Reflecting on the whole book of Ruth, I feel I have a better understanding of waiting on the Lord. The expectations that society and, perhaps, Ruth herself had for the rest of her life were not what God had in mind for her. As a widow, her patience and her faith guided her to the path she was on when she met Boaz. The blessings of the Lord were bestowed upon both her and her mother-in-law, as Naomi was able to nurse her own grandchild.

The most important verses to me were 11 and 12: “And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, ‘We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the Lord will give you from this young woman” (NKJV). These verses highlight the blessings of those around them and how much Ruth and Boaz affected them. Those around them and the whole of Israel were blessed through their marriage, as Ruth bore to Boaz the child who would beget David.

I found that God uses the humble and uplifts them to be his servants. Further, the wedding guests blessed Ruth in v. 11 as “the woman who is coming to [Boaz’s] house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel.” To me this represented the importance of community in this chapter, as the place that Ruth left behind bid her to go into the next stage with good tidings and comfort that would follow her throughout her days. I pray that all my days be like that of Naomi’s blessing in v. 14, that I may say, “Blessed be the Lord who has not left [me] this day without a close relative.”

Alexandria Oguntula
Pepperdine University

Unexpected Gift

Friendship is an unexpected, indescribable gift that God has placed in my life. I came to Pepperdine University from Arkansas and knew only one person who would be on campus. I was anxious, and I had no idea what to expect after I left everything I knew and moved to California. Throughout my college career, I have built relationships with others that will last a lifetime. I have been encouraged and lifted up in ways that I had never experienced before. I have found a community of people who walk through life with me and make the most of each season of life.

I am currently in a stage of engaged bliss. After coming back from Christmas break with a smile on my face and a ring on my finger, I was blown away by the amount of support and encouragement I received. My friends threw a surprise party for me and my fiancé, and we celebrated this joyful commitment. As I walked into a room filled with smiling faces, laughter, and hugs, I was completely humbled, and I thanked God for the gift of friendship.

Ruth 2 tells the story of Ruth’s unswerving and selfless devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and how the Lord provides her with an unexpected gift in response: his faithful love through human relationships. After Naomi’s husband passes away, she decides to leave her family and move in with her mother-in-law to provide for her. She moves away knowing that she would be an extremely vulnerable foreigner, but she still makes the transition.

A man named Boaz provides Ruth with a field from which to glean and promises that she will be safe there. He tells her he has spoken with his servants and tells them not to harass her. He also tells her to drink from the water buckets if she is thirsty and not to worry about a thing. Ruth’s reaction to this provision is nothing short of amazing. She is completely humbled that someone would treat a foreigner so kindly and asks him why. Boaz awakens hope in her heart.

Boaz answeres her: “‘I’ve heard all about you — heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers. God reward you well for what you’ve done — and with a generous bonus besides from God, to whom you’ve come seeking protection under his wings’” (Ruth 2:11-12 MSG).

God works in mysterious ways that often catch us by surprise. The Lord’s love is not confined to certain human ideals. We worship an everlasting, powerful, and totally indescribable King of All Kings. What kind of God would we be worshiping if we could understand his ways?

God has a mysterious love for us that stretches from the East to the West. Awaken the hope in your heart and remind yourself that He is the Lord of Lords and the King of All Kings. Reflect upon the unexpected gifts that the Lord has provided in your life and thank Him.

No matter what season of life we are in — whether it’s preparing for marriage or struggling through intense difficulties — the Lord is alive and searching for a way to surprise us with unexpected gifts. He is a God of relationships and wants to connect with us. “Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘Why, God bless that man! God hasn’t quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!’” (Ruth 2:20).

Hope Hesslen
Pepperdine University Church of Christ
Malibu, CA