“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.”
Ruth was not an Israelite, nor was she born in Israel. She was a foreigner from the neighboring country of Moab. The Moabites had a long and sorted relationship with Israel that would add to the stigma associated with this young foreigner. When Ruth arrived in Bethlehem, all that was known of her was that she was the widowed daughter-in-law of Naomi, who had left Israel ten years earlier with her family, and returned alone. It is probable that a vast array of stories began to spread regarding the character of this young woman. I find it striking, and encouraging, that in the short time she lived in this new town, she had quieted those rumors, and was considered by all who knew her, to be a “virtuous woman.”
The word virtuous means to be strong and able. It is often used to speak of warriors in battle, but is also used to describe a woman of he highest caliber. The final chapter of Proverbs records the advice Solomon was given when looking for a wife. He was encouraged to find a woman of virtue.
By her behaviors, Ruth was able to silence her critics, and set an example of godly behavior in her generation. Regardless of our gender or the difficulties we are facing, we should take a page from the story of Ruth, and seek to be a witness of Christ in the world in which we live.
How are you viewed by family members, co-workers, and your community? Do they consider you to be a valiant, godly individual? Does your communication and your behavior give evidence to your commitment to Christ?
It’s time to become virtuous men and women whose lives testify of the grace and goodness of God. Our world needs us.