Read His Words Before Ours!
A beautiful theme we find throughout Scripture is God’s delight in taking the marginalized, downtrodden, destitute, and abused outcasts and bringing them close to Himself. He showers them with His love and redemption, changing both their stories and their hearts.
He reveals His tender Father-heart toward all who trust Him for salvation by forevermore making them into an example of His amazing redemption.
In fact, don’t take our words for it, read Ruth’s short book for yourself!
It’s truly a beautiful story.
We’re picking up Naomi’s story of emptiness in the middle of her literal destitution. She has suffered the heavy losses of spouse, two sons, and hope-filled dreams of a future, and now, entirely empty, she is in a prime position to receive from the Lord.
While Naomi has sunk to the depths of utter desolation, we find God at work in her life.
Perhaps, like Naomi, you feel empty?
Perhaps you are overwhelmed with loss and bitterness from a life that hasn’t turned out as you’d imagined.
Perhaps the hurt is too great to bear and you’ve shut away all feeling, resigned to go through the motions of living until your body wears out.
Take heart, precious sister, because Naomi’s story doesn’t end here.
Your story doesn’t either.
Upon her return to her homeland, God begins using people close to Naomi to demonstrate His faithfulness, goodness, and kind provision.
In chapter 2, we find resourceful and hardworking Ruth asking Naomi to allow her to glean in the barley field belonging to Boaz, a distant relative. Boaz not only generously allows her to glean in his field, but also ensures she has access to as much of the harvest as possible, providing Ruth and Naomi with their much-needed sustenance. Furthermore, Boaz issues clear orders for Ruth’s emotional and physical protection.
God provides for Ruth and Naomi’s physical needs, both securing their safety and delivering sustenance in abundance.
And He isn’t finished there!
As we continue on through the book, we see God’s plan for full restoration unfold. God stirs Boaz’s heart, and Boaz steps in to become Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, thereby providing Ruth (and through her, Naomi) with full financial and familial redemption.
Through Ruth and Boaz, God has answered the cry of Naomi’s heart.
He has restored her relationships: she is once again part of a loving, growing family.
Most importantly, He has rekindled hope within Naomi’s spirit.
Throughout this four-chapter book, we see firsthand the power of community and friendship. Sometimes, in the midst of deepest pain, it can be nearly impossible to hear past the scream of hurt in our hearts and clamor of spiraling negative thoughts.
In those moments, ever faithful, God provides.
He sends a Ruth.
Through Ruth’s hands at work in the fields, God reminded Naomi of His faithful
Through Ruth’s arms wrapped around Naomi’s slumped shoulders, God reminded
Naomi of His abiding love.
Through Ruth’s steadfast encouragement, God spoke to Naomi of hope.
Of promise fulfilled.
Of joy to come. (Psalm 30:5)
Their beautiful example of life-giving friendship personifies Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
The Lord created friendship and chooses to use the beautiful healing power of community and friendship to encourage, bolster, and uphold those who are hurting. To those who have never heard the gospel, being in relationship with someone like Ruth is an opportunity to encounter Jesus.
Just as Ruth was the hands, arms, and sweet voice of Jesus speaking truth and life back into Naomi’s bitter spirit, so too can we demonstrate the love of God to those around us who are hurting. May we remember the power and love we are called to emulate for one another as the body of Christ and in the lost world around us!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!