The story of Ruth is captivating but too brief for this gal who loves the details of people's lives. If a woman had written this story, it would have been as thick as the entire Bible itself ya'll. But since it isn't, which for sure is God's design, us girls are made to dig deeper to find the meaning behind such a short book. I'm gonna try to do just that, with a tiny section of Ruth, the blessing that is spoken over her as Boaz becomes her husband, her Kinsman-Redeemer.
And all the people standing there, and the witnesses replied, "We are witnesses. May the Lord make this woman, who has now come into your home, as fertile as Rachel and Leah, from whom all of the Nation of Israel descended!"
Ruth 4: 11 The Living Bible
Rachel and Leah... Such an interesting choice for a blessing of a marriage, a blessing of future children. See Leah and Rachel competed for the attention of their man Jacob. They fought for his admiration, each wanting to be the most loved, the most prized, all depending upon the number of sons they gave him. Jacob (the son of Isaac, Grandson of Abraham) had fallen in love with Rachel and wanted to marry only her. He agreed to work for her father for 7 years to gain her hand. After those 7 years of hard work, Rachel's father agreed to the deal, only to place her sister Leah in the wedding tent that night. Jacob was broken hearted to wake up next to Leah the next morning. He agreed to work for 7 more years to gain Rachel's hand in marriage. So you can only imagine the wrestling that occurred between these two sisters in marriage to Jacob. They encountered jealousy, questioned their worth, competed for Jacob's favor and love... On this earth they had no idea the role they would play in God's kingdom, but they pressed forward in the promise that was buried deep within them. The promise that God had a plan. Yet they had no idea the role they would play in God's kingdom.
May you be a great and successful man in Bethlehem, and may the descendants the Lord will give you from this young woman be as numerous and honorable as those of our ancestor Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah. Ruth 4: 11b - 12
Tamar marries the first born son of Judah. Judah is one of the sons that Leah had with Jacob and he was the brother who convinced his other brothers to spare Joseph's life by selling him into slavery. Judah, once he witnesses the heart ache of his father Jacob over the "death" of his favorite son Joseph, whom he conceived with Rachel, fleas to make his own way. He marries and has three sons. Tamar marries the oldest, but he is found wicked in the eyes of the Lord and is struck down. To fulfill the law, she is given to marriage to Judah's second oldest son. Due to his disobedience, he is found wicked in the eyes of the Lord is also struck down. Judah decides to protect his youngest son from death, planning to keep him from marrying Tamar. He explains that his youngest son is not yet old enough to marry. He sends Tamar off to her father's house to wait for his youngest son to become of age. Tamar waits and realizes she is not going to be given in marriage to the youngest son and her hopes of conceiving and fulfilling the law and lineage of her first husband will be impossible. She then comes up with a plan to seduce Judah by pretending to be a prostitute. (Girls, just when you think you've lived a life that makes you unworthy, open up your Bible and take a gander at the folks God redeems and uses.) Tamar conceives a child, reveals her identity to Judah and she gives birth to twins. Perez pushes past his twin in the birth canal and arrives first, staking his claim as first born. On this earth Tamar encountered grief, was exiled, lonely, hopeless and left out. She questioned her worth, but she pressed forward in the faith that God had a plan for her, a promise. Yet she had no idea the role she would play in God's kingdom.
Then the elders and all those at the gate said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah." Ruth 4:11-12 NIV
Because these women; Rachel, Leah and Tamar, moved forward in their faith, they were remembered in this blessing to Ruth for their contribution to God's kingdom, not for the day to day struggles, but for the fruit. We often skip over those long lists of folks in the Bible, often miss the importance and brilliance of the genealogy that God carefully crafted because we don't understand. But I'm finding the more I dig and seek wisdom I'm finding that every person in the lineage to Christ, was just that, a person. Each name has a story, with it's own heart aches and struggles. God assembled each one for His masterpiece, to be the map to the Messiah, which the elders at the gate with Boaz had no idea about! Hear this, the elders at the gate knew of Perez's genealogy up to Boaz... They had no idea the shepherd boy David was just 3 generations away... They had no idea that Jesus the Christ would be in this same, singular, carefully crafted line when they gave this blessing over Ruth.
Ya'll, God puts visions, promises and even words into the mouths of His children for His purpose... present and future. When we move forward in faith, we are open to His beautiful work. I wonder what He is gonna do with you? With me? I wonder how our present day struggles are paving the way for His purpose, for His kingdom? I sure know this, we'll be remembered for our contribution to the kingdom, for the fruit He harvested in us more than the path that took us there.