We’re familiar with the book of Ruth as a book of redemption. Naomi goes from the bitter loss of losing her husband and two sons to great blessing. Ruth leaves her own land of Moab and goes with Naomi back to Judah and meets Boaz. Boaz is the kinsman redeemer who performs the act of redeeming Naomi's land and marries Ruth. Naomi who was once bitter is now blessed as she holds Ruth and Boaz's child named Obed. Redemption is the overarching theme of this book but there is also a picture of friendship in this book. That great friend is Ruth. Her name means friend in Hebrew. We see Ruth was a friend to Naomi, whose name means pleasant but allowed herself to become Mara, which means bitter. Ruth was a loyal friend to Naomi despite her own loss and adversity. It was Ruth’s friendship to Naomi that turned Naomi's bitterness to blessing. Ruth as a loyal friend teaches us how to be a friend to others. Each chapter of this short but powerful book shows us a principle for being a friend.
Chapter 1 - Ruth was a determined friend (1:6-22) as she was determined to go to Judah with Naomi despite Naomi's urging to stay in Moab.
Chapter 2 - Ruth was a loyal friend who laid down her life for Naomi (2:1-3) as she goes to the fields and gathers grain in the fields.
Chapter 3 - Ruth was a loyal friend by taking advice from Naomi (3:1-6) in going to Boaz and asking him to perform the duties of a kinsman redeemer.
Chapter 4 - Ruth as a loyal friend who brought blessing to Naomi (4:13-17). Ruth brought blessing to Naomi because of the kind of friend she was in the first three chapters.
May we learn to be the kind of friends this worlds needs. May we learn not to let people's bitterness, walls of resistance, discouragement, defeated attitude, harshness and stubbornness keep us from being friends to them. Maybe then, we too can be the kind of friends that bring blessings to other peoples' lives.