Exalted Humility

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Pride and humility both have the same motto, “Look out for #1.” The difference is that pride and humility have different ideas about who precisely is numero uno. So in a sense both Orpah and Ruth were looking out for #1 when they made their respective decisions in the first chapter of Ruth. In the second chapter we are treated to another display of amazing humility as Ruth heads out to glean among the workers in the barley harvest. That Ruth would set out to glean indicates the extreme poverty of her circumstances. Yet she doesn’t complain, and does not consider the work beneath her. Despite her own poverty and the reversal of fortunes that she has experienced she is focused not on herself but rather on the welfare of her aging mother-in-law, Naomi.

Matthew 23:11 tells us, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

1 Peter 5:6- “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”

James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.”

In the second chapter of Ruth we begin to see an illustration of the truth that these verses point to, that there is a humility leading to exaltation. There is, of course, also a self-exalting pride that comes before a humiliating fall, but Ruth is a different sort of story about a woman who humbles herself under the mighty hand of God and who, in the end, is lifted up to unbelievable heights.