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
[Boaz] said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. Ruth 3:9-11
Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Ruth 4:14-15
Why? That question usually rises up in our flesh from time to time when we are called to obey God. Love your wife and children. Why? Be kind to your coworker. Why? Spend time with me in prayer. Why?
The simple answer is that you should do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. It is God’s command. You will deepen your relationship with your wife if you love her. You will show Jesus to your coworker as you are kind. You will get to know God better as you study His word and commune with Him.
The root of the “Why” question often arises because we question how effective our obedience will be. Why obey if I can’t see the fruit that will come from my obedience?
For the spouse whose wife despises him, what fruit will come from loving her? Or why should I be kind to my coworker who undercut me for that position? And if I don’t feel like I’m growing closer to God after I spend time with him, why would I study and pray?
To the doubters, I give you Ruth and Boaz. I love the examples from the Old Testament of people who stepped up and did the right thing without ever seeing the outcome.
Ruth, a widowed foreigner, chooses to do the right thing and follow her mother-in-law back to Judah. She willingly cares for Naomi and abandons her own home for the sake of Naomi even to the point of saying, “Where you die I shall die, and there I will be buried.” (Ruth 1:17). From the circumstances, I can strongly assume that Ruth did not foresee the outcome of her obedience.
Boaz, a successful farmer and businessman, chose to obey the command of the Lord and sought the opportunity to be a kinsman-redeemer (Deuteronomy 25:5-10) to keep the line of Elimelech and Naomi alive. There is no way that Boaz in obeying could have seen in the moment the long-term impact of His obedience. Boaz was simply acting in obedience as he redeemed Ruth and married her.
And yet, the simple in-the-moment obedience of both Ruth and Boaz led to the birth of man named Jesse who had a son by the name of David. And it is from this Davidic line that the Savior of the world, King Jesus, was born in the little town of Bethlehem.
Two things happen when you obey Him. First and instantly, you bring glory to God. The world sees it. Your wife will see it. God will be seen as more beautiful when you adorn His doctrines (Titus 2:10). Second and unforeseen, God uses the obedience of His people as a means to accomplish His plan. You have no idea how masterfully God will use your simple obedience in the little situations of life. Maybe your coworker will turn to Christ in repentance. Maybe tomorrow morning, when you meet Him in the quiet, God will show himself more clearly to you than ever before. Maybe God will use the love shown to your wife to open her eyes.
We aren’t called to be omniscient. God has that handled. We are called to be obedient and trust Him with the results.
I pray we do that more today.