Tuesday, May 19, 2015
To those of you who enjoy reading a good book, there are few better than the beautiful story found in the biblical book of Ruth, even though it is only four chapters long. Even if you have read it before, I would suggest you slowly and carefully read it again; I bet you’ll be glad you did. One particular verse in the story is among the best known in the Bible. It is this one: But Ruth replied, “Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.” (Ruth 1:16) This is what led up to this vow Ruth made to her mother-in-law, Naomi.
Years earlier, Naomi’s husband left Bethlehem during some hard times, and took her and his two sons into the land of Moab. In time, the sons each married a woman from that land but not long after, the father died, and later his sons, both of whom died before any children were born into their marriages. Hearing that things had gotten better there, and now without her husband and two sons, Naomi decided to go back home and when she did, her daughters in law vowed to go with her. It appears that once they got to the border, Naomi tried to dissuade them from joining her, claiming she had absolutely nothing to offer them if they went with her. She succeeded with Orpah, the other daughter-in-law, in convincing her to stay in Moab but not with Ruth, who remained faithful to her vow.
One question which arose in my heart, as I considered Ruth’s decision, was this: What was it that, in the end, convinced her to leave her country, her gods, her way of life, and her family to follow after Naomi? The Bible doesn’t say it directly but I believe it was Naomi’s life testimony. The great bible commentator, Matthew Henry, made this observation: [“She is so in love, not with her mother’s (Naomi’s) beauty, or riches, or gaiety (all these were withered and gone), but with her wisdom, and virtue, and grace, which remained with her, even in her present poor and melancholy condition, that she resolves to cleave to her.”] I see it as him basically saying that she treasured what she saw in the life of Naomi so much that she not only wanted to be like her, she wanted to be around her for the rest of her life. To me, this is one of the story’s best lessons, that is, that we can all, as children of God, make a difference in those places where life’s destiny takes us. Apparently, when Naomi arrived in Moab, her life made such an impact in that place that things there would never be the same. Are you like that? Are you living your life in such a way that the new places where you arrive change just because you are there? If you answered “yes” it is because you are living a Christ centered life, and I congratulate you for that.
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 6:33 KJV) “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”