Summer Wanderings… in God’s Word

As I was praying about what direction to go with my blogs this summer, I was led to share with you my favorite passages from throughout the Bible. Each week I will seek to blog on one Old Testament and One New Testament passage. I am excited to glimpse lessons and truths from the whole council of God. He uses all His Holy Scriptures to speak to us so we can live full, fruitful and glorifying lives as we walk with Him.

This week I was studying in the book of Ruth. Calamity surely befell this young widow and her mother-in-law Naomi as they lost their husbands. Naomi seeks to send Ruth back to her family, but Ruth clings to Naomi and speaks from her heart. Ruth 1:16-17 “ 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 my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” This pagan young woman saw love and faith in Naomi in spite of her circumstances and chose to cling to her and her God.

They return to Bethlehem where Naomi’s husband’s family lived and they owned land. Ruth was devoted to Naomi and went daily to glean in the field to provide their food. Boaz, a relative, sees her devotion, work ethic, and love for her mother-in-law even though she is considered a foreigner in their land and would be looked down upon. He treats her with kindness and Naomi instructs Ruth to approach Boaz and seek his aid in redeeming their life and their land. Through a series of events, Boaz cleverly presents the buying of the land to a closer relative but tells him thoughtfully that purchasing the land that belonged to Naomi’s husband would entail marrying Ruth, the foreign girl from Moab so that her husband’s line could continue. The closer relative refuses as it would put his own inheritance in jeopardy, so Boaz ‘redeems’ the land and marries Ruth. Boaz is the ‘kinsman’ redeemer which is a beautiful pictured of Christ.

Ruth and Boaz marry and have a son they name Obed. Naomi is uplifted and renewed by this new grandson to love and cherish. Ruth is cared for by a kind loving husband. Boaz is rewarded for his love and kindness by a loving wife and family even though he is older. God shows favor upon Ruth, Boaz and Naomi as Obed becomes the father of Jesse and Jesse the father of King David who are in the line of Jesus the coming Messiah.

What do we take away from this lovely story? I see God’s providential care of Ruth and Naomi who loved Him. There was no luck involved in their circumstances as God knew what they needed and provided for them in a miraculous way. I also see God’s Sovereignty over horrible things that happened to them in Moab, the death of her sons and husband, yet bringing good from all those hard times. Two promises come to mind as I ponder this story. Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good,  a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, “ Naomi and Ruth loved and trusted God and He worked the circumstances of their lives for their good as He cared for them. Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Really hard things happened to Ruth and Naomi and God turned the circumstances so that they were mightily blessed and provided for. Ruth, the pagan girl from Moab, finds God, His people and has her life redeemed. God is indeed good.

Where do you see God’s hand of care and love in your life? Is He moving and changing things so that you can see Him more clearly? He drew Ruth and Naomi closer to Him. How is God doing that for you? Has something difficult happened to you in the past that you can see where God brought good out of tragedy? Many times we will not see why the hard things in life happen to us, but one day we will see how God has woven our lives with the dark and light threads of life into a beautiful tapestry. Until then, we need to trust Him and cling to His precious promises with hope and reassurance that He is sovereign and loves us beyond measure.

Linda

Take some time this week and read the story of Ruth. It is only 4 short chapters and will surely bring you hope and blessing.

Bringing us near = cross of Christ

In Ephesians 2:11-12 Paul summarizes the state of the world.  Basically there were two groups of people.  1- the believers in the one true God called Jews and 2-  those who did not believe in the one true God called Gentiles.  People could become Jewish by faith and the Old Testament is filled with them.  These were people who aligned themselves with the people of God.  There were even several in Christ’s lineage- Rahab, the prostitute, whose story is found in Joshua 2.  She aligned herself with the people of God as she had heard how God had led the people victoriously out of Egypt and even parted the Red Sea.  She was transformed by her faith in God, and later became the wife of Salmon.   Ruth, the Moabitis  whose story is in the book of Ruth aligned herself with the people of God when she decided to honor her mother-in-law’s God and follow her back to Israel after the death of her husband and father-in-law.   She later married Boaz, who became her kinsmen redeemer.   The Jews followed God’s laws, and had a covenant with God which required them to be circumcised.  Those men who aligned themselves with God’s people had to be circumcised also. After Christ came and died, the only thing required of believers is repentance from sin and faith in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection.  Through In-Christ-Alonefaith in Christ alone is someone saved1 John 1:9 puts it this way, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  No longer was the outward sign of circumcision needed to prove belief in the one true God.

Paul concludes this discussion of Jews and Gentiles in Ephesians 2:13 as he reminds these new believers in Ephesus of their wonderful present position in Christ.   “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.”    Because Jesus ephesians 2 13died on the cross and rose from the dead, we are brought near to God through the blood of Christ.   This is good news!  We are no longer separated from God by sin,  but can be united with Him.  This really is the heart of the gospel that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are brought into relationship with Him.  We are covered by the blood of His sacrifice and our sins are washed away.  We are not far away anymore but brought near to Christ.  Hebrews 10:10 “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”  His sacrifice was big enough, great enough and pure enough to cover all our sins.  Amazing!

How will you use this good news today?  Will you draw near to God and thank Him for sending Jesus to redeem you?  God loves a heart filled with gratitude and praise.  Thank you Jesus for all you have done and are doing in my life.

Linda