RUTH: WEEK TWENTY-TWO
The Wedding (Part Two)
(Click here to listen to the fifth Ruth teaching)
Verse of the Week
“BUT GROW IN THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. TO HIM BE THE GLORY, BOTH NOW AND TO THE DAY OF ETERNITY. AMEN.” 2 Peter 3v18 NASB
More Words from the Father
1 Peter 1v1-15
1 Peter 4v7-19
1 Peter 5v4-10
2 Peter 1v2-8
2 Peter 3v17-18
From my Heart
Testing for the Task
Naomi said to Ruth,
“Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” Ruth 1v15
God often tests our resolve before He trusts us with an important task. Just look at Abraham: preparing to kill his own son. Or Rebekah: setting aside her own agenda to serve a servant. And David: dutifully trudging back to tend sheep after he’d been proclaimed the next King of Israel.
God was testing Ruth. Would she, when given a chance, go home? Was her commitment to Naomi mere lip service-a preference perhaps-but certainly not enough to carry her into foreign territory?
Is God testing you? Giving you an out? Checking to see if you really mean it?
Will you breathe a sigh of relief like Orpah and turn back - careful to cover your tracks and keep to your comfort zone?
I don’t always like the choice set in front of me. But if I’m honest, I do know it is a choice. And, I dare say, so do you.
And that, my dear friends, is just the way it is…
From my heart,
To which Ruth replied,
“Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her." Ruth 1v17, 18
(I found this nugget of gold roughly typed on a bit of wrinkled paper in a pocket of my old bathrobe many years ago. I don’t know who wrote it or where it came from, but I know that this is just the way He is!)
Lord, You give me a task
So utterly impossible
So totally beyond comprehension-
The very thought of it
I want to run, hide, escape,
Then You electrify me.
You invade and permeate me.
You penetrate every fiber of me
Until the task is accomplished
By Your own magnificent power.
Then You praise the performance
Your creativity achieved
And You reward me beyond expectation-
As though I had done it
All by myself.
Rachel and Leah
Back at least six centuries before our story takes place, another love story played itself out with all the drama and intrigue of a paperback novel.
Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, went looking for a wife. He wound up working for his Uncle Laban who happened to have two daughters. Jacob fell head over heals in love with the second daughter, Rachel, but her father denied Jacob’s request to marry her without an exorbitant bride price.
Laban demanded that Jacob work without wages for seven long years before he was granted permission to marry Rebekah. Then, on the eve of the wedding, Laban deceitfully switched brides. After spending the night with his new bride, enjoying all the anticipated delights of physical intimacy, Jacob woke up with the morning light to find not his beloved Rachel, but her sister, Leah!
Having been consummated, the marriage was entirely legal and no amount of protest could alter the fact that Jacob was now married to Leah. However, his situation was not entirely hopeless. The culture in which Laban lived made allowances for polygamy. So Jacob went back to Laban, seething with anger over his deceit, and made another deal with his father-in-law. Jacob would be allowed to take Rachel as his second wife in exchange for another seven years of wage-less labor.
The animosity between Jacob’s two wives was legendary. They competed for everything from conjugal rights to mandrake leaves. Between them, however, they bore and raised a whopping twelve sons who lived to adulthood. Rachel and Leah were considered the matriarchs of the nation of Israel.
Mandrakes are a root of the potato family which grew in the stony ground of the Mediterranean area. They bear yellow fruit about the size of a small tomato. The mandrake fruit was believed to be an aphrodisiac, increasing the eater’s ability to conceive. It may have also had some narcotic qualities.