76 Sermons On The Old Testament Given By Jesus
Sermon 12 - Ruth’s trust in the Father’s Love.
April 10th, 1958
Received by Dr Samuels
I am here, Jesus.
In this sermon I continue to show you how the Old Testament of the Hebrews developed stories in which some of the characters act towards their fellowmen in a spirit of love attesting to that human love which was implanted in mankind by God and was the forerunner of that sublime love which the Father has available for whosoever of His children seek it in earnest prayer, so that, abiding in their souls, it will provide the salvation which - as the Messiah of God - I brought with me when on earth.
This story concerns Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth who followed the old widow back from Moab to her native Bethlehem in Judea, from whence she had come with her sons at a time when famine dwelt in the land Palestine. And in Moab, Naomi, the widow, lived with her two sons and Daughters-in-law, until, given the harshness of the times, the two sons were stricken and she decided to return to her native land, with the thought that her daughters-in-law would perhaps find new husbands in their own country.
Now Ruth’s sister-in-law, Oprah, returned to her people and to those gods which the Moabites of those times worshipped, and indeed, Naomi bade Ruth do likewise, but Ruth replied with those words which have become so soul-stirring in its religious appeal, not only in Hebrew, but in many languages all over the earth.
“Entreat me not to leave thee to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go ; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried : the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” (Ruth 1: 16 - 17)
Now from those memorable words, it may be concluded that Ruth, the Moabite, daughter of a pagan people, had received some unusual or miraculous knowledge of the Father, to be able to thus forsake her own local gods and adhere to the God whose existence had been made known to her through her Hebrew husband and mother-in-law; and to a certain degree, this is true. But actually, the loving nature of the Father, to the extent that it was known to the peoples of those days, had become known to her through her relationship with Naomi. For Naomi was kind, and loving, treating her daughters-in-law with a solicitude and a tenderness, and a care for their welfare that brought out in Ruth a great feeling of love and devotion, and it was thus that she wanted to share the fortunes or vicissitudes with this woman who was to her like a mother. And it was these qualities of warmth and love and affection, of concern for Ruth and her interests, that made Ruth realize that here was a person who in her way of life manifested a soul that shone with the light of her loving Father in Heaven.
And so Ruth concluded, and she had had many years of life together with Naomi to come to this decision, that a good hearted woman such as Naomi could exist only if her Creator - her God - possessed the wonderful qualities of love and kindness which He had imparted to His Creation. and since Naomi was a Hebrew, she knew in her heart that the God of the Hebrews was a God of Love, such as He manifested through His children.
And when Ruth made her abode in Bethlehem, she found that just as a Hebrew woman could be loving and kind to a degree not before experienced in her life, so could a Hebrew man be as tender and loving, whether he was her husband or not. For when Boaz saw her gleaning in the fields, his heart went out in sympathy for her, because of her unpretentiousness and her humility, her resigned acceptance of the harsh events in her life to which she had been subject, and her willingness to place herself at his mercy. These qualities caused her to find favor in his eyes. And again, he wished to repay her for all the kindness which she, though a pagan woman, had done unto Naomi, his kinsman, and he admired her for her courage in leaving her father and mother, and coming to live in a land of strangers. And he knew she had put her trust in the Heavenly Father, and being a religious man and endowed with a sense of responsibility towards his goods, which he felt were a sort of trusteeship from the Father’s Bounty, he felt that her trust in the Father should not be in vain, but be rewarded. And Naomi said unto her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead.” (Ruth 2: 20) And she was speaking of her kinsman, Boaz.
The remainder of the story deals with the business deal whereby the nearer of kin was unable to redeem Naomi’s field, in that it would mar his own inheritance, and thus it gave Boaz an opportunity to do so and also obtain Ruth as his wife, in accordance with the Hebrew law which permitted a next of kin to marry that man’s wife or other eligible female.
And thus it was that through her love for Naomi, her mother-in-law, that Ruth, the pagan woman of Moab, left her native land and clung on to her; and it was because of the kindness and love which Boaz saw in Ruth’s treatment of her dead brother’s wife, that he himself appreciated the warmhearted qualities of the Moabite, and caused him to fall in love with her, regardless of her different race. The story, then, has a certain relationship with that of Joseph, in that it demonstrates with what conviction the Hebrews of those days, as well as many sincere Hebrews of today, relied upon God’s Love and Mercy to lift them out of the pit of evil fortune and troublesome times. For the goodness of Naomi, of Ruth and of Boaz, working together in harmony and human love, was able to surmount the vicissitudes suffered by the two women as a result of the hard times, in famine and pestilence, which then prevailed in those days of the Judges. And the final prosperity and happiness which succeeded the trials that beset the two women, was seen as the Hand of God in His Great Goodness and Mercy, outstretched to deliver His children from the evils of the world. And in reading the story of Ruth, people have seen in the narrative the great influence which sincere human love and good-will, as the spiritual inheritance bestowed upon man with God’s creation of the human soul, possess in making right the wrongs brought about by the action of material things as well as by those in whom the soul is dormant. So that Ruth is one of the great stories of the Old Testament which demonstrates the development of the human love, as a love given to mankind by the Father, who, while His children love with a human love, loves His children with that Divine Love which is His Essence, and which is now available to all those who seek that Love in earnest longing and prayer.
Before concluding, I wish to point out a number of other aspects of the story which help make of it one of the great universal narratives, which has a bearing upon the nature of the Father as a God of Love. For while it appears in the Old Testament of the Hebrews, and deals with a period of time affecting the lives of these people, yet the work is one that belongs to all the children of the Father. For Ruth is not a Hebrew, but a woman of the Gentiles, and it demonstrates that the human being is worthy of love and affection, loyalty and kindness, with out regard to his race or religion, and I might add the color of his skin, for man is the child of the Father by virtue of his created soul, and to treat one another with love is to manifest the Nature of the Father, at least to the degree it was then available to mankind, and show that God exists through the works of his created beings. And for men to love one another with the Divine Love is to be a participant in that Love with which the Father loves His children, and we, both mortal and spirits, who possess that Love in our hearts, become at-one with the Father in that Love to the extent of that possession.
As a conclusion, let me state in its final form, edited many centuries after it was written down for the first time, it becomes a protest against the priestly prohibition of intermarriage between Hebrews and Gentiles at the time when the Babylonian Jews were permitted by Cyrus to return to rebuild Jerusalem. This caused considerable distress and hardship among people of mixed marriages. The story of Ruth was a plea for love and tolerance and human values above strictly racial considerations.
Jesus of the Bible
Master of the Celestial Heavens