As I was reading to learn more about the characteristics of a Godly woman, I decided to share the points I got from the book of Ruth as a model and example of being a virtuous woman!
1) The Ability to Accept an Identity Change:
In the beginning of the story of Ruth, she starts out by refusing to depart from her now widowed Mother-in-Law who was on her journey back home. A journey she was taking home for a semblance of fullness and normalcy, because she has lost everything she has (Ruth 1:21). Naomi wanted her old life back. Naomi wanted to be restored and she wanted newness. Ruth who is also a young widow had the option of staying in her old life or pursuing a new life with Naomi as her mother-in-law goes back home. Ruth’s decision to leave home and go toward a new life she knows nothing about shows Ruth’s ability to accept her new identity to the fullest. Her identity as a wife over her identity as a daughter. She left her home as she embraced her new name! A virtuous woman accepts the opportunity of an identity change.
2) Excitement to Work:
It is in Ruth 2:2 that we see Ruth’s anxiousness to be a servant. She was excited and looking forward to getting to work. This can be translated to being willing to work in the kingdom of God, a virtuous woman is excited, willing, and determined to serve the Lord.
3) Example for Young Women:
After coming to Boaz’s attention as a lady of great diligence and hard work, she was told to stay in that field but to also stay close to the young women in the field. Ruth’s ability thus far to accept a new identity and to serve in a place she doesn’t know becomes a point of exaltation for her. We can see that this point in the story expresses that a virtuous woman is one who is irreplaceable. Ruth is instructed to stay on the field because her work is so exemplary. She is told to stay on the field because she would be a role model for the young women on the field. A virtuous woman is willing to be an example for others.
Even as Ruth earns the title of maidservant, she doesn’t exalt herself above others, Ruth 2:13. A virtuous woman is humble, and does not puff herself up higher than others.
“…and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.” (Ruth 2:14) this portion of the verse can be interpreted in two ways: 1) Ruth ate and did not eat too much, OR 2) Ruth ate and saved some for later. This shows us that a virtuous woman should be modest in her presentation. Eating too much would have expressed that she was not cognizant of those who are observing her. Being satisfied by her portion set the example of self respect and the importance in understanding your position… Her being an example for the young women watching her. But also to us who want to know what a virtuous woman does. A virtuous woman knows her worth, her position, and is modest. In the other interpretation being a virtuous woman can be viewed as a lady who knows the value in saving. Ruth kept some of her food back to express the importance in knowing when to save. I think we could even stretch this and say that a virtuous woman knows the value of money, and is aware of her financial vitality. Asking herself: should I spend this money on shoes or should I save it for the future?
6) Favor and Protection:
Winning the respect of Boaz, Ruth gained a new found favor on the field and among the people. Being a good servant can win you favor and protection. A virtuous woman acts according to her role and then gains favor, blessings, and protection because of it.
As seen in Ruth 2:18, Ruth ends up giving the food she kept back to her mother-in-law. A virtuous woman is willing to give her last to others.
8) Listens to Authority:
All throughout the book, Ruth is being instructed by either Naomi or her soon-to-be husband Boaz. We see her obedience through the verse: “…all that you say to me I will do.” (Ruth 3:5) which shows us another important characteristic of being a virtuous woman: The ability to be humble enough to heed to instruction. Recognizing an authority figure, and acting accordingly. This also paints the picture of submission. Recognizing authority gives us the ability to know when and when not to be submitted to that cause.
9) Good Reputation:
Ruth 3:11 shows us that the whole town knew she was a virtuous woman. There is power in having a good reputation, because it can open doors. Open doors can come to you just purely by having a good name. A virtuous woman knows this and works to keep her name clear.
In the end of the story Ruth gives birth to a son. This event is so important for the conclusion of the story because the baby becomes a blessing not only to Ruth and Boaz but for Naomi as she is now in touch with a close relative that is able to carry on her name. Naomi is now able to realize her newness of hope and restoration. If Ruth would have decided to stay home and if she didn’t come to her new life with Naomi she wouldn’t have been able to birth the blessing that would bring her a new husband and also a way to carry out the name she so diligently worked to make right. A virtuous woman knows that her ability to be a blessing to someone else is greater than her fear of stepping out of the box!