Ruth: The Character of a Virtuous Woman

Ruth 1:18

Ruth and Orpah were the same except one was stedfast. Both were raised the same, from the same place, married the same, and had a desire to do right, but one ended up doing right.  Today, we will look at the character of a virtuous woman.  Interesting enough Ruth is absent from the Hebrews 11 role.   This is because Ruth is not responding to any direct command of God, she is following what she knows is right as Romans 2:14-15 describes the situation with Gentiles.

Ruth was Prepared

  • Ruth’s character prepared her to do right
  • Why will ye go with me? (1:11)
    • “Why” is a question you have to answer if you haven’t had to answer it yet.  Ruth answered the question “why follow” by asking herself only one question, Is this the right thing to do?
    • Ruth is not considering benefits to herself.
  • Will ye tarry? (1:13)  The question is “how long are you willing to wait?”
    • 1 Timothy 5:11  matches Ruth and Orpah’s situation.  They are younger widows anxious to move on, but only Ruth has patience because of her character.
    • Security and happiness don’t enter Ruth’s equation.  The only question Ruth entertains is, what is right?

Ruth was Tested

  • Ruth’s character was tested.  She conquered the temptation to quit.
  • The three tests Ruth faced:
    • Test #1: Orpah’s failure.  Behold thy sister in law is gone back unto her people (1:15).  Peer pressure and temptation come in the form of other people’s failures.  Orpah had chosen an easier path and that would make it harder for Ruth to do right.
    • Test #2: Naomi’s failure.  Return thou after thy sister in law (1:15).  Ruth trusted Naomi and loved Naomi and now, as well intentioned as she was, Naomi was pressing Ruth in the wrong direction.  It’s one thing to see a peer go, but add to that a trusted elder who is suppose to have wisdom telling you to go in the wrong direction.
    • Test #3: Naomi’s silence.  She left speaking unto her (1:18).  The last and final temptation comes in the silence of Naomi.
  • Character is nothing until it is tested.  Proverbs 31:25 Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.  The only way to know you have strength and honor is that strength and honor have been tested and proven.

Ruth was Sacrificial

  • What Ruth is doing is making a sacrifice to take care of what’s left of her household.
    • With Ruth we are talking about a sacrifice where there were no visible benefits to her personally.
    • Read 1 Timothy 5:4 and Proverbs 31:27.  Ruth truly is a keeper at home as Titus 2:4 says.  Notice her sacrificial care of her household.
    • Don’t confuse hard work with virtuous work.  Ruth isn’t virtuous because she has a job and brings home some extra money to help the house hold.  Every time a virtuous woman is mentioned in the Bible she is mentioned in relation to her household.  Proverbs 12:4, 31:10-31, and Ruth 3:11.
  • Proverbs 31:28-29.  The reason the virtuous woman is blessed by her household is because of her sacrifice.
  • Ruth is recognized by Boaz because of what she did for Naomi, Ruth 2:11-12 applied from Proverbs 31:31.

Ruth was Virtuous

  • Ruth is a Gentile Moabite doing what her conscience says is the right thing to do just like Romans 2:14-15.
  • What makes Ruth spiritual is that she is DOING the things she knows to do.
  • Ruth acts in accordance with everything the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 does and everything New Testament Christian women are instructed in without having any of these benefits.
  • Add to your faith virtue – 2 Peter 1:5.  So virtue doesn’t come with the equipment, you’ve got to add this character trait that Ruth had before she ever had faith.