard on television shows or read in a magazine.  We tend to take advice only if there is something in us that agrees with it. That may be the bigger statement.

Naomi was blessed. Ruth wanted to stick with her like she was her mother. Ruth wanted to care for her like sons should care for their mother later in life. Ruth wanted to supply Naomi’s needs like God supplies our needs each day. A relationship between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law can be one of the most tense relationship. Naomi and Ruth shows us how to survive hardship and end up joined together with God’s love.

39. Ruth and Naomi  cared for Obed. “Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him.” (Ruth 4:16)

Ruth allowed Naomi to be the grandmother she had always wanted to be. The joy of being a grandmother is getting to take care of those grandchildren. Naomi got to take care of Obed all by herself. God had taken away her two sons but He had given her a grandson. She considered this grandson to be the son of her son Mahlon with full knowledge, that he was Boaz’s son paternally.

Ruth allowed Naomi to be a part of caring for this child. I have grandchildren that live close to me. This wasn’t always the case. For many years we had to drive to see the grandchildren like many of you. If we had extra time with them, we went and picked them up and then took them home after a week of fun. My grandchildren live close now.  When they say, “Granna can I come over”, the answer is always “sure”. I realize at any point my son and daughter-in-law come stop contact or curtail visits. I am a Grandma. I am not the parent. I can’t tell you how often I am thankful for the time I have with my grandchildren.

There are so many tensions that arise with grandchildren. When we were raising our children, there were issues with grandparents. We all wanted for our children to have a good grandparent experience. There were issues that we worked through with family counseling. Some issues we just let it be and moved on from it. We tried hard to let each set of grandparents have equal time with our children even when we were a distance away. We wanted our children to know their grandparents.

In the world we live in there are relationship battles all around us of parents & grandparents. Even before children come into the picture tension sometimes is running high with children, parents and in-laws. When grandchildren come into the relationship then the struggle over time with both grandparents become the #2  problem area according to an article on Grandparents.com. Many problems can ensue with visits, discipline and many other issues about grandchildren. Children can be in the middle of control issues being played out over their head. Let’s just says Naomi and Ruth had their issues from time to time but one or both were willing to stand by each other and work it out. When Obed was born, they had made it through the roughest of times together. They were together going to care for this gift from God.

The Hebrew word in verse 4:16 for lay can also mean bosom. Naomi hugged Obed up close to her and just loved him. The Hebrew word used in 4:16 for cared can also be used for nanny. Naomi took care of him. She watched and cared for him while Ruth was gone or busy and loved every minute of it. In this verse, it is easy to see the trust Ruth had in Naomi to take care of her child. In Scripture, we see Ruth and Hannah’s unselfishness (I Samuel 1:10-11) with their sons. Let’s remember Ruth had been barren for at least ten years. She may have not wanted to let that child out of her sight. She trusted her mother-in-law. It must have given Ruth joy to see how happy Naomi was with her grandson. Naomi probably did things differently than Ruth on caring for a child.  After all, they were from two different countries. Ruth loved her mother-in-law and knew she would care for Obed like she had cared for her two sons long ago.

In Ruth, we see a willingness to work through and move pass problems. I have been on both sides now. I was the daughter and daughter-in-law. I am now the mother-in-law and the grandparent. In this day and time, we so need the love, trust and willingness that Naomi and Ruth show us in our families. Many children grow into adulthood and miss the opportunities of getting to know their grandparents. May we take this example and run with it to help our families have the closeness that God intended all along.

40. God had allowed through Naomi and Ruth’s relationship a son and grandson be in the genealogy of Christ. “The women living there said, ‘Naomi has a son.’ And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. This, then, is the family line of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron the father of Ram. Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab the father of Nahshon. Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon the father of Boaz. Boaz the father of Obed. Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.” (Ruth 4:17-22)

Through Obed, the name lives on. Through redemption, Naomi’s family line does not end. At the end of Ruth, we have the genealogies of the royal line to David. Through Obed’s name, we would have the life and ministry of King David and Jesus Christ. Obed would have a son named Jesse. Jesse was of Bethlehem and that is where the book of Ruth began. Naomi was born generations before Jesse. If Ruth had not been determined to follow her mother-in-law, there would not have been a Boaz or Obed or Jesse. It’s all about the mother-in-law. Jesse would have eight sons and the youngest would become King. Ruth and David were both unlikely choices to carry on a royal line of Judah but God saw their heart. When Naomi held Obed, she had no idea of the future God had planned for that little boy. She just knew this was the son of her son. Minter says “The central ingredient to a divine legacy is godliness: to know God, to walk in His ways, and to teach future generations about who He is.”

God had redeemed her and her family and she didn’t have to pay any price. Moabites were not to enter the congregation of the Lord to the tenth generation(Deut. 23:3). Do not underestimate God’s love and the power of the grace of God. God overruled what was written down in law for His purpose. This story would have ended at any point if Ruth had given up on her mother-in-law. Ruth packed up her belongings to follow a woman who was only related by marriage and who didn’t want her to go. Ruth risked her life in the fields and threshing floor to follow Naomi. Ruth followed a risky plan, married a man, bore a son and then placed him in her deeply loved mother-in-law’s arms. Ruth’s love for God and her mother-in-law overcame every obstacle that was put in front of them. Ruth and Naomi nestled in the shelter of the wings of Jehovah. God’s plan was fulfilled. Oh, what a testimony for me and you as mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law!

My mother-in-law Mattie died in 2010. I thank the Lord for my mother-in-law. We were two very different women. She grew up in the 30’s and 40’s. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. She grew up working on the farm. I grew up in town. She grew up taking care of siblings. I grew up with no siblings. Through very different lives, we grew to love each other and respect each other more than I could have ever made happen. God stepped in and took control of our relationship. 2 Corinthians 4:5 says, “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”  When God’s grace flowed into me, then I was able to overflow with grace to Mattie. When God’s grace flowed into Mattie, then she was able to overflow grace to me. When we benefit from the outpouring of God’s grace, God blesses us when we give it away. We worked together having a disposition of kindness, grace, thanks, and respect.

Naomi and Ruth’s relationship affected generations after them. We may not think how we react to each other will affect children, grandchildren etc. but it does. When a daughter-in-law makes little or no attempt for a relationship with parents or in-laws, children learn that it is just not that important. It can be hard to instill in our children and grandchildren the right things but it takes no times at all for them to pick up on the wrong things in our lives. Naomi  and Ruth had many wrong things in their life but they certainly took time to work on the right things.

In 2 Corinthians 4:16, Paul says, “we do not lose heart”. We are not to lose heart when relationships have bumps along the way. Was our relationship perfect? Absolutely not! God took two ladies who were very different and gave us His unmerited favor and used us in each other’s lives. He gave us grace from the God of grace and caused grace to overflow in our lives to each other and cause thanksgiving to overflow to God’s glory. God’s plan was accomplished in the lives of this mother-in-law and daughter-in-law through the outpouring of His grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out 1-35 in Part 1 and Part 2 of Biblical Lessons from Ruth for Daughters-in-law.

Biblical Lessons from Ruth for Daughters-in-law Part 2 by Lynn Autry

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When I became a daughter-in-law, there were not any how-to books. I just did the best I could. My mother-in-law was the one God knew I needed. She made the position of being a mother-in-law look easy; however, I quickly realized it was not easy. The loving relationship I have enjoyed with my in-laws over the past 33+ years didn’t happen overnight. We all made a real effort to have an awesome relationship. I’m sure my mother-in-law, Mattie, expected certain things that I did not deliver.

The book of Ruth has many lessons for the in-law relationship that many of us struggle with. From the book of Ruth we have, up close and personal, lessons we can learn from how Naomi and Ruth’s relationship. I will be taking us through lessons I have seen of how a daughter-in-law responds to a mother-in-law. This is a continuation of the 1-21 lessons.

22. Ruth shared food with her mother-in-law. “She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.” (Ruth 2:18) Ruth had worked diligently that day. She could have asked Boaz for one of his servants to carry her grain back but she could do this herself. Proverbs says “the diligent man prizes his possessions”. Ruth had been blessed that day and she was happy to carry her load for the town called “house of bread” to see. Ruth went on home to see her mother-in-law instead of stopping somewhere else. She was excited to show and tell her mother-in-law the news of what God had given them that day. Ruth had the ultimate show and tell. When Ruth returned home she shared with Naomi what she had left over from the meal. Ruth could have throw this food away but instead she saved it for Naomi. How much stuff do we throw away instead of giving it to someone who needs it? Probably a lot. There may be a elderly person on your street who could use your leftovers for a meal. Ruth had a better meal that day than Naomi. She had eaten along side Boaz. She had dined on the best Boaz had to offer for his servants. Instead of being selfish, she saved not for herself but for another. She saved from what God had blessed her with to give to Naomi. I Timothy 5:4 tells us  “But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all  put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents for this is pleasing to God.” Ruth was first putting her faith into practice by providing a leftover meal for Naomi. She was caring for Naomi like children should care for their widowed mother.

23. Ruth and Naomi shared conversation about the events of the day. “Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!” Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz.” she said. “The LORD bless him!” Naomi said to her  daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemer.” Then Ruth the Moabites said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.” Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls, because in someone else’s field you my be harmed.” Can you see Naomi’s excitement? She couldn’t get the words out fast enough “where in the world have you been to get so much grain.” Naomi was excited to see Ruth. Ruth’s excitement burst forth just as Naomi’s. The conversation was more than yes and no answers. They are both so excited to talk about all that had happened to Ruth in Boaz’s field. Naomi is so thankful of what Boaz did for Ruth that she wants God to bless him and not just one but two blessings. Naomi can see God’s blessing on this family again. These two had survived. They could sing the song, “I have survived”. Naomi knew that God is the only reason they had survived. Naomi tells Ruth for the first time about a redeemer. Ruth had met the man that God would use to provide redemption for these two widows. God had provided a redeemer even for this Moabitess.  The word redeemer would mean more to Ruth as she continued in Bethlehem. Their conversation involved both of them. The conversation was filled with answers to questions, blessings, information, and advice. The reason each could talk through all that had happened is there was something before the conversation. They had a relationship that been built on time, events, and love. They had spent time together over the years. They had shared closely events in their life. Through the time spent together and the events shared, they had developed a loving relationship. Did this happened over night? Absolutely not. This happened as they both worked at the relationship. The whole conversation was a result of what they had worked on relationally for years. They had not given up, backed away or shut up. They had stayed with it. That is why they could share so much together. This conversation is so much more than that evening, it is a relationship that has worked.

24. Ruth was not threatened by Naomi’s advice. “Ruth stayed close to Boaz’s young women and gathered grain until the barley and the wheat harvests were finished.  And she lived with  her mother-in-law.” (Ruth 2:23) People tend to not take advice. Even when its free, we want to do our own thing. Our pride says, “we need to have the control of our own life.” It takes humility to take advice. Someone has said, “It is very difficult to live among people you love and hold back from offering them advice.” Naomi felt the freedom to give advice to Ruth. She cared about her safety. She wanted the best for her. They had built a relationship together. As parents, we go through struggles of not knowing when to give advice and when to not give advice. Many times we go ahead and give the advice when we feel like the well being of our children is involved or anything is involved. Erma Bombeck says, “When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.” As Moms we tend to give advice whether it is wanted or not. Life can be simpler for us when we take advice. Relationships can be easier when we don’t give any advice. Many people have missed success or at least a shortcut to success by refusing to take advice. Ruth was not afraid or threatened to take Naomi’s advice. God  had a plan for Ruth’s life. Ruth wanted to be in the center of that plan. Naomi’s advice was not only taken for the barley harvest but also for the wheat harvest. Ruth stayed in Boaz’s field through two harvests. She took Naomi’s advice and stayed safe next to Boaz’s servant girls through two harvests. She was on her way to a rich husband that God had planned just for her.

25. Ruth did not abandon her mother-in-law in Bethlehem. “.  . . And she lived with her mother-in-law.” (Ruth 2:23b) Ruth had more than one choice when her husband died. She could have went back home, quickly married or stayed with Naomi. She chose to stay with Naomi. When Naomi decided to move to Bethlehem, Ruth had the same three choices. She chose to stay with Naomi. When Naomi moved to Bethlehem, Ruth had the same three choices. Ruth decided to stay with Naomi. Ruth had made this choice over and over again. Many mothers and mothers-in-law are abandoned. They are given up on completely and deserted. Some choose to turn away and never call or visit instead of continually trying with a relationship. Some mothers and mothers-in-law have just been partly abandoned. They are called or visited seldom during the year. This is a problem with many in-law relationships. There is even a Facebook page called Parents Abandoned by Their Adult Children for parents to share their hurt and frustrations. When sons or daughters do not maintain a connection with parents, this leaves a feeling of being disowned for the parents. Ruth was not the daughter-in-law that participated in part or total abandonment. She had a made a commitment to Naomi long before Bethlehem and she intended to keep that commitment. When she had gone through the death of her husband, she had still stayed. When she had lived with a bitter woman, she still had stayed. When she have moved to a foreign land, she lived with her mother-in-law. Ruth shows us even though difficult times, in-law relationships should not be completely given up on. She was committed for the long-term. I am so thankful that we have a God that is in it with us for the long-term.

26. Naomi gave advise to Ruth on marriage and Ruth received it well. “Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, shouldn’t I find security for you, so that you will be taken care ? So Ruth said to her, I will do everything you say.” (Ruth 3: 1,5) Naomi starts her conversation with Ruth by conveying her love for Ruth. She loved Ruth as much as a daughter  she would have given birth to. Ruth was the daughter Naomi had never had until her sons married.  In the ancient Near East, women would have security as a married woman. Naomi wanted help and rest for Ruth.  Naomi had a persistent concern to seek safety for Ruth. This was the duty of parents to seek security and rest for their daughters. We have  desire for our children to have security and a restful life. We sometimes work to hard at this. Naomi was being bold with her desire for Ruth to marry. She started with asking a question. I have learned to ask more questions with my adult children? She tells the purpose of the question is for it to go well with her. Naomi knew that God had something more for Ruth than gleaning in the fields. Every parent wants more for their daughter than picking up grain in the field. Ruth had given up the idea for remarriage. She had settled in and was satisfied with just caring for Naomi. Ruth was not looking for a husband. She was just being faithful to her God and loyal to her mother-in-law. Naomi had resigned herself to widowhood but she did not intend to confine her daughter-in-law to it. Naomi wheels were turning in her head. She had to come up with a plan and had looked at all the options. This mother-in-law’s love for her daughter-in-law is overwhelming.

Ruth shows us the ultimate trust to her God and mother-in-law. Naomi had come up with a risky plan and Ruth is committed to trusting her God and her mother-in-law. As Proverbs tells us Ruth had put her trust in God with all her heart. She was not leaning on her own understanding. Who could understand all this? She was trusting a God she could not see and trusting a mother-in-law that she had followed to a foreign land. Now her trust was going to another level. She was trusting God with her life, marriage and home. A tremendous example for you and me.

27. Ruth followed her mother-in-law’s advice.  “So Ruth said to her, “I will do everything you say.” She went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law had instructed her.” (Ruth 3:5-6) In one verse we see Ruth made a promise to Naomi. In the very next verse we see Ruth followed through on her promise. Ruth did not hesitate to follow her mother-in-law’s instructions. This was not like following a favorite family recipe. If you left out an ingredient, you might have the whole family upset with you. This was Ruth’s life. This determined her husband and child. This was her future and still she followed every detail.

Naomi was pushing Ruth to make a move. Her mother-in-law gave advice that was not asked for. We all do it but that is on the list of no-no. It is not acceptable. Naomi had not read all the articles of what to do as a mother-in-law. She decided to tell Ruth out of her love for her daughter-in-law. She used her knowledge of being an Israelite and her wisdom from what God had taught her to make a decision on what to do.

What an awesome relationship for us to model when a mother-in-law can know what is best for her daughter-in-law and is able to communicate it to her and she doesn’t resent it. That would be great to happen between parents and their adult children. Too many times mother-in-law and daughter-in-law live in fear and tension. We are afraid we will say or do something that will offend the other. We are so tense in each other’s presence that we can’t enjoy the family times together. Ruth was very committed to whatever Naomi thought best because their was a relationship that had been built. Together they had built a relationship on love and trust. Advice given,  advice taken and no issues. Wow.

28. Ruth remained pure while living with her mother-in-law. “Then he said, “May the Lord bless you, my daughter. You have shown more kindness now than before, because you have not pursued younger men, whether rich or poor.” (Ruth 3:10)

Ruth has shown even more kindness by following Naomi’s plan and not going after younger men. Boaz was not a young man but was certainly able to keep up with caring for his fields. Ruth could have easily followed Naomi to Bethlehem and then looked for a husband. Boaz said she had not pursued younger men. She had not followed and tried to capture a younger man. She was a Moabite. Her chances of marrying an Israelite were small as it was but she could have tried anyway. Ruth could have easily told Naomi, “The only way I am going to get a husband in Israel is to pursued and entice a man.” Ruth was not pursuing young or rich men. Instead of taking matters into her own hands, Ruth waited patiently until Naomi had a plan. Naomi and Ruth followed the levirate law on a kinsman- redeemer. Ruth followed Naomi through customs and laws that she would have not understood. Since Ruth was a Moabitess, she only had a kinsman-redeemer through Naomi. If she had abandoned Naomi in Bethlehem, she would not have been able to be married to an Israelite who had a desire to follow God. Only Israelites who had no interest in following God would have married a Moabite woman. The only way Ruth had any rights to Elimelech’s property and a kinsman-redeemer was through Naomi. It was all about the mother-in-law.

29. Ruth had became a woman of noble character while being with her mother-in-law.  “Now don’t be afraid, my daughter. I will do for you whatever you say, since all the people in my town know that you are a woman of noble character.”  (Ruth 3:11) What a change for Ruth? She had arrived in Bethlehem as a widow. She came as a foreigner, a Moabite, who had to work at the mercy of the locals. She gleaned even behind the servant girls. Ruth now is talked about at the gate as a woman with noble character. Now she was famous. They had seen her outstanding qualities. She had persevered over the years. She may have been a weak or inexperienced woman when she married but now they saw her strength and worth. They saw God’s strength through her. She had went through the hardship of being a Moabite, losing a husband and following Naomi to Bethlehem. That was enough to even defeat a strong woman. She had not been defeated or lost. She had won a relationship with God, Naomi, and a people that had grown to love her. Ruth had stood by Naomi through the good and the bad. During all of that, her character had soared. Her noble character was going to be a crown for her husband.  All the people who gathered to talk were talking about Ruth. They all had noticed and God had blessed. Ruth’s character was hard to find. Ruth was worth more than precious stones to Naomi and Boaz.  It was priceless.

30. Ruth followed the advice of Boaz and Naomi. “Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it. Lie here until morning. So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “Don’t let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor.” (Ruth 3:12-14) Ruth had a choice. She could follow Boaz’s advice or choose not to. She had followed Naomi’s advice and came to the threshing floor. Now she had a choice of following Boaz’s advice. People do not generally follow advice. Even when the advice is good or offered out of love, people do not take adviceoften. How often do you take advice? Ruth had to have humility to stay, wait and hide. After she had made the huge effort to come, now she was to stay and not hurry back to Naomi. She had to wait and see who would now redeem her. She had to hide the fact that she had even been there. If she had listened to the fear probably inside of her, she would had left and hurried back home. Instead she decided to show humility and take the advice of Boaz. She showed a trust in Boaz’s strength and wisdom. Many people miss out on success in their life because they will not take advice. Sometimes we are inches away from achieving something huge in our life but we miss out because we will not take advice. Ruth had a choice to make. She could listen to pride and fear or she could listen to that still small voice inside of her. She chose to listen to God and take the advice of a man who knew what was best for her. She was able to move on to God’s best for her because she took advice. Ruth was on the verge of having everything she ever wanted and more. God laid it all in her hands because she took advice and followed the plan He had for her.

31. Naomi and Ruth learned to wait together for life-changing news. “Wait, my daughter,” she said, “until you find out how things go, for he won’t rest unless he resolves this today.” (Ruth 3:18)Naomi tells Ruth to “Wait” This normally is not well received advice. In today’s society, we want everything now. We want our food, service, coffee and everything else, now. When I would tell my children to “wait a minute”, they never enjoyed the waiting and neither do we. Wait is to stay in place in expectation and to be ready and available.  Naomi wanted to stay in the place where they lived and wait for what was going to happen. They were to be ready at a moment’s notice for which kinsman-redeemer would redeem Elimelech’s property and widows.

There are times when we expect God to do something in an in-law relationship and He does not. We have to wait. We learn so much more when we have to wait. Mary and Martha in John 11 waited on Jesus to come. When Jesus came, they did not expect Jesus to do anything for Lazarus because he was dead. When things get difficult in an in-law relationship, we do not think God can work. We only think he can work when it is not as bad. It is only when we get desperate for God to work in the relationship that he starts working and changing us. Mary and Martha were not in a place of expectation. When Jesus came, the waiting was over but oh the glory they saw that day!(It’s All About the Mother-in-law)

In Psalm 27:14, David says “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart. . .”  God is working even when it seems like nothing is happening. In in-law relationships, the hardest thing to do sometimes is to wait. We want to charge in and work it out. We learn sometimes the hard way, we should have waited on God. Isaiah says Yahweh longs to show us compassion and grace but instead we rush right pass Him. Jeremiah says in Lamentations 3:24 he will wait because God is his portion. In scripture we see we are to wait on God because God will answer, He is our help, shield and our portion. Ruth made the decision to follow Naomi’s example and wait. She was ready for more but she would wait for God to provide the more.

32. Naomi and Ruth were both able to put the marriage of Ruth in God’s kinsman-redeemer. “I thought I should inform you:  Buy it back in the presence of those seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you want to redeem it, do so. But if you do not want to redeem it, tell me, so that I will know, because there isn’t anyone other than you to redeem it, and I am next after you.”(Ruth 4:4) In Ruth 4:1-10, we do not see Naomi or Ruth involved in the proceedings. They were waiting in the back ground. They had put all their confidence in their kinsman-redeemer. They did not feel like they needed to manage the situation. You and me would say that marriage is a life changing event. Naomi and Ruth had put this big event in both of their lives in the hands of God and who God had chosen to use, the kinsman-redeemer. We sometimes act as if their is no God. (Psalm 53) We do our own thing  and then ask God to jump on board and bless what we are doing. This does come down to a trust issue. Do we trust God and do we trust the men in our lives enough to even ask their advice? My God always gets it right. The problem comes when I do not trust him enough in the day by day to ask him to take control of the situation. Sometimes the men in our life also has wise advice, but we refuse to ask or even consider the advice.

This mother-in-law and daughter-in-law were looking to God to redeem them from all the hardship they had been through. They had put their trust in God and in their kinsman-redeemer. Boaz was willing to pay the cost to redeem these two widows. This redeemer was willing to do more than just the letter of the law. He really wanted to care for these two widows the rest of their lives. He wanted what God wanted for them. God had a plan for the care of Naomi and Ruth. They had put their trust in this plan instead of trusting in themselves. A great choice wouldn’t you say.

33. Naomi & Ruth could rejoice together in the kinsman-redeemer’s marriage proposal.“I will also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, to perpetuate the deceased man’s name on his property, so that his name will not disappear among his relatives or from the gate of his home. You are witnesses today.” (Ruth 4:10) Naomi and Ruth had come a long way since Moab. Ruth had given generously with her life to the needs of Naomi. Ruth had given her all to her Lord and Naomi and now God was generously letting her be redeemed. Ruth had come to Israel poor, widowed, childless and more but she had given out of the abundance of grace that God had given her. Since the day that Ruth had chosen to follow God and her mother-in-law, God had been giving her grace. She had sowed generously out of what she had received and God was letting her and Naomi reap generously. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things and at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” God had made grace abound in Naomi and Ruth so that in all things and at all times they had all that they needed.

Naomi and Ruth may have come to the gate by now to hear Boaz announcing twice that the people were his witness and he was redeeming property, Naomi, Ruth and preserving the name of Naomi’s men. By this time, there probably was a crowd around the gate. Can’t you just see tears of joy streaming down Naomi’s face wherever she was when she heard the news that her long road was ending. She had traveled to a heathen land and seen her husband and two sons die. Now not only could she know she was being redeemed; she could feel it all the way down to her toes. When Naomi came into Bethlehem, the women were shouting that Naomi was back. Naomi now had something she could shout about: she was redeemed and she knew she was God’s child. God had been with her though three deaths and now He had redeemed her.

34. Ruth was blessed by the elders and the people of Bethlehem. “The elders and all the people who were at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is entering your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built the house of Israel. May you be powerful in Ephrathah and famous in Bethlehem.  May your house become like the house of Perez, the son Tamar bore to Judah,  because of the offspring the Lord will give you by this young woman.” Now blessing were coming. I like blessings, don’t you? The people had seen Boaz’s honor and blessings arise from the noble character they had seen in him. Ruth would be coming into Boaz’s house after the wedding ceremony. Boaz would bring her into the house he had made ready for her. The people saw she was a virtuous woman and wanted God to bless her. Boaz could see that her worth was far above rubies. (Proverbs 31:10) and that was one of the many things he loved about her. Marriages should be blessed. Ruth had had a closed womb while married to Mahlon. They asked God to open her womb and give Boaz and Ruth children. They were asking God to bless this cursed Moabite and give her a place among the matriarchs of Israel.

The blessing asks that Boaz would have good standing and a good name through the children that Ruth and Boaz would have. Too many times we hinder the relationship with our spouse and his parents because of our likes and dislikes. As spouses we are to do everything in our power to enrich our in-law’s relationship with our spouse. God wants to use children of all ages to honor the name of their parents. If we as in-law’s get in the way of doing that, we disrupt the relationship God ordained between parents and their children.

Tamar, like Ruth, had been a childless widow. God had blessed Tamar with twins after she planned to get Judah to take action. Naomi and Ruth had come up with a plan to get Boaz to take action as their kinsman-redeemer. God had taken plans from these two widows and blessed them and they ended up in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. The legal proceedings had turned from religious leaders and people who had gathered at the gate into a mood of excitement. It was no longer stale or proper but rather a joyous occasion filled with anticipation for what God was going to do. Blessings filled the air.

35. God was faithful and blessed Ruth with a child and Naomi with a grandson. Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he was intimate with her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.” (Ruth 4:13) Life had not turned out the way either one of these two women had planned. Life had not turned out the way either one of these two women had thought. Life had turned out better. I had always wanted boys. God gave me four boys. I gave up hope for a daughter. I had convinced myself I was not going to have a girl. When my fifth child was born, you guessed it; it was a girl. God had given me the daughter I had always wanted but had given up all hope of having. Can’t you just hear the excitement between Naomi and Ruth when Ruth found out she was pregnant? This childless widow was now feeling something she had never felt before. They must have been the talk of the town. God was blessing Naomi and Ruth. God was giving them a heritage and a reward. “Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lordchildren, a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)  God had raised up these two poor women and seated them with nobles. “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the garbage pile in order to seat them with nobles—with the nobles of His people.” (Ruth 113:7-8) 

God through very different circumstances had allowed Naomi and Ruth to be a part of the next generation in their family. What happens to us when life doesn’t go as we had planned? Naomi and Ruth were left widowed and childless? Was this the end for them? When life seems to end, it may not be the end of something. It may just be God changing our plan to His plan. Naomi and Ruth had to move. Was this the end for them? When locations change for you or members of the family, it may be the beginning of something new. Naomi stayed home and Ruth went to work in Boaz’s field. Was this the end for them? Many times changes occur within a family financially. God sometimes uses it to open up new opportunities, relationships and growth within us.

My family has not turned out the way I had planned. Locations have changed. Relationships have changed. Children and grandchildren are different then what I had planned. When life doesn’t turn out the way you had planned, growth happens. I have grown spiritually and emotionally through life’s changes for me. God took my plan and turned it upside down and shook it up and down. As my plan was changed, so was I changing. God has used my changes to make me more accepting of differences, tolerate of change and open for His will in my life. Life changed for Naomi and Ruth but oh the blessings that came because of it.

 

 

 

What A Mother-in-Law Wants To Say by Lynn Autry

 

Women middle aged

 

 

What do we mothers-in-law have to say? Women are portrayed as always having a lot to say. We are the busy bodies who are always in the middle of things sometimes especially when our control issue gets high. We are the women who are always portrayed as having a lot of advice to throw any direction we can pitch it. What are the things that we would like to really say at the beginning of an in-law relationship.

Accept the mother-in-law as the mother who has cared for this woman or man all of their lives. Accept that her love is tied to them from before they were born. Her love doesn’t decrease because of a date on the calendar. She has enjoyed the awesome things in their lives. She has loved the hugs, kisses and talks along the way actually she has come to expect them. She has given up sleep to care for this person who has married. She has given up over the years what she would have wanted to do for what they wanted to do. She has sacrificially given of her time and money along the years. Accept that the mother will know more about them than you do. She knows the history because she has lived it. Accept that her love isn’t in completion with your love. It is a different love. It is a mother’s love.

Mothers-in-law are just normal women who through God have been able to do extraordinary things in our life. Mothers-in-law have the same emotions and feelings that other women have. In movies and TV shows, mothers-in-law are being portrayed as being critical, cross and unloving. Mothers-in-law experience being happy, sad, joyful, fearful, hopeful, frustration and many other emotions. We are human. Mothers-in-law have days when we just don’t feel well. We get sick or just have an emotional down day. Mothers-in-law sometimes are very busy women with busy schedules. We try to maintain our schedule and also be apart of the lives of our family. Mothers-in-law have been through many different experiences that affect how they live and look at any situation. Mothers-in-law are very normal women who God has turned our struggles into strengths. We are not perfect. We make many mistakes. During our normal lives God turns our ashes into beauty to make an impact of the lives of many people.

Remember there will be conflict at points. The in-law relationships involve several different people with several different view points on any issue. Many things go into how any of us looks at any issues. We all have different histories. In many relationships, different cities, states and even countries are represented. Each person grew up with different parents. There are times when the influence of different denominations and religions also affect how each person looks at an issue. Each person has a different emotional makeup with different needs. There will be different personalities that will be represented in any in-law relationship. When you take into account all the differences that are represented, in any in-law relationship, it is a wonder that there is not more conflict. As we take into account our many differences, remember two words. Forgiveness is huge. We have to be willing to forgive in our conflicts. We may not get the solution we want but we forgive anyway. The other word is grace. We have to extend grace. God extended unmerited favor to us. We did not deserve it. We may not feel like the person we are in a conflict with deserves grace but we extend it anyway. God gave us grace so we need to give grace. Conflict is never easy but if we take into account our differences and remember forgiveness and grace, we will be able to handle the conflict.

Have patience with our family. As daughters-in-law and sons-in-law join a family, many differences come to the forefront. One may have grown up with one or two siblings with a quieter house and another with a loud house of many siblings. One set of parents or grandparents may not have a post secondary education and another with several degrees on their wall. Patience comes with staying with family that is very different than yours. Patience comes when the Thanksgiving and Christmas times are not like what you are used to. Patience comes when family members do not respond like what you are used to with your family. Love is patient. Love is kind. Patience is easy when everything is the same. Patience becomes harder when there are big differences between families. Nehemiah tells us that God is a forgiving, gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. If we are to all have patience within our family relationship, then we are to follow God’s example with us. As God is patient and slow to anger with us, then we are to do the same. Having patience with family is not shown by just keeping our distance. That is not the example that is modeled by the God in Nehemiah’s day. God was and is patient with us up close and personal. Patience is a gentle, long-suffering attitude that brings peace and joy in our relationships and in us. Responding with patience may go against everything we grew up with but it is worth the effort. It will go along way in strengthening our relationships.

All advice that is given is just that advice. Parents have many strengths and experiences that we have learned from. From these experiences, we hope to help our children. Mothers do try to guard our advice but there are times when the advice just trickles out. According to Murphy’s Mothers Law, “Mothers only offer advice on two occasions: when you want it and when you don’t.” When advice is given, please do not feel like it has to be taken. In the definition of advice is the word recommendation. Advice is a recommendation. With any recommendation comes a choice of whether to take it or not. Times have changed. We have gone from wanting advice from seniors to unsolicited advice is considered meddling and controlling. Parents have lines that have been drawn by our culture. Unsolicited advice is a no no. Parents have a decision to cross the line and give unsolicited advice or not each day.  Proverbs tells us that we are to “listen to advice and accept instruction” and a “wise man listens to advice”. There are two words that are important for parents and adult children to remember in relationships. For parents, the word is caution. We need to exercise caution in any advice that we may want to give. For adult children, the word is listen. Most advice is worth listening to. Take what you can use and discard the rest. In two different verses in Proverbs, we are told to listen to advice. If parents will exercise caution and adult children will listen, then conflict can be reduced. When conflict is reduced, than relationships can grow and blossom.

Please keep the lines of communication open. Healthy extended families are shown by honest communication and investing time in each other. As parents and parents-in-law, we still want to stay connected to all the family. We want to know when important things happen to the family. With social media in full demand now, it is easier to be kept informed. It is important to Facebook message, text, or call when big things happen. As parents we don’t need to know every detail but please keep us inform on big things before the Facebook audience. Please keep us informed on moves, grandchildren’s school and church programs, sickness, trips and more. For grandchildren, staying in touch with the grandparents on a regular basis can be reassuring and offer the children a sense of comfort. It can be difficult on the children when they do not know if or when they will hear from their grandparent. Healthy families have a high level of kindness displayed among family members. This is demonstrated largely by an interest in others. We show our interest in each other by keeping each other informed. This is shown by each member of the family. Positive and supportive relationships with family members can be possible to some degree, if we each work on our own part. If we do not relate to our family, this can destroy whatever relationship that exist. The choice is ours on what kind of relationship we want. Do we want to consistently make an effort of kindness by keeping the lines of communication open? I pray the answer is yes.

Please help me be a part of my grandchildren lives. Please don’t feel like I want to determine if there are children or how many. That is clearly the decision of the two married adults. If there are children, we want to be apart of their lives. Grandparents want to build a relationship with their grandchildren. We want to talk to children. With some long-distance relationships, this may take help from you with helping the children with the phone calls. We have special places we want to take the children. We get as excited as they do with seeing the animals at the zoo. We love to see their excitement on rides. We will spend the extra money to watch them do things they love. Please permit overnight stays earlier than later in the child’s life. This also helps the child get used to overnight at grandparents before fears of overnight abounded. My daughter-in-law and son allowed us to take our first as a toddler overnight and the other two before one.  They were so used to coming to grandma’s that they didn’t cry when they were left. We were able to take them on trips to visit great grandparents without tears. This allowed time with long-distance great grandparents that they would not have had. As long as they were with grandma and granddad, it was ok to be in a different house. A study by Oxford found that children were happier if grandparents were a part of their upbringing. The study showed that only grandparents that did things with their grandchildren had a positive impact on their lives. This study found that relationships between grandparents and grandchildren buffered the effects of adverse life events. We want the best for our grandchildren. Thank you for helping us provide a positive and loving grandparent relationship with our grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

 

The Biblical Lessons From Ruth For Daughters-in-law By Lynn Autry

mother-in-law daughter-in-law 1

When I became a daughter-in-law, there were not any how-to books. I just did the best I could. My mother-in-law was the one God knew I needed. She made the position of being a mother-in-law look easy; however, I quickly realized it was not easy. The loving relationship I have enjoyed with my in-laws over the past 33+ years didn’t happen overnight. We all made a real effort to have an awesome relationship. I’m sure my mother-in-law, Mattie, expected certain things that I did not deliver.

The book of Ruth has many lessons for the in-law relationship that many of us struggle with. From the book of Ruth we have, up close and personal, lessons we can learn from how Naomi and Ruth’s relationship. I will be taking us through lessons I have seen of how a daughter-in-law responds to a mother-in-law. This is 1-21 lessons.

1. When things got tuff they did not run out on the relationship. “both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and Naomi was left without her …two children and without her husband.” (Ruth 1:5)Naomi had loss her two sons. Ruth and Orpah had lost their husbands. Life was getting hard. The men that they loved were gone. They lived in a man’s world. How were they going to make it financially without a man. From looking in, it was time to throw in the towel and run back to mama. Have you heard the phrase “when it gets tuff, the tuff get going”. Well, that is what they did. When life got hard, they decided on a plan of action, stay together. For Ruth and Orpah, maintaining the relationship was not optional, it was essential.

2. They helped Naomi prepare to leave. They could have just said no. This was going to be work. Everything was going to Bethlehem or put in a yard sale. They made the choice to help her when she not only needed help but a friend. In John 14, Jesus said “he was going to prepare a place for you.” He made the choice to help us in our time of need instead of just saying no. We in in-law relationships need each other. We have to be sensitive to know when to say  “I’ll help”  to meet the needs of each other.

3. Orpah and Ruth prepared to follow Naomi in her choice to move. Naomi’s daughters-in-law made the decision to respect Naomi’s choice to go back to her homeland. They were kind and loving to her. They did not try to change her mind nor did they desert her but instead they chose to follow her. Peter said in Matt. 19:27, “We have left everything to follow you.” Orpah and Ruth were choosing to leave everything to follow Naomi not by command but by choice. Why would they do that? She had given love and kindness and they were giving it back. They had built a relationship. When the men had died, there was still a relationship that grew. The relationship had survived through tragedy. What an example for you and me.

4. They were able to weep together. “She kissed them, and they wept loudly.”(Ruth 1:9b) What does this verse tell us about the relationship between Naomi and her daughters-in-law? We see an emotional connection between the three. They could relate to each other. They were able to share their feelings of pain through a trusting and honest relationship. They wept and then they openly could weep again together. Communication is the only way in-laws can be connected emotionally. They were able to show affection through touching and who knows that could have been a love language of one. If you are a mother-in-law that enjoys an emotional connection with your daughter-in-law then you are blessed. If you have tried to have an emotional connection with an in-law and they were not willing or ready, move slowly. I pray you will be able to have that positive emotional connection with your in-law in your life.

5. They were willing to do the right thing even amidst persuasions to the contrary. (Ruth 1:11) Naomi had made a decision to go to Israel along. Ruth and Orpah had made a decision to also go to Israel. Naomi could not understand why they would follow her after what they all three had gone through. ” . . . Why would you go with me?. . .” (Ruth 1:11) Naomi starts naming reasons why they would not follow her. Naomi says, “Name me one reason that makes sense, just one.”(Lynn’s paraphrase) She is not going to have any more children. If by a miracle she did, they would be past child-bearing years to wait. Naomi could not see the big picture but God could. God had a plan. He was changing Ruth’s heart to love the same God as Naomi. Ruth was willing to do the right thing even when Naomi was determined to put up emotional road blocks. God was being their redeemer, they just needed to follow His lead.

6. Ruth held on tight to the relationship. ” . . . but Ruth clung to her.”(Ruth 1:14b) It says Ruth clung to Naomi. Ruth had just not made a commitment to Mahlon but to his family. For Ruth this commitment went beyond the death of her husband. At the risk of never getting married or having children, Ruth clings to her mother-in-law. What a conce…pt! There most likely are not many daughters-in-law that will cling to their mother-in-law at the risk of giving up anything. Ruth was as committed to her mother-in-law as she been to her husband. The word “clung” is the word also used for cleave or united in Genesis 2:24. It is also the same word used in Joshua 23:8 for cleave or hold fast. Ruth totally commits to Naomi above her own interests. She holds fast to her commitment to her. Ruth teaches us we must be willing to give up all to follow God. (It’s All About The Mother-in-Law)
7. Ruth accepted Naomi’s family as her own. Ruth says in Ruth 1:16, “your people will be my people”.  Ruth was not only committing herself to be there for Naomi but also her family. Ruth volunteers to accept Naomi’s brothers and sisters in Bethlehem as her aunts and uncles. This verse is used many times in weddings between a future husband and wife. The biblical understanding of marriage is uniting two families. Ruth was uniting in-laws and the extended families. She did not want to end the relationship. She wanted to expand on it. Naomi’s family was a part of her life. Her life had been shaped by family. For Ruth’s and Naomi’s relationship to grow, it would need to include the family that they would be near to influence their life. Ruth shows us to love a mother-in-law is to love and accept the family that is close to her heart.
8. Ruth had decided to follow Naomi’s God. “Your people will be my people and your god my God.”(Ruth 1:16b) What was in Naomi’s life that Ruth wanted to follow her. God was in her life and this was evident to Ruth. Even through Naomi’s grief and bitterness, God was shining forth to Ruth. God’s kindness was in Naomi’s life and this had shown in her actions and words to Ruth over the years. Christ says in Matthew 5:16, we are to let our lives so shine before men that they see our good works and give glory to our Father.  Even through their disobedience of moving to Moab, Ruth had been able to see good works that had drawn her to God in this family. She was changing her allegiances from Chemosh to the one true God. Ruth was saying farewell to the gods of Moab and yes to the God of Israel. She wanted to serve and trust Naomi’s God. Ruth had a desire and had made a choice for Naomi’s God to be hers. How awesome is this when a daughter-in-law is drawn to salvation through the touch of a family.
9. Ruth had accepted Naomi’s homeland as part of her own. “Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.”(Ruth 1:17a) Ruth had decided to follow Naomi and live and die in Israel. She did not even want to be buried in Moab. Naomi’s homeland was the land of God. It was the land of God’s chosen people. Ruth wanted to be where God’s people was and that was Israel. Instead of Ruth standing back and throwing stones at how different Israel was than Moab, she was ready to moved there of her own free will. Ruth is abandoning her last part of security as a widow. She is giving up the security of her homeland. The land that was so familiar to her and comfortable to her. She knew the towns, the weather, hills and valleys. Ruth is transferring her membership from being a member of Moab to a member of Israel. She is transferring her allegiance from Chemosh to God. She was ready to say good-bye, pack up and move. Ruth shows us how to be accepting of another family member’s homeland. Instead of throwing stones, Ruth was accepting. Where we are from has a special place in our hearts, we need to be accepting and not critical of the differences. Ruth shows us how to accept each others states or countries with love.
10. Ruth’s determination for their relationship was clear to Naomi. “When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.” (Ruth 1:18) Ruth had reached a decision. Her firmness in her determination had left Naomi speechless. This may have been the first time Naomi didn’t have a come back. Up until this point, Ruth probably had willingly followed Naomi instructions or wishes but now Ruth was determined to follow her heart. I can just feel her knees shaking can’t you? Her lips probably quivered as she expressed her decision. Ruth had such a firmness in her voice which only God could have given her.  Naomi immediately stopped pleading and urging for her will. She had seen a firm resolve in Ruth to convince her Ruth was coming to Bethlehem. God had once and for all nailed the discussion shut of Ruth staying in Moab. He had intended for her to move to Bethlehem with Naomi and moving she was. It was over. When we want to reason and excuse away what God intends for us to do. God sometimes will stop us in our tracks and say no. God had said no once and far all. Ruth was ready to take on the uncertainty and move on with Naomi.  Her love for Naomi and God had moved her down that dusty dirt road with Naomi to Bethlehem.
11. Ruth followed her mother-in-law regardless of fear of protection and provision. ” The two of them traveled until they came to Bethlehem. When they entered Bethlehem, the whole town was excited about their arrival. . . ” (Ruth 1:19) In ancient times most people traveled on foot and it was a difficult place to travel. The roads were small until the Romans came with their road construction. The roads were worn out dirt paths. The word road in Hebrew means beaten worn out dirt path. For Naomi and Ruth the dirt path wouldn’t have been easy as they walked along in sandals. It was also dangerous to travel. Bandits would lie in wait to attack and rob unsuspecting travelers. Naomi and Ruth did not have the protection of anybody but their God as they walked along the dry and dirty path to Bethlehem. When they set out on the journey to Bethlehem, they knew the path they would walk and the risk they would take with their lives and possessions. Naomi wanted to go home and Ruth wanted to follow her despite the treacherous journey they would take. As they enter Bethlehem tired and alone, they were met with the whole town being excited they had made it. God gave them an excited crowd to wave the pom poms and cheer as they crossed the finished line. They had made it. God had kept them safe for such a time as this.
12. Ruth stayed even through the bitterness. “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,”  she answered,  “for the Almighty has made me very bitter.” (Ruth 1:20) Naomi had left Bethlehem full of life with her husband and two sons. This is how Ruth had met her. Ruth knew her first when her life was full of washing, cooking, cleaning and the excitement of a family. Ruth had been there when they had stuff and when all the stuff was gone. This Naomi that Ruth had followed to Bethlehem was now depressed, rejected and empty. Ruth had seen more than one Naomi. She had seen the pleasant Naomi and she had seen the bitter Mara. She had been there to watch her change. If there was a time for Ruth to run, bitterness would have been the time. Bitterness always cost you more than you want to pay. Ruth had decided to stay even through the bitterness. Naomi was ok with Ruth calling her Naomi just not Bethlehem. This town was now full and Naomi was empty. These women had seen her full and now she just had what she could carry.  Ruth and Naomi had went to Bethlehem looking for God’s blessings. They needed to see God’s grace. They needed to see the unmerited favor that God had already given them. But wait, we know the rest of the story. They will see God’s grace. The Mara will change back to the Naomi Ruth had grown to love over the years.

13.  Ruth wanted to provide food and rest for her mother-in-law. “Ruth the Moabitess asked Naomi, “Will you let me go into the fields and gather fallen grain  behind someone who allows me to.” (Ruth 2:2) Two of the key words in this verse is “will you”. Ruth wanted to help. Naomi was tried and hungry. Ruth was tired and hungry. Instead of waiting on her mother-in-law to make the first move, Ruth did. Ruth wanted the best for her mother-in-law so she offered to go and glean among strangers.  Naomi did not have to put out a Help Wanted sign or plead for help. Ruth accepts her circumstances. She does not complain to Naomi about what she is reduced to do instead she realizes she is the stronger of the two.  Ruth was willing to humble herself and go to a place she did not know to provide food and rest for Naomi.  As mothers-in-law get older, daughters-in-law may have to step up and take some responsibility about their mother-in-law’s physical needs.  God had provided for the poor in Israel.  In Leviticus 23:22, God had told Moses to tell the Israelites to leave grain in the fields for the poor and the aliens. Naomi would have known this. Naomi and Ruth were both poor and Ruth was definitely an alien. This was a test of Ruth’s young faith to be poor and in a strange land. When God told the Israelites to leave food for the poor and aliens, He would have known that one day in His perfect plan Naomi and Ruth would be the poor that would need food.  In Proverbs 31, we are told that a wise woman “provides food for her family.”   We see a wise woman who works with eager hands to provide for her mother-in-law. Wow, what a concept?

14. Ruth desired her mother-in-law’s approval. “And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.’ Naomi said to her, ‘Go ahead, my daughter.'” Ruth is submitting to her mother-in-law, In Ephesians 5:21, we are told to “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” Paul uses the Greek word “hypotassomenoi” which means lining oneself up under. The word is in present tense and middle voice suggesting that a person continues in submission by personal choice. The word gives the idea of voluntarily giving up your rights for someone else. Ruth had already  given up her people, homeland and gods to follow Naomi. She is now saying, “Now that we are here, I want your direction.” The Greek word was used in Greek culture for soldiers standing under the authority of a commanding officer. Submission is one of the secrets to harmony in a home. Naomi and Ruth had a home even if it was just the two of them. As followers of Christ, we should have mutual submission for one another, bearing each other’s burdens, not trying to dominate over another. Sometimes in in-law relationships there is competition  for who is in charge.  Naomi and Ruth were not in competition for the mother in charge role; instead they were submitting to each other. Ruth saw a need and wanted to meet that need for her mother-in-law that she loved so much. Ruth and Naomi were past the rights and had moved into what was best for each other. Selfishness was gone and love was in its place.

15. Ruth was gentle and kind in Naomi’s hometown. “She asked, ‘Will you let me gather fallen grain among the bundles behind the harvesters?'” Ruth is the outsider coming to do something she had never done. Gathering grain in Bethlehem was outside her comfort zone but there was a need.  Ruth starts with a “will you”. She expresses her desire with “If it’s ok with you, can I?” She needed to gather grain but she knew she needed permission first. Ruth knew what she must do but she would only do it by being kind. She would be gentle and kind. In the life of Esther, we see a queen who knew what she must do. When Esther approached the king, she said, “If it pleases the king,”. Esther was kind even though she knew lives were at stake. Ruth and Esther had chosen to do it God’s way. Many verses remind us of kindness such as I Cor. 13:4, “Love is kind” and Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind”. In in-law relationships, we need to remember Ruth’s example. Ruth knew what she needed but asked permission with gentleness and kindness. Boaz’s servant showed favor to Ruth’s kind spirit that we know could have only came from God. God took a Moabite and transported her to Bethlehem and put her in Boaz’s field for this time. Ruth’s kindness in this field was rewarded with the privilege to gather grain to helped feed her mother-in-law Naomi.

16. Ruth worked diligently to provide for Naomi’s needs. “She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.” (Ruth 2:7b) The word diligently means she was constant in her effort. She was persistent in what she wanted to accomplish. The servant reported to Boaz that Ruth stayed on her feet working all day. She intended to work as long as she could that day. She had made the effort to find a field that would allow her to glean so why would she stop. The grain was before her. All she had to do was depend on God to give her strength to work. God had blessed her with a place to glean and the strength to work. She could accomplish anything with the Lord by her side.  Naomi was always on her mind while she was working. She knew what the needs were for Naomi and herself. Her rest at the hut would be brief because the needs were in the forefront for Ruth. Titus 3:14 tells us  “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.” Ruth devoted herself to doing what was right for Naomi and provided the daily provisions for her. Ruth was living a productive life. God had richly provided for Naomi and Ruth. Ruth’s love for Naomi showed in her care for Naomi. Her love was a active love. She saw the needs of Naomi and took action.  What an example Ruth shows us for caring for a mother-in-law.

17. She was grateful for kindness shown to her in Bethlehem. “At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me-a foreigner?” (2:10)  Ruth’s reputation in Bethlehem was being formed by the townspeople she saw, workers she worked behind and relatives that knew the kindness she had shown Naomi. Ruth with humility showed her gratitude with her whole body in front of Boaz as she bowed before him. Can’t you just feel her knees shaking as he came over to her? It was her first time meeting the wealthy owner of the field. She bowed in an act of worship before God and Boaz. She knew for Boaz to notice her, God had been in the middle of this. Her gratitude poured out not only in her body language but also in her language. Prov. 22:11 says “He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.” Ruth’s speech was gracious and respectful and Boaz had done more than notice. Boaz had noticed a woman in his field. If that was not enough, he had noticed a Moabite woman. Boaz had done more than he had to. He had noticed a Moabite woman and spoke kindly to her. He had exhibited grace. Ruth had looked into his eyes and saw grace. Ruth and Boaz had each done more than was required. This has to come from the inside.  Ruth and Boaz’s heart was full of grace, respect and gratitude Our in-law relationships  body language and speech need to be all about grace, respect, and gratitude to each other. What a change that would make in our relationships if our body language showed gratitude and our eyes was full of grace.

 

18. The word was spreading on what Ruth had done for Naomi. She had not only  been known as a Moabitess but also the kind daughter-in-law. “Boaz replied, ‘I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband-how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.'” (Ruth 2:11) In Paul’s journey, Luke tells us the islanders showed Paul unusual kindness. (Acts 28:2) It was unusual for a foreigner to leave her homeland and follow an Israelite back to Bethlehem willingly. Ruth’s kindness for Naomi and her people were unusual. She had done the unexpected and different. She had made sacrifices that people could see. Her love for Naomi was shown by her kindness to her. Her love had been patient thru Naomi’s bereavement and pain. Her love had been understanding through the move and through it all, her disposition had been pleasant and kind. The Israelites could see Ruth’s kindness to Naomi and also her kindness to them. Ruth’s kindness was overflowing to everyone. We are commanded to be kind to one another in 2 Tim. 2:24. Ruth’s kindness was to each person. People tend to gospel about juicy bad stuff. This was juicy good stuff that people could not stop talking about. The word was spreading across the town and fields. Kindness to a mother-in-law was worth talking about for the Israelites. Ruth had surprised them all with her kindness.

19. God was using other people to bless Ruth for her kindness shown to her mother-in-law. Boaz was bestowing a blessing of God on Ruth in Ruth 2:12. “May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, The God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” There are three important words in this verse for Ruth. The first is repay. Boaz is not satisfied with his  generosity, he wants Yahweh to repay Ruth for what she has done for Naomi as well. God was going to replace the difficult times in Moab with blessings in Israel. Boaz had seen God reward people for their actions. Ruth in his eyes deserved God’s blessing for her kindness to Naomi. The second important word  for Ruth is reward. Boaz wanted Ruth to receive a full reward from the LORD God of Israel. Ruth the Moabite had made sacrifices for Naomi an Israelite. She had willing transferred her allegiance from the god of the Moabites to the God of the Israelites. Her former god would not give her anything but her God would give her a full not half but a full reward for what she had done. The third important word is refuge. Like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings for safety, Ruth could count on the LORD being her refuge at any time.  Ruth had come to Boaz and he had offered her his protection, he was personally functioning as the wings of God. He was not only offering her safety but also honoring God. Proverbs says “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” (Prov 14:31) Boaz had used three loaded words in this verse to convey to Ruth God’s blessing for her life. God would repay, reward and be her refuge for what she had done for her mother-in-law. God was going to bless and bless even more than she could imagine.

20. Ruth showed humility in the midst of work. Ruth showed her humility in her response to Boaz. “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord.” she said. “You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant-though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls.” Ruth walked into this field nervous and maybe her knees shaking. Naomi had prepared her with what to expect but that did not take away the fears of being in a new place with new people.  Everything was knew and she did not recognize any faces she knew. Boaz had reached out to her. She was so thankful to him. Ruth did not take Boaz’s favor for granted. She asked Boaz if she could continue to find grace in his eyes. He had given her confidence that she would be alright in this field. He had comforted  and consoled her fears. He had given her a sign of relief. Boaz had spoke kind words to her. We never know when a kind word and a smile sends comfort to people we don’t even know. Ruth had just met Boaz but God had used his words to give Ruth a sense of peace and safety. Boaz had treated her better than a foreigner. Ruth was so grateful for Boaz’s kindness. Ruth had remained humble in Boaz’s field. God had used Boaz to show Ruth her importance. She was not even a female servant but God had used this man to comfort and bring relief to her soul. How special is that.

21. God showed Ruth favor during her work because of her kindness to her mother-in-law. “At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.” When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over.” (Ruth 2:14) Ruth stayed out in the field when it was time for a meal break. Boaz approaches Ruth, a Moabite and woman, and  invites her to eat with the harvesters. The important was reaching out to the seemingly unimportant to distribute grace. Boaz was showing unusual favor to Ruth. Boaz had generously had more than enough food prepared for his harvesters. One more wouldn’t matter. He wanted her needs to be met more than just doing the letter of the law. He offers her bread that is prepared for the harvesters. He could have left his favor at that but he did more. God does that in our lives. He could give us just enough but He always wants us to have more than we have. Boaz offers roasted grain that is a staple food for the Israelites. Ruth was working hard. She needed more than just bread to give her the energy she needed. Ruth had done the unusual. She had followed and cared for a Israelite mother-in-law. Boaz had done the unusual. He had approached a Moabite woman, offered her a seat with the  harvesters, given her bread, given her grain and satisfied her with food.  Boaz was a man of few words but he had showed grace to Ruth. Through that grace God had poured out compassion, generosity and acceptance to Ruth. The grace that Ruth had showed to her mother-in-law had been returned to her in abundance. God was giving her fullness in more than one way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Mother/Daughters-in-law Relationships By Nagwa Abdou

Best Mother/Daughters-in-law Relationships By Nagwa Abdou

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14).

For thousands of years, parents controlled their children’s marital affairs. They helped their children find the suitable bride that the family and the child would learn to love (Abraham sent his servant to the city of Nahor to find a suitable daughter–in-law for his son Isaac). Also the parents had the last word and if they thought this union wasn’t in the family’s best interest, the child had to agree with their decision.

Then came the idea of independence and free will and that the children should be able to make their own choices including whom to marry. Then unity between two different families who are different in culture and social life started to merge.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

Without doubt, this moment is the happiest and the hardest moment for the in-laws’ lives, when they know in this moment they have to release and let go of their children to someone else (like a hard farewell) so they can establish their own life together.

The reality is, marriage is not between two people but rather it is the unity between two different families. We need to realize that being different is not a bad thing for despite cultured and social differences, it does not mean that one is the right way and the other is the wrong way. Instead they should learn to adapt themselves and learn to embrace whom God has brought into their lives.

Entreat me not to leave you or turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16).

Read more at http://suscopts.org/resources/literature/691/best-motherdaughter-in-laws-relationships/

 

Loving the Other Mother by Liz Curtis Higgs

This is an article I received in an email from Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is a must read.

 

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

The truth? I am not what my mother-in-law prayed for. She would have been happy with Mary or Martha as a wife for her godly son. Instead, she got Rahab. That is to say, a former bad girl, slightly tattered around the edges, continually grateful for God’s grace.

Because I lost my own mother to emphysema in my twenties, the idea of getting to know my husband’s mother was both thrilling and intimidating. Given time, I hoped we might become mother-daughter close. But as each year went by, I became less certain of my place in her heart.

Did Mary Lee Higgs love me for making her son happy and giving her two brilliant grandchildren? Yes, absolutely.

But did she like me as a person? Approve of me as a daughter-in-law? I wasn’t entirely sure, and so I emotionally held her at arm’s length, guarding my still-tender heart.

Yes, I did all the right things, especially on Mother’s Day — greeting cards, fresh flowers, dinners out, nice gifts. But I wasn’t fully invested in her happiness the other 364 days of the year, in part because I had no idea what might please her most.

Then I became a mother-in-law. Oh.

I quickly began making amends with Mary Lee, finally understanding the one thing she needed from me — unconditional love, expressed in as many ways as possible. Because of God’s kindness (and her patience), our last five years together were sweeter than all the years that came before them combined.

If you have a mother-in-law, it’s never too late to strengthen or rebuild your one-of-a-kind relationship. Which of these practical ideas might work best for you?

See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/loving-the-other-mother/#sthash.CGAf5Jm1.dpuf