You choose how to count your 50 miles: it can be an accumulation of all the miles you’ve previously walked, or if you’re up to 15 miles you can add 35 more, or you can start from zero and aim for 50 miles this month—it's up to you. Just think about Ruth and her experience as you walk!
We’re on the final lap of our walking journey this month alongside Ruth, one of the five women in the line of Jesus. Ruth was an outsider from Moab who left her own people to care for her widowed Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth’s story isn’t just another love story—it's about how God redeems those who hope in him.
Ruth traveled from her home in Moab with Naomi to Bethlehem; the distance from Moab to Bethlehem is approximately 50 miles over rugged and steep terrain and will be our distance goal for this month’s walking challenge. Need an extra challenge? Try a 2% incline on your treadmill or add some big hills to your walking route!
This week, read how Ruth overcame tragedy and showed integrity and devotion to God, becoming the great grandmother of King David and a forbearer of Jesus. Read Ruth’s story in the Book of Ruth, chapters 1-4.
What would it have been like to trek alongside Naomi and Ruth on their way back to Bethlehem from Moab? Imagine the stunning landscapes, hazardous roads, and campfire meals as you watch this video collaboration from Samantha Corcoran @exploregeologos. You’ll see the geography behind Ruth 1:19 and feel like you’re on the journey with them.
Did you know that the book of Ruth follows the book of Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible? When Proverbs asks, “A wife of noble character who can find?” it is as if the scribes are putting up a neon sign to flash, “Ruth is worthy!” So, what circumstances did Ruth overcome to become this worthy woman?
Ruth was a Moabite: the nation of Moab was an ancient enemy of Israel and God had warned his people to stay away from their idolatry (Num. 25, 2 Kings 3). Ruth overcame her idolatrous upbringing and began actively following the God of Israel and lovingly caring for Naomi (1:16). Ruth was a Widow: In this ancient culture widows had no way to make a living without the land and resources of their husbands and had no protection from exploitation. But God provided safety for Ruth through guardian-redeemer Boaz (2:10). Ruth was Living in Poverty: with no land of their own the only option was for Ruth to glean leftover crops from other farmers’ fields; this was a practice set by God in Lev. 19 to care for the poor and the foreigner. Ruth gleaned nearly 30 pounds of grain from Boaz’ fields (2:17). That’s a lot of bread, and fitting in Bethlehem—a town whose name means “house of bread.”
With God’s providence, Ruth overcame multiple obstacles with determination and grit, to then be exalted and blessed by the elders and the women of Bethlehem who exclaimed, “Praise be to the Lord...For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons” (4:14-15).
Let’s consider how Ruth points us to a unique characteristic of God: lovingkindness, or ḥeseḏ, in Hebrew. This unique word combines loyalty, generosity, and love all into one word—and the story of Ruth features this word at the beginning, middle, and end of her story!
God’s loyalty to his children (1:8) Boaz generosity provided for Ruth in the fields (2:20) Ruth loved and proposed marriage to Boaz (3:10)
Ruth and Boaz are examples of ḥeseḏ in how they cared for and served other people, pointing to the ultimate example of loyal love that God shows us, his children. Let’s follow their examples and show God’s love to others with action and truth (1 John 3:16-18).
For a great word study on ḥeseḏ watch The Bible Project’s video called, What Is God's Love? A Look at the Hebrew Word “Khesed.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed walking in Ruth’s footsteps this month and learning about her ḥeseḏ, determination, and how she overcame tragedy to become the grandmother of kings.