Day 7: Ruth
“There was a famine in the land”. Elimelech decides to move his family to the country of Moab. Perhaps fake news took him there. Perhaps he was disillusioned with God. How tempting in a crisis to rely on our own bright ideas. He and his sons died without leaving any Life Insurance for their wives. The women were left alone and vulnerable in a nation that was starving.
But Grace and mercy are always available to us, no matter what poor decisions we’ve made and no matter how far we’ve gone away from God.
Now the tide of the story turns from despair – to Hope. Just as there had been a bad ripple effect from Elimelech’s decision, God enables Naomi to hear good news – “the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them” (verse 6). This has a ripple effect too – She decides to return to Israel and feels brave and generous enough to send her only supporters home to their families. Ruth, prompted by Naomi’s Hope in action, makes a life-changing decision. “Where you go I will go and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” As a foreigner, a refugee, a woman and a widow she was vulnerable! But Naomi’s response to God spoke to her so deeply, she was willing to risk everything to know him.
The laws which God put in place were intended to protect. The ‘Kinsman Redeemer’ principle obligated close relatives to buy the property of the deceased and marry his widow. Sadly, in this story the First in Line did not step up and make himself known to Naomi. Instead, we witness one of God’s ‘coincidences’. He brought Ruth straight to the property of Naomi’s second in line Kinsman Redeemer – Boaz. A man as kind and generous as the first Kinsman Redeemer was lacking!
There are a lot of online questionnaires on Facebook just now – here’s my version:
Which of the main characters in the story of Ruth are you?
A: Naomi – fearful but clinging onto a memory of God’s faithfulness that is enabling you to trust him. Be brave and share your hope with someone who needs to hear it.
B: Ruth – prompted by other people’s faith and trust in God. Decide you have nothing to lose and put your whole trust in God to get you through this time.
C: The first kinsman redeemer – doesn’t offer any help until someone reminds him of his responsibility, offers the bare minimum and then withdraws the offer because “I might endanger my own estate” (I might run out of toilet rolls!) Don’t be like him!
D: Boaz – who decided that God’s law is the very minimum he should fulfil. His kindness exceeds all expectations. He recognises that in a crisis, vulnerable people need a double measure of kindness. Without thought to gain from this situation, his actions reflect the generous Father heart of God.
In the dark, its hard see where we’re going but we have a commodity more precious than toilet rolls… HOPE!
Let’s ask ourselves – am I allowing Hope to fan into flame Faith and Trust in God for myself and my family in this crisis?
Is my response to vulnerable people around me being driven by my insecurities? Or by my knowledge of God’s kindness and generosity to me?
Naomi, Ruth and Boaz chose Hope in a dark time and the result was unimaginable blessing.
I’m excited to see the consequences of us having Hope while we are still in the dark.
We won’t just Survive!….We will Thrive!