5.09.2013

My Writing...Two Women and Their Redeeming King

Two Women and Their Redeeming King

There are only two books in the Old Testament that bear the names of women, Ruth and Esther. God used both of these women in two distinct ways to change the course of history,” Mary Sticklen confidently states in her article “The Old Testament’s Heroines: Ruth and Esther” concerning these wonderfully wise women. “The books of Ruth and Esther show what it means to make difficult decisions during difficult times and how God can be working behind the scenes in many circumstances. However, Esther and Ruth come from very different backgrounds and circumstances.”

     Certainly, Ruth and Esther allow God to use them in astonishing ways whereas myriads of modern-day women do not submit to God’s plan for their lives. Participating in a remarkable journey, these ordinary girls set out to build up those around them with service and salvation. Ruth serves God wholeheartedly. Esther speaks up for God. When I carefully consider the two ideal role models, Ruth and Esther, their circumstances, actions, and qualities represent significant aspects to study.

     First, both Ruth and Esther arise from challenging circumstances. In a way, Ruth draws my attention because she triumphs over extremely grim and daunting situations. As we observe her in chapter two of Ruth, we find her in a tight position: a foreigner, a widow, and a lowly laborer toiling to provide for her disheartened and widowed mother-in-law Naomi. Correspondingly, Esther, a Jew, also dwells in a foreign kingdom, that of Persia after the Jewish exile, and like Ruth she has lost loved ones, in her case her father and mother. In contrast to Ruth’s demise, the king of Persia chooses Esther above all other beautiful virgins as his queen, and she lives in the “lap of luxury.” Enchanting and satisfying, Esther’s situation begins to appear especially more appealing than Ruth’s.

     Secondly, these two astounding ladies, Ruth and Esther, take various actions based on their situations, and God uses them each powerfully to help others. Both Ruth and Esther listen to their elders’ advice, “rescue” others from dire situations, and even marry for others’ benefit although either one may wish otherwise. Ruth needs a redeemer for herself and Naomi, and God lovingly, like a mother, blesses her with a husband, Boaz, to provide Naomi an heir. In contrast, Esther performs a remarkably courageous deed: presenting herself before the king, which could mean facing death. Since Esther pleads with the king for her people’s endangered lives, God blesses her efforts as well by saving the Jews living in Persia from destruction. Acting out of love and faith, both Ruth and Esther boldly take decisive action and conquer their fears out of love for their God, family, and friends.

     Finally, the virtues displayed in these heroic women call for comparison. Both exhibit marvelous love, compassion, obedience, and courage in the face of difficulty. Ruth proves herself especially loyal, hard-working, determined, hopeful, and humble. Interestingly, Ruth’s name means “friend” or “companion”; what true, loyal friendship and companionship she lavishes on Naomi! As one peers into Ruth’s life, her actions reflect the wise and honorable character of her new God. According to Ruth 1:16-17, Ruth declares, “Your (Naomi’s) people will be my people and your God my God.” On the other hand, Esther shows characteristics of beauty, purity, spiritual strength, and dependability. On the second page of her article “Inspirational Women in the Bible: Ruth and Esther,” Miriam Cawood decisively names the following lessons from the story of Esther: “faith, courage, and heeding the advice of older people.” Esther means “secret” or “hidden”; she conceals her Jewish background from the king until the appropriate time arises. Her Hebrew name, Hadassah, means “myrtle” (a beautiful plant) or “bride”; her beautiful features draw the king’s attention, causing both a marriage and the salvation of the Jews living in Persia. Esther definitely lives up to her names. All God-fearing women should imitate Ruth and Esther since they model excellent qualities.

     Irrefutably, the circumstances, actions, and qualities found in these ordinary girls radically change their lives forever as Ruth and Esther remain two of the most admired women in the Bible. When I search the Scriptures for life-giving truths, Ruth’s story tells of redemption and God’s mercifully abounding love. Esther’s story tells of purity and courage. Throughout the day, ask, “Should I model a loving, friendly Ruth or a brave, zealous Esther in this situation?” Both women face many trials, but Ruth and Esther stand firm in their faith and serve their true Redeemer and King with humility and obedience.
 
Author's Note: Ruth and Esther prove that no matter our circumstances, we can be brave and unshakable in our faith because God is on our side, protecting, loving, and redeeming us.

~Madeline

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Thank you for reading! Also, thank you for making my day brighter with your encouraging words. I cherish each and every comment. If you check back in a day or two, I should have responded to your note. Thanks for dropping me a line!

~Madeline