What is about the book of Ruth that we love? Is it the love story? Is it her faithfulness to her mother in law? Is the fact that she was an outsider accepted into the family? There are so many reasons to love and study this book. As I read through it today I thought about a post I did forever ago. It was called “A Mile In Her Shoes.” I had done the writing as part of our ladies meeting. We did it as a skit, but it was very powerful for me. As I studied each woman and thought over what kind of shoe they would represent, I learned a lot about God. I learned a lot about each of these women. I tried for a while to figure out what kind of shoe Ruth would represent. I prayed about what God wanted me to learn from this woman so many have studied.
I think Ruth wore hiking boots. She was ready to follow anywhere Naomi went. She had a choice you know. The Bible tells us that Naomi tried to get Ruth to turn around. I am so glad, however, that Ruth put on her hiking boots and followed Naomi. I am sure it was a difficult journey. There were dangers and fears as she traveled. Would she even be accepted once there? But she knew the right way to go and followed behind. What kind of woman Naomi must have been in her faith that Ruth would desire a strange place with this woman to her own family.
Ruth is one of the special people in the Bible that I can see loved shoes. She didn’t just have one pair that represented her. Once she got to Bethlehem she put on her work boots. She also wore slippers as she lay at Boaz’s feet. And finally she wore wedding shoes. Dazzling ones I am sure! After all she is in the line of Christ. Even though each of these shoes were important in her life, it was her hiking boots that spoke to me.
I have been hiking. Some places I have hiked were easy paths that I could walk beside the person I was hiking with, and other places I had to follow closely behind the person so that I could be sure to stay on the right path. I heard a story about a man that was hiking in Jamaica. While there he had the opportunity to go up a very steep path to the top of a mountain. The person he hiked with had been up the path many times and knew the way. As he began to climb he noticed how dangerous the path was. At times the mountain seemed to just fall off beside him. His guide told him, “Just step where I step.” As he did that he didn’t notice the dangers as much. As he concentrated on following the leader he wasn’t as nervous. When he got to the top he had the best reward. The cool breeze and beautiful view was there to greet him. He said it was the best view on the island, but if he hadn’t followed the guide, he would not have made it. You see, if Ruth hadn’t followed Naomi to a strange land and a strange people she wouldn’t be listed in the linage of Christ. She wouldn’t be an example for us to follow. We probably wouldn’t know about her. And she would not have received the blessings she had. Just like that man had to follow his guide, and Ruth followed Naomi, I am going to follow Christ. Forgetting about the dangers on each side, I keep hiking along behind Him.
Am I willing to follow Christ over any kind of terrain? I am willing to slip on my hiking boots and go? One of the most famous verses in the book of Ruth is when Ruth says, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; they people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” Can I say that to my Savior? I am I willing to go where He leads, stay where he stays? Do I show others each day who I am hiking after? What about you? Are your hiking boots laced up and ready to follow?