Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ruth 1:1-22

"God at Work"
The Book of Ruth opens by declaring that this was the period of the judges, the time when everyone did what was right in their own eyes. One of the proofs that men were doing what they wanted without seeking God’s will was that Elimelech left the land of Israel during a time of famine without consulting the Lord on the matter. To make things worse, he left Bethlehem and went to the land of Moab, a land associated with pagans. This was a place and a people that God had strictly forbidden them to intermingle with. Have you ever done something without consulting God on the matter?
Well, things got worse for Elimelech and his family. Soon, Elimelech and his two sons died leaving his wife, Naomi, by herself in the world. The only companions Naomi had were two daughters that would have been an embarrassment to her native people of Israel because they were from the land of Canaan.
But even in the midst of Naomi’s sorrow, verse six says that God “visited” Naomi. That word means ‘to remember and come to deliver’. How gracious is God even in the midst of our mistakes! But the story gets even better – Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, decided that she would not leave her mother-in-law’s side. Ruth made up her mind and the Bible says that she “clave” to Naomi. That word means "to be joined together". Ruth made a covenant to remain by Naomi’s side and to accept Naomi’s God as her own and to stay be her side until death. Wow, that’s powerful! I wonder how Naomi responded? Verse eighteen says that when Ruth made her declaration, Naomi just stopped talking to her for the rest of the trip…can you imagine that walk….AWKWARD!
The first chapter ends with Naomi coming back to Bethlehem as a bitter woman. A woman who understood that God exists, that God is sovereign, and who believes that God has done her wrong. Who do you most look like at the end of chapter one? Elimelech, who tries to handle difficulties on your own without trusting God? Naomi, who becomes bitter towards God when difficulties arise? Or Ruth, the one who has no promise of things ever getting better, but has permanently decided to serve God no matter what?

-Matthew Anders
senior pastor at www.libcky.com