Taken from our Nishmati Ruth Study Guide:
After marriage to Boaz, Ruth was no longer a gentile but a Jew. According to Traditional Judaism, she is the perfect example of what it means to “convert” to the faith of Abraham, Issac and Jacob and observe the religious laws of the Torah. Her journey towards this “conversion” began in her heart when she choose to follow Naomi back to Judah. Throughout Judaism, Ruth is honored within Judaism even though she was not born Jewish. How Amazing is that! Her dedication to the people of Israel and to the G-d of Israel was nothing more than pure faith, love, and service. Adopting her mother-in-law’s culture, G-d and lifestyle, Ruth was not just a person who said that she believed in HaShem, she proved that she believed in Him by her actions. She got up and worked everyday to make sure that she was a service to others. Ruth did this despite being poor and shamed as a widow. Not only was Ruth’s heart for Israel- she also gave up all of her pagan culture and society to convert and be a part of Israel. Ultimately, this is the journey for some of us reading this- to align ourselves with Israel as “righteous ger”.
The “righteous ger” are non-Jewish people who learn to follow the Torah and the commandments of HaShem alongside the Jewish people. The truest of the “righteous ger/convert” in the Bible who were adopted into Israel all had one thing in common. They all decided that they could no longer sit back and watch Israel be blessed without them. They knew that their calling was to be a part of Israel and not to just “support Israel” from the sidelines.
But in order to be “Israel”, Ruth would need to upgrade her lifestyle, speech, actions and behavior to line up with the Torah. This is the essence of what it means to “convert”, which is to give up a former lifestyle for one based on the Word. The difference between some of us and Ruth, however, is that she was willing to go all the way in both faith and religious requirements as well as lifestyle requirements while some of us only believe in the faith and worship aspect.
Studying Ruth is an amazing lesson in how we should view our own walks within our Messianic faith. It should help us see who we need to be in our walk. Are we just visitors to this lifestyle? Are we just Shabbat observers for one day of the week or living the Torah every day? Do we see ourselves as Jewish or are we confused about who we are now that we are Messianic? Do we understand our role within our own faith enough to witness or share it with others?
If you are not called to be an active participant within Judaism or even any form of Messianic Judaism, it is ok. Not all are called but thank you very much for praying and supporting Israel. There is a special place in the kingdom for the peacemakers and for those who bless Israel. But for those who are called to a Torah based lifestyle, we should view Ruth’s life as an example that there is room for all people from all walks of life at the table as long as they are willing to come in and follow HaShem’s ways. Not to come in and try to make their own rules or change the Torah to fit them.
The majority of people within Messianic Judaism come from non-Jewish homes. What is the significance of Ruth being born a gentile and yet through her comes forth the lineage of King David and the Mashiach – Yeshua ben Yosef and do you feel that this is inspiring for you?