RUTH: WEEK TWENTY-SEVEN
(Click here to listen to the sixth Ruth teaching)
Verse of the Week
“…OH, THAT MY PEOPLE WOULD LISTEN TO ME!” Psalm 81v13 NLT
More Words from the Father
From my Heart
Living in Moab
Some of you are living in Moab.
In a time of desperation, emotional thirstiness, or just plain disobedience, you slipped out from under the shadow of His wings, away from His presence, and into a forbidden place.
And you feel like you are dying a slow death.
Like a terminal cancer, guilt and shame are eating away at your soul. You ache inside. Feel emotionally drained. Joy takes too much effort.
What are you going to do?
Will you let the lethargy overwhelm you, keeping you in that place of death? Will you justify and compromise, plastering on a plastic smile, covering the sores with band-aids?
Or, having heard of the favor of the Lord once again, will you, like Naomi, set out from the place where you have been living and take the road that would lead you back to the Kingdom… back Home?
Move out from your boyfriend’s bed…
Turn away from your perpetual self-pity…
Reign in your irresponsible spending…
Soften your sassy tongue…
And embrace the Love of your life. Head down His path, the way He calls the Highway of Holiness.
I can’t promise you it will be easy or that you will feel happy all the way. You have a lot to lose if you choose the Kingdom way of doing things. But you will never, ever be alone there on that path to His heart. You’ll have the Lord Himself orchestrating your way, clearing the path ahead, whispering in your ear. Somewhere in the unseen, there will be that “great cloud of witnesses” cheering you on. Maybe Naomi will be there rooting for you, wishing she could convey the urgency of heading Home.
How do you go back, you wonder? Moab is far way from where you belong. Maybe you’re afraid you’ve gone too far.
My grandfather thought so. Something he’d done long ago while fighting a far-off war so shamed him that he spent the rest of his days bitter and angry, biting at anyone and everyone who got in his way. He wasted his life convinced he was banished forever from the grace and mercy of the Father. When he died, we all sighed a sorrowful sigh of relief at his passing.
What a shame. What a waste.
How about you? Will you follow in Naomi’s footsteps and return to where you belong? Or will you be like Gramps? Forever trapped by your own foolishness?
“Then Naomi heard that the Lord had blessed His people…so…she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.” Ruth 1v7 (NLT)
From my heart,
“Your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons…” Ruth 4v15
The ancient Israelites believed that the perfect family consisted of seven sons. Though daughters were welcomed and lavishly loved, it was through the sons that the family lineage continued. By reminding Naomi that Ruth had been better for her than seven sons, they were saying that she had provided all that an ideal family could offer for Naomi.
The number seven in Jewish culture represented the works of God. It also signified completion or fullness. In 1 Samuel 2:7, we see another blessing involving the hope for seven sons. Hannah, the once barren mother of a young son who would grow up to become the great prophet, Samuel, composes a song of thanksgiving to God for giving her a child. “Even the barren gives birth to seven sons,” she sings. A mother with so many sons could be certain to be provided for in her old age.
Because of Ruth’s love for her, Naomi would not die a childless widow. Instead, she would become the “tribe-mother of a numerous and flourishing family.”
Had Naomi only known from the beginning of her story that God was still fully in control of her situation, perhaps she would not have lamented so fervently about her “emptiness.” In her disappointment with life’s curve balls, Naomi almost overlooked the unlikely source of her ultimate joy - her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth.
Are you following in Naomi’s footsteps? Could there be something or someone you are overlooking in your disappointment with life’s circumstances? Is there a Ruth in your life, someone full of hesed who just might be “better than seven sons” to you?
Look around this week. Pray for eyes to see and ears to hear what the sovereign Spirit of God may be gently pointing out to you.
Like Naomi, you just might be in for the surprise and delight of your life!
“May you become famous…through the offspring which the Lord shall give…” Ruth 4v11, 12
This word is loaded with symbolism. With some delicacy, our English translators took the Hebrew word meaning “seed” or “semen” and glossed over the organic implications to come up with the very tame word, “offspring.” The people of Bethlehem were not nearly so polite. They were simply celebrating their belief that children are a heritage from the Lord Himself.
God sees the germ of life in what our world so callously considers an empty embryo.
In the story of God’s promise to bless the world through Abraham, He chooses this same word to symbolize abundant, ongoing, productive life:
“In your seed, all the nations shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22v18