12th November 2014
LOYALTY & SUBMISION PART 1
SUBJECT: What is loyalty?
The first question we need to ask ourselves is, “what do we understand loyalty to be”? If you were to walk down the street and ask people randomly what top ten qualities they would want in a close friend, relative or spouse, I am sure loyalty would be one of these qualities. Loyalty is: devoted attachment to another. Under normal circumstances we all value being devotedly attached to others and they being devotedly attached to us. When a relationship has loyalty, the relationship is enriched and both parties feel secure in the love, commitment and respect that come together with it.
Ruth, a woman of loyalty
As we study the book of Ruth, certain characteristics come to light when we take a closer look at Ruth, the Moabite widow. One of these qualities is her loyalty. In Chapter 1, we are presented with Ruth, a woman who had lost her husband. Under these circumstances and with no reference of her having children, she could have decided to end the relationship that she had with her mother in-law Naomi. However we learn that Ruth chose to remain and to serve Naomi despite her loss. This is definitely ‘devoted attachment’ which is most extra-ordinary!
Naomi even tried her utmost best to dissuade Ruth and her fellow sister in-law Orpah that there was no reason for them to follow her to her home town of Bethlehem. Naomi proclaimed,
“Turn back, my daughters, why will you go back with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?” Ruth 1:11 Even though Naomi could not see why her daughters in-law would follow her, Ruth was persistent and determined to abide with her. Naomi only stopped protesting when she saw how resolute Ruth was.
With hindsight we can learn that sometimes, the people that we are destined to serve or assigned to serve will even discourage us from serving them. But it is through our serving them that God opens new doors for us and ushers us into new and greater seasons. If Ruth had not been persistent, she would not have served in Boaz’s field; she would not have caught his attention; she would not have been considered for remarriage; she might never have been married in a foreign land too. Many a times we have seen that women who relocate to foreign lands struggle more to get married than the peers they left in their home land, BUT when women choose to keep company with those who serve Jehovah God (as in Ruth’s case, where she kept company with Naomi) and then they also make Jehovah God their God, God in His good mercies will bless them with great blessings, as in Ruth’s case. Therefore, from Ruth we can deduce that when we are loyal to God and choose to follow Him, He blesses us with the best.
Those who are loyal to God are blessed with the best
When we study the book of Ruth, so many qualities of Boaz come to light. These are the following:
*A man of great wealth – Ruth 2:1- “…..a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.”
*A man of integrity – Ruth 3:12-13- Boaz honoured the customs and traditions of the land; he did not take advantage of the fact that Ruth was a foreigner in the land.
*A man in leadership – Ruth 2:5, Ruth 2:9 and Ruth 2:13 – Boaz was a man with menservants and maidservants.
*A man of God – Ruth 2:1- He came from the family of Elimelech who were Ephrathites of Bethlehem.
*A man who respected authority – Ruth 4:1 -When the gates are spoken of in the Bible, these are places where the elders of the city would gather to discuss what concerned them and the people they ruled. Therefore by going to the gates to settle the issue of Ruth, Boaz was demonstrating that he honoured authority. He did not operate without authority, transparency and counsel. Most women would say yes to a man who does not dodge the law!
*A man of his word – Ruth 3:13 and Ruth 4:8-10 – Boaz fulfilled his word to Ruth that if the nearest kinsman was not prepared to perform the duty of a close relative he would perform that duty for her, which is exactly what he did.