Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ruth of Moab - A Special Book!

Ruth of Moab: Triumph of a Daughter’s Love

By Author O. Wright

219 Pages  

After I had read Ruth of Moab: Triumph of a Daughter’s Love, by Author Wright, I pulled out one of my Bibles and found the Book of Ruth.  It was told in three pages. Yes, all of the basics were there; the story was the same. 

However, Wright has provided us with so much more! Clearly Wright has been led in this creative fictional novel based upon the original story!  He states that he has read and studied the Biblical version well over 500 times; however, he has done more than that, in my opinion.  I believe he has traveled into that time in his mind and has actually lived amongst the people there.  His characters are richly drawn, speaking in a language that must have been used then, and he has made them come alive as we read and get to know them.

 During a long and desperate famine in Judah, Elimelech decided to leave his homeland. Naomi, whose faith in God’s promise to provide, quickly tried to persuade her husband not to leave, to depend upon God until the land was once again fruitful.  Elimelech feared for his family, however, and believed that they must travel to another land where he had heard there was food in abundance for everyone. 

I must admit that one of the scenes I especially thought provocative was the attempt by Naomi to dissuade her husband from leaving home. Without raising her voice and in humble supplication, Naomi literally begs her husband to stay in their promised land and depend upon God for their care. But it was to no avail, and with the decision made, Naomi played the role of the submissive wife and followed her husband. 

And so Elimelech, Naomi and their two sons traveled four long days, until they reached the land of Moab. The people there were friendly and welcomed the family and soon they were settled into their new lives. Mahlon and Chilion, especially, found many with whom they could become friends and more and more they began to live the lives of the Moabites.  Indeed, they even grew accustomed to the gods that were worshiped there and found no fault in anything.   

At the same time, Elimelech watched as his sons grew away from their faith, their religion and he realized what he had done. There in the land where he had brought them, there was no place to worship their God; indeed, there were no others that claimed their God as their own. Elimelech admitted his mistake to Naomi.  Soon after, Elimelech fell ill and died, possibly from his sorrow--possibly from shame. 

Naomi grew closer to her two sons as they grieved for their father. She strived to move them back toward their precious God and talked to them of returning to Judah one day so that they could find wives. Neither Mahlon nor Chilion felt they needed to wait; they felt they could find wives there in Moab. Though Naomi continued to promote their waiting until they returned, Mahlon, the oldest, soon looked favorably upon a local woman. Her name was Ruth. Naomi saw that Mahlon was committed to marrying and when she discovered the sweetness and beauty of Ruth, she blessed their marriage.  

And then, happily married to Mahlon, Ruth introduced her best friend to Chilion and he too feel inlove with a Moabite. In the closeness of the family, Naomi came to love both of her daughters-in-law very much, and was especially gratified when they were willing to learn about the God of Judah.  Indeed, both of the women soon became followers of Naomi’s God.  

And then death came again. Both sons and husbands were lost to fever.  

The drama of the story has just begun, though, as Naomi decides that she must now return to her homeland.  Many of us have been drawn to the story of Ruth through the words, “Whither Thou Goest, I will Go...” For Ruth decided to leave her parents, her homeland, and her friends to follow Naomi and her God, into the land of Judah. 

This is a love story like no other, for Ruth had become totally loyal to the God of Judah and as her faith grew, she followed the steps that were placed before her to remarry and become an ancestress mother for the long-awaited Messiah.  

Wright has a sensitivity in his writing that becomes almost poetic as we read.  His love for humanity is clearly projected into his characters and his fervent majesty of praising God is unparalleled in my experience. If you, too, enjoy experiencing the world of God through fictional interpretations, you may find a wonderful “keeper” for your library with Author Wright’s Ruth of Moab: Triumph of a Daughter’s Love.