Luke 8:1-8 NKJV
Ruth 1 and 2
Ruth 2:11-12 NKJV
Ruth 2:20-21 NKJV
Luke 11:9-13 NKJV
1 John 5:14 NKJV
I love the parable of the persistent widow! She was definitely a woman who had spunk. You see, at the time of Jesus women had no rights. They had no right to choose an occupation, no right to defend themselves, and definitely no right to speak out. The persistent woman did not have a husband which made her powerless. At that time if a woman’s husband died, she had to have a male heir to care for her. It could have been a son or a brother, or even a distant relative. By all rights she couldn’t do anything.
Think Ruth. Her husband died, his brother died, her father in law had died. Ruth had the option to go back home to Moab to her family but she chose to stay with Naomi. She chose a difficult path because there was no guarantee she could survive as a foreigner in Israel. Also, when she chose to stay with Naomi, that meant she chose to worship the God of Israel. Ruth and Naomi’s only hope for survival was in finding a male relative to care for them. So Naomi and Ruth traveled to the land of Judah, to the city of Bethlehem. When they arrived they had no food so Ruth went to a field to glean grain. She randomly went to the field of a man named Boaz. She didn’t know who Boaz was, but something led her to his field. In Ruth 2:11-12 we learn that Boaz spoke to the widow Ruth, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
Boaz instructed his men to let her glean grain and to leave extra for her. He gave her protection when he told his men not to touch her. He also told them to let her drink from their water. Now Ruth was from Moab so she was considered a foreigner in this land, yet Boaz showed her great kindness.
When Ruth took the grain to Naomi that night she reported what had happened and how Boaz showed her kindness. We learn in Ruth 2:20-21, “Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”
Ruth and Naomi trusted the God of Abraham. The women traveled to Naomi’s homeland and God led them to the field of Boaz. Ruth was just trying to survive. God had much more in mind. She took grain back to Naomi and found out Boaz WAS a relative of their family.
Ruth and Naomi trusted the God of Abraham. They worshiped and they listened with their hearts. Boaz ended up taking Ruth as his wife. As it turns out, Ruth was the mother of Obed who was the father of Jesse who was the father of David of the line of Jesus.
The widow Ruth worshiped God and listened. She persisted.
In Luke 18:2-8 Jesus told his followers a parable about prayer and persistence. In the parable, there was another widow who turned to God and was persistent. Jesus told them, “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.”
The widow would not give up. She went to the judge who did not revere God to beg for help. Because of her persistence, the judge listened (with God’s help). Jesus pointed out that when we persist, God hears and WILL act.
Jesus ended this section with a question in Luke 18:8 by asking, “ Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Jesus was also telling them about the bigger picture...believe. Listen and persist. Keep the faith. I will return.
In Luke 11:9-13 we are also told to keep asking even when you don’t hear! “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Ruth did not give up and her reward had eternal consequences.
The widow in Luke 18 did not give up.
In 1 John 5:14 we are told to ask anything because he hears us. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Sometimes, we ask and there is much that has to be done before we see God’s answer. We listen and we wait. As we wait, we can ask God too show us or reveal truth. We can also ask God for encouragement as we wait. Often, other people are involved and God may be working in their lives. We can ask and listen. God will reveal truth as it becomes apparent.
Don’t give up. Keep asking. Believe that even when you don’t see the answer, God is working on your behalf.
Continue to pray and listen. The answer for Ruth didn’t happen overnight. Ruth believed and she didn’t give up. The persistent widow knew the odds of getting the unjust judge to help her were against her, but she didn’t give up.
God does hear. Listen as you pray. Your persistence will pay off. Remember, always remember, we reap what we sow. Always. What you sow in prayer and faith, will reap an answer from God. The answer may not always be exactly what you expect. It wasn’t for Ruth. God gave her MUCH MORE than she had requested. She was a penniless widow, a foreign women who believed in the God of Abraham. She WAS in the line of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.
Even Ruth’s persistence and faith couldn’t have imagined that!
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Be Persistent
Continue to ask God for what you’ve been praying for. As you ask, listen. Remember that God working on your request. Listen for what God says about your request.
In God, Deborah