Nothing Beats Wise Counsel

The Book of Ruth gives us the record of two ordinary women that dealt with severe tragedy, and their names were Naomi and Ruth. The conveniences of modern society can sometimes make us forget the incredible challenges that people faced during Bible times. The record of these two women begins with a backdrop of severe famine in the land of Judah, Naomi’s native country. Because of this famine, her husband, Elimelech, moved her and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, to Moab. This was a most disadvantageous move. Moab was known for idolatry, and Elimelech’s decision to move his family there proved to be catastrophic indeed.

Naomi’s sons married Moabite women, and this was considered to be a forbidden move. God had made it known to His people that they must abstain from the practice of idolatry to remain under His protection and care. Elimelech knew God’s laws, but permitted his sons to break them. Elimelech was the first to die, making Naomi a widow, then his sons, Mahlon and Kilion died, leaving Ruth and her sister-in-law widows as well.

Women living during earlier Biblical times, it was not considered respectable for a woman to earn a living and support herself. Their aspirations had to be confined to very strict limitations and being a man’s wife and a son’s mother afforded them protection they wouldn’t have had otherwise. Inheritances were passed from father to son, and but never to a woman. Naomi’s sons would have been expected to take care of her for her remaining years, but after their deaths, she had no means of support. So, as one might imagine, these women were in dire straits.

Naomi heard that the famine had eased, and things were better in her homeland, so she made plans to return. She encouraged Ruth and Orpah, her two daughters-in-law, to do the same, to return to their parents so they could be supported. Orpah did so, but Ruth was deeply devoted to Naomi. Ruth 1:16 (NLT) tells us, “But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”” Ruth’s response conveys a lot about her heart. It tells us that she was loyal, full of devotion for her mother-in-law, and most importantly, it tells us that she was humble.

Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride and arrogance set a person up for a fall. The pride that is in this verse isn’t referring to the joy we experience when someone we love triumphs in life. It’s not talking about self-respect and dignity. It’s the thinking more of ourselves than we have a right to that is an offense to God. It’s placing ourselves over others and thinking we’re somehow better than them. This is what hurts our relationship with Heavenly Father. He warns us in Romans 12:3(NLT), “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”

As one might imagine, Ruth was quite a bit younger than Naomi. In our modern environment today, humility is hard to find, but we will do well to remember Ruth’s example. She respected the wisdom gained from Naomi’s years of life, and she humbled herself towards Naomi. She accompanied Naomi to Bethlehem, and when they arrived, Ruth immediately used her youth and agility to be a blessing to them both. In those times, it was customary for farmers to leave grain behind for those less fortunate. Ruth asked Naomi’s permission to go into the fields of anyone that would allow it, and she would pick up the leftovers. This was not easy work, especially for a woman with no husband, but Ruth was faithful, and her humility positioned her for a tremendous blessing.

It should never be lost on us that God strategically positions individuals that speak His truth in our lives. Sometimes, all it takes is a few words to get us off a wrong path and place us on a trajectory that will completely change our lives. The question is whether or not we will accept this wise counsel. Many of us dismiss, neglect, or reject it because we’re blinded by pride and arrogance. We think we know what we’re doing or that we know it all, when we simply don’t have a clue.

Naomi no doubt received divine inspiration from God and provided Ruth with wise counsel regarding Boaz, the man Ruth would ultimately married. This advice made all the difference and saved them from a life of poverty and grief. Nothing beats wise and Godly counsel, and we must learn to humble ourselves so that we’re not hardhearted and stiff, but pliable to God’s guidance. He will always confirm His truth with us when our motive is to please Him and live by the example of Jesus Christ. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Nothing Beats Wise Counsel”, written for Copyright© 2023. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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