But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16 ESV
At the beginning of the book of Ruth, both Ruth’s and her sister-in-law’s husband has died. Their mother-in-law Naomi begs them to return to their own people. Ruth, who is a Moabite, refuses and decides to go to Naomi’s people. This act of loyalty towards Naomi is clearly favored by the LORD, as Ruth is an ancestor of Christ Himself.
And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he (Boaz) be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Ruth 20a ESV
God’s blessings on Ruth are not all for the future, however. He sends Boaz, whom she will later marry, to ensure that she and her mother-in-law have enough food to eat. While their life may still be hard, Ruth and Naomi are still in God’s hands, and He is clearly looking out for them.
Paul, an apostle – not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead-and all the brothers who are with me. Galatians 1:1-2a ESV
Like Ruth, Paul also experienced divine intervention in his life, albeit in a much more dramatic manner. In the opening of his letter to the Galatians, Paul makes it clear that God, not man, was responsible for the abrupt change of heart and his passion for Christ. After God completely changes Paul heart, he becomes one of the most vocal apostles, writing many of the New Testament letters.
Though both Ruth and Paul may have come from non-typical backgrounds (Ruth was a foreigner among God’s chosen people and Paul was a former persecutor of the church among the other apostles) God used them both to demonstrate His love and compassion for everyone, no matter where they were born, who they were born too, and what they previously did. Ruth and Paul show how far God’s love can reach and how welcoming He is to those outside of His family. He beckons everyone to come to Jesus for salvation and to take a seat at the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Dear God, Thank You for sending Jesus to save us. Thank You for reaching out to outsiders and rebels and offering them the same salvation you offer everyone else. Thank You for forgiving our sins when we call to Christ for forgiveness. In Your Holy Name, Amen.