Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Two – Day 4WK02D04

Read Ruth 2:14-17; Psalm 34:10     SOAP Ruth 2:17

14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her.16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

Psalm 34:10 (ESV) 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;  but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

O – Boaz continues to show His character in sharing food with Ruth at mealtime (not just bread and water, but bread, roasted grain and wine!).  She had enough food to eat a full meal – and even had leftovers.  Boaz also instructed his workers to allow Ruth to glean (even to glean around all the bound sheaves), and to actually pull out grain around them for her to pick up.  And – in either case, not to embarrass her (cause her to blush) or to rebuke (give her a hard time) her.

Boaz goes over and above the Levitical command to allow widows and foreigners to glean.  He calls her over to eat with him, serves her, gives her more than enough food, and then protects her and gives her a way to gather food without it being a “handout.”

A – Isn’t this the way that God provides?  Meeting our needs?  More than enough?  In ways that we can say – “Only GOD could do this!”

There have been seasons in my life that I have seen God provide in ways that I KNEW came from Him.   The bags of groceries left on the front steps of my home when I struggled as a single mom.  The “summer job” of pianist at the Fellowship – that lasted over 25 years!  The child support checks that finally came – during my time of unemployment – and my daughter was grown and married!  (they stopped right around the time that I found full time teaching position!)  The substituting job that turned into full time work, right around the corner from my home!

It’s not just physical supplying…. He supplies our emotional, our heart needs as well!  My marriage, the expansion of my family to include four more children and their spouses, seven more grandchildren,  extended family members who have wrapped me into their lives.  The blessings of mentoring three young women from church.  The opportunities to volunteer at the local hospital in the emergency department.  The blessing of serving in worship.

What is MY role in all of this?   To give thanks.  To acknowledge where the blessings come from.  To tell my stories to the younger generation, to those who don’t know Him, to those I have opportunities to “chat.”

To remember, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19 – ESV)

P – Father God, thank You for the blessings in my life – for all those needs that you have supplied.   Yes, You supplied needs that I didn’t know were there, or over and abundantly gave to me.  Give me a grateful heart – full of thanksgiving.  Father, keep my eyes open, my ears open, to see the needs around me.  May I, like Boaz, bless others abundantly.  Use me, Lord today.

Psalm 34 – I Will Bless the Lord at all Times – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW6whvgrdmk

At all times 1 will bless Him
His praise will be in my mouth
My soul makes its boast in the Lord
The humble man will hear of Him
The afflicted will be glad
And join with me to magnify the Lord

Let us exalt His name together, forever
I sought the Lord, He heard me
And delivered me from my fears.
Let us exalt His name together, forever
0 sing His praises magnify the Lord

The angel of the Lord encamps
Round those who fear His name
To save them and deliver them from harm
Though lions roar with hunger
We lack for no good thing
No wonder then we praise Him with our song

Come children now and hear Him
If you would see long life
Just keep your mouth from wickedness and lies
Do good and turn from evil
Seek peace instead of strife
Love righteousness and God will hear your cry


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Two – Day 3WK02D03

Read Ruth 2:8-13; Psalm 57:1      SOAP Ruth 2:17

What do verses 8-16 tell us about the kind of man Boaz was?

In verse 11, what specifically does Boaz notice about Ruth that makes him want to help her?

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

Psalm 57:1 (ESV) 57 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,  for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,  till the storms of destruction pass by.

Psalm 57:1 (AMP) Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious and merciful to me, For my soul finds shelter and safety in You, And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge and be confidently secure
Until destruction passes by.

O – Boaz reveals his character in this passage – and also the character of His God.   He calls Ruth his “daughter”, probably showing the difference in ages – He would be an older man, maybe even Elimelech’s age.  He offers his protection – by having her glean in his fields, and by warning the men in his fields to leave her alone.  He allows her to stay close to the other women in his fields (his workers), and to be able to drink water that has already been drawn.  In so doing, he helps to meet her physical, social, emotional needs.

Ruth is astounded that an Israelite would “find favor” of her, a foreigner.  She KNOWS that she doesn’t “belong” – yet she is being treated kindly, even with love.  She is so taken back that she even falls on her face, showing deference and honor to Boaz.

But it is her tender care of Naomi, and her willingness to leave her homeland to care for Naomi that has preceeded her, and established her reputation in Bethlehem.  It has been “fully told” to Boaz.  He knows all about Naomi’s state, but also Ruth’s care, her work ethic, her following Naomi’s God.  “All that you have done…. Has been fully told.”  He blesses Ruth, asking God to repay her for her deeds – and that she had found “refuge” under God’s wings.

A – What is my take-away from this passage today?

Boaz’ care of Ruth – David Guzik’s commentary added an element of challenge to me in this area:

*Fittingly, Boaz encouraged Ruth as if she were a new convert to the God of Israel. In many ways, Ruth stands as an example of a new convert.

  • She put her trust in the God of Israel
  • She has left her former associates
  • She had come in among strangers
  • She was very low in her own eyes
  • She found protection under the wings of God

 

  1. In the same way, older Christians should be like Boaz unto younger Christians who are like Ruth. “Observe that he saluted her with words of tender encouragement; for this is precisely what I want all the elder Christians among you to do to those who are the counterparts of Ruth. . . . I want you to make a point of looking out the young converts, and speaking to them goodly words, and comfortable words, whereby they may be cheered and strengthened.” (Spurgeon)*

 

Am I an encouragement to others – those who may be different, or “strangers”, or foreign to this land?  To those who are younger in the faith?  Do I “strengthen and cheer” them on – speaking “goodly words”?

 

Taking refuge – Do I find my “refuge” in the shadow of His wings?  Do I encourage others to do the same?    The image of a mother bird, protecting her young ones has always been a word picture to encourage me.  But this is also a reminder of God – His awesomeness, as well as His protection.  Warren Wiersbe noted that “when what he (David) needed was the wings of the cherubim in “the secret place of the Most High” where he could safely hide.”  Do I find my refuge there?

 

May today I find shelter in Him…. And encourage others in the same way!

 

P – Father God, “You’re my shelter through it all.  You’re my refuge and my strength.  Lord, I hide in the shadow of Your wings.”   You are my strength and my refuge.  You hold me close.  You shelter me in ways that I don’t even realize.  Today, Father, may I rest in You – and encourage others to rest in You as well.  Bring to my heart the needs of others.  Help me to respond in a kind and gentle way, especially in this new volunteer position at the hospital.  Father, may I be Your hands and feet today, spreading Your love and comfort to those I encounter.  Amen.

Notes:

Logos Study:  The Hebrew word kenaphaim (“wings”) commonly appears in the ot as an image of finding shelter or refuge under God’s wings. This image—especially prevalent in the Psalms (Pss 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 63:7; 91:4)—compares the tender way God loves and cares for His people with the way birds protect and care for their young (Deut 32:11). It commonly appears in lament or petition psalms where the psalmist asks God to deliver him from some kind of distress. Those who seek refuge under God’s wings find satisfaction (Pss 36:7–8; 63:5–8) and protection from danger (Pss 57:1; 91:3–6).[1]

Lumina:– Constable’s Notes: Why was Boaz blessing her (lit. with “grace,” “favor,” or “acceptance;” Heb. hen)? Ruth wanted to know (v. 10). The Israelites did not normally treat foreigners this way during the period of the judges. Boaz explained that it was not her nationality but her unselfish love for Naomi (v. 11) and her trust in Yahweh (v. 12) that had moved him to bless her.

“. . . Boaz’s kindness toward Ruth simply reciprocated hers toward Naomi. He was, indeed, a true son of Israel: he treated foreigners kindly because Israel itself knew the foreigner’s life in Egypt.”[61]

David Guzik: Enduring word commentary:  God was blessing Ruth already and all because He guided her to Boaz’s field. Boaz knew that if Ruth stayed in his fields, she would be blessed and find:

  • In Boaz’s field, Ruth would find companionship(among the young women).
  • In Boaz’s field, Ruth would find protection(Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you?).
  • In Boaz’s field, Ruth would find refreshment(when you are thirsty).

 

Warren Wiersbe Be Series: David depended on the grace of God to see him through his trials. His worship and prayer turned the cave into a Holy of Holies where he could hide under the wings of the cherubim on the mercy seat of the ark (Ex. 25:17-20; and note the verb “overshadowing”). This image is found frequently in Scripture and must not be confused with the wings of the bird as in 91:4; Deuteronomy 32:11Matthew 23:37; and Luke 13:34. (See 17:836:7-861:4Ruth 2:12.) David wanted the wings of a dove to fly away (55:6), when what he needed was the wings of the cherubim in “the secret place of the Most High” where he could safely hide (Heb. 10:19-25). David had taken refuge in the Lord many times in the past, and he knew that the Lord was faithful. The word calamities means “a destructive storm that could engulf me.”

 

Shadow of your Wings – Hillsong – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBmQj2FHMAQ

My spirit rests in You
You’re all I know
Embrace and touch me
Like a child
I’m safe in You

You’re my shelter through it all
You’re my refuge and my strength
Lord I hide in the shadow of Your wings

My Lord, You’re faithful
You supply all good things
You know completely
All my thoughts
My deepest needs
[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ru 2:12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Two – Day 2WK02D02

Read Ruth 2:4-7; Lev. 19:9-10                      SOAP Ruth 2:7

And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.” Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.”[a]

Leviticus 19:9-10 (ESV) – “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

O – Boaz’s greeting says volumes about his relationship with his workers.  He greets them in the name of the Lord – and they bless him in return.  There seems to be an atmosphere of mutual respect.    And – Boaz is a “noticer.”   He notices a new young woman gleaning in his field and asks who she belongs to.  In that culture, she would typically “belong” to either her father’s household, or to the household of her husband.

Ruth was out, gleaning among the sheaves of wheat.   She was picking up small pieces, after the reapers were done.   This was an Old Testament provision, set up by God Himself, to allow the “poor and for the sojourner” to gather food.   It wasn’t a “handout” – they had to work for it.  But – it was set up to allow them to work for their food – the leftovers, and the corners of the fields, as well as from the dropped grapes in the vineyards.

And, so Ruth was out, gleaning.  Her work ethic is shown here, as she had been ther since early morning, and only had taken a short rest.   She had asked for permission, and now had earnestly worked all day.

A – I was thinking, what would our country’s welfare system look like if there was a system in place for people to work – to have a way to gather needed items – and to give a sense of ownership in the obtaining of needed resources?  God had a good idea!

What is my take-away?

  • Do I greet others in a manner other than, “hi, how are you?” Do I bless them – even care about the answer I get?  Or do I do the social niceties?    Do my greetings reflect a blessing – or a concern for the person I am greeting?
  • Am I a “noticer?” Do I notice when there are needs in others?   Do I reach out – and even ask, like Boaz did?
  • Am I known for my work ethic? Do I work earnestly – or do I waste time?
  • Do I show true compassion to others around me?

P – Father God, take this woman, and use her in Your way.  Reach in my heart, and soften it.  Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to respond to the needs and concerns of those around me.  Give me ways to bless others, and notice their needs, or their hearts.  Father, may I reflect Your love and compassion today.

Compassion Hymn – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XLyibTpoB4

“There is an everlasting kindness
You lavished on us
When the Radiance of heaven Came to rescue the lost;
You called the sheep without a shepherd
To leave their distress
For your streams of forgiveness
And the shade of Your rest.

And with compassion for the hurting,
You reached out Your hand
As the lame ran to meet You
And the dead breathed again;
You saw behind the eyes of sorrow
And shared in our tears,
Heard the sigh of the weary,
Let the children draw near.

CHORUS
What boundless love,
What fathomless grace
You have shown us, O God of compassion!
Each day we live
An offering of praise
As we show to the world Your compassion.

We stood beneath the cross of Calvary
And gazed on Your face
At the thorns of oppression
And the wounds of disgrace,
For surely You have borne our suffering
And carried our grief
As You pardoned the scoffer
And showed grace to the thief.

How beautiful the feet that carry
This gospel of peace
To the fields of injustice
And the valleys of need—
To be a voice of hope and healing,
To answer the cries
Of the hungry and helpless
With the mercy of Christ. ”


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week Two – Day 1WK02D01

Read Ruth 2:1-3; Proverbs 20:24                                SOAP Ruth 2:3

Ruth decides to go gleaning in Boaz’s field. What does gleaning mean and what do we learn about Ruth’s character?

1Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.

Proverbs 20:24 (ESV) – 24 A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?

O – It was Ruth’s idea for her to go to a field to glean after the reapers.  But, it was also gleaning “after him in whose sight I shall find favor.”  She was hoping to find a field in which she could pick up the leftover grain from the harvest.   According to Deut. 24:19-21, it was an Israelite law that part of the harvest be left behind, or available for the “sojourner, fatherless, and the widow.”     “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. (Deut. 24:19-21)

This was God’s way of providing for the “alien” – the strangers, but also the poor. The Amplified Bible study notes mention that it was a “kind of divinely-appointed welfare system.”  It is probable that Ruth knew of this system, but at any rate, she was going to rely on the goodness and generosity of the local landowners for her to locate food for herself and Naomi.

It seems that Ruth was either asking permission or confirmation of her desire to go glean in a local field, as she said, “let me go to the field….” to Naomi.

It is interesting to note that she “happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz.”   She didn’t know that it was his field.   I’m not sure she even knew who Boaz was.  Boaz is mentioned by name in two places in this passage.   He was a relative of Elimelech, a “worthy man.” (v. 1)  He also owned the field where Ruth gleaned. (v. 3)  He is mentioned in verse 1 as a “man of great wealth.”

From Precept Austin:  The Hebrew for great wealth is a combination two Hebrew words:

Mighty (01368) (gibbor) is an adjective which means brave, strong, might and is commonly associated with warfare and has to do with the strength and vitality of the successful warrior. In some context gibbor emphasizes excellence.  Wealth (02428) (hayil or chayil) which means might, strength, power, valiant, virtuous, riches, wealth and is the same word used in the next chapter to describe Ruth as a woman of excellence (Ru 3:11note).

This same Hebrew phrase (gibbor hayil) is used to refer to Gideon (Jdg 6:12note) and Jephthah (Jdg 11:1note) and is variously translated as valiant warrior, mighty man of valor, mighty hero and mighty warrior.

 

Boaz was a man of great wealth, but also sees as a man of excellence.  The word “hayil” or “chayil” is also used to describe Ruth in Ruth 3:11!  It is their character that is referenced here.  The “excellence” didn’t come from wealth – it came from character.

 

The verse from Proverbs is interesting in that it says “A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?”  Did Ruth plan to find Boaz?  No – she simply needed to find a way to support herself and Naomi – and to find food.  She set out to glean as a way to provide food.   And – did God lead her to Boaz’s field?  Hmmmm……

A – What is the application here?

God provides.   He provides.  He is Jehovah-Jireh – our Provider.  Simply by instructing the Israelites to allow the sojourner, fatherless, and the widow to glean in fields gave provision to Ruth years later.  It was a way for her to provide for herself and Naomi.

Also – NOTHING happens that catches God unaware.   He KNOWS.  Life is not “happen-stance.”   Ruth “happened to come to the part of the field that belonged to Boaz?”   Just happened?   No, in God’s providence, she came.

How many of the things that happen in my life do I think are just circumstance?  Or – do I realize that God placed me in “this place, at this time?”  Doesn’t that change my perspective on what happens in my life?  I need to claim 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.” (ESV)  All things.

But it is also learning to be aware, to listen, to be attune to – God’s direction.  Sometimes, it seems muddied.  Then, I have to wait.  Other times, it is perfectly clear, and I need to move ahead.  It is in the learning and listening that I need to be aware.

P – Father God, thank You for Your provision in my life.  You have walked with me through joy and sorrow, through challenge and direction, through death and life, through many circumstances that I would wonder if I did not have Your presence.  Thank You for Your faithfulness.   Today, may I be faithful to You, listening and watching for Your leading.   Keep me sensitive to Your Spirit.  And – may I be an encouragement to others today who may be needing Your love and Your presence.   Amen.

Notes:

Gleaning was a right granted to the poor and to strangers by God—a kind of divinely-appointed welfare system. Farmers were instructed not to glean their fields or vineyards, that is, not to collect the excess stalks of grain or grapes left over by reapers, and not to have the extremities of their fields reaped (Lev 19:9, 10). (Amplified Bible study notes)

God Provides – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8BwydIR-r0

God provides So why do I worry about my life

When you come to my rescue a thousand times

Every other voice it is a lie God provides God provides

In ways I can’t explain and can’t deny

The little that I have He multiplies

Just when I feel He won’t show up on time

God provides

 

He’ll come through When the clouds of doubt rain down on you

And test everything you thought you knew

Now you finally see what God can do for you

So tonight Close your eyes there’s no more need to fight

Watch God provide God provides

 

It’s hard to say when there’s no food to eat

Or what you see feels all that life will be

And will this be another year of misery for me

But my faith can’t survive on just things I see

And my feelings can’t control my destiny

See God I only want what You believe for me

So tonight Close your eyes there’s no more need to fight

Watch God provide


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week One – Day 5WK01D05

Read Ruth 1:19-22; I Peter 4:19, Psalm 34:19   SOAP Ruth 1:19-21

19 So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?”20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi,  call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”  22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

1 Peter 4:19 (ESV) – 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Psalm 34:19 (ESV) – 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

O – It must have been quite a surprise for Naomi to arrive in Bethlehem – alone and without her husband and sons, BUT with a Moabite daughter-in-law.  No wonder the town “was stirred.”  While everyone was talking about this, Naomi gave her perspective of the story, which is especially telling with her “name change.”   She said to not call her Naomi (pleasant), but Mara (bitter), as the “Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”

What was Naomi saying here?   Her life was now “bitter”, in what God had brought to her – the death of her husband and two sons.   She went away “full” – an entire family – and came back “empty” – without any of them.  Why would any of this be pleasant – when the LORD had “testified against” her – and the Almighty had brought “calamity” upon her?

A – It is our perspective that allows us to deal with the events of our lives.  My mom has often said that our circumstances can be used to “make us bitter – or make us better.”   This, coming from a woman who lost her husband suddenly in a car accident, dealt with multiple health issues stemming from the accident, including six skull fractures, all ribs broken, hearing loss, and two knee replacements, and most recently, breast cancer with surgery, chemo and radiation.

What makes the change in perspective?

I think it is realizing that God does not “bring on” calamity in our lives.  We live in a fallen world, and things happen because we live in that world.  There is no certainty in this life – no guarantee that we won’t have to deal with death, loss, health issues, loss of wealth, and the effect of sin on society.  BUT – and a huge BUT – God has promised that He will never leave or forsake us.  (Deut. 31:6)

What will my response be in future times of “calamity” or challenge?  Will it be “call me Mara?” OR – will it be “blessed be the name of the Lord?”   “ YET will I praise Him?”

Last night, we were talking in our small group about the importance of having God’s Word in us – so we can recall it when we need it.  You can’t recall what you don’t have in you!  So – my challenge today is to memorize that verse from Habakkuk I found earlier this week…..  Hab. 3:17-19 (ESV)

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

YET – will I rejoice!

P – Father God, work in my heart.  Prepare me.  Teach me to depend on You.  Walk with me as I continue to learn Your Word, having it dwell within me.  Help me to retain what I learn, and then live it out.  May I, like the psalmist, entrust my soul to You – my faithful Creator – and to do good.  Father, I do not want to be Mara – bitter and angry.  I want to be a woman of God, pliable and usable – for You.  Amen.

God Moves in a Mysterious Way – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtnapVDuPfg

God moves in a mysterious way,

His wonders to perform

He plants his footsteps on the sea

And rides upon the storm

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

 


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week One – Day 4WK01D04

Read Ruth 1:15-18, Proverbs 31:25     SOAP Ruth 1:16-17

Why do you think Orpah returns to Moab instead of following Ruth and Naomi?

15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

Proverbs 31:25 (ESV) – 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,  and she laughs at the time to come.

O – What a statement of faith, coming from a woman who had been widowed, and now commits to journeying to a foreign land with her elderly mother-in-law!  There are elements of faith in her declaration:

  • Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. – Here is Ruth’s commitment to Naomi – telling her that she WAS going with her.  Naomi had already asked Ruth to return to her own land, and Ruth had set out on the journey with her.  Even though Orpah returned, Ruth is making the commitment to Naomi.
  • For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.  – Ruth is making the commitment to journey with Naomi, but also to live with her, reside, and make her home with Naomi.
  • Your people shall be my people, – Her declaration gets stronger – here Ruth is declaring an allegiance to the Hebrew people.  She is leaving the Moabite land – and taking on the Hebrew identity.  Where Naomi and Elimelech “sojourned” in Moab, Ruth is identifying and “becoming” Hebrew.
  • and your God my God.  – And stronger! Not only is Ruth committing to Naomi’s land of heritage, but to her God!  This is not only a change in locale, and life style, but a change in heart!
  • Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried.  – Ruth’s commitment is so strong that she is willing to be buried in this new land. “The place of a person’s grave in ancient Near Eastern life was very significant. It identified the area he or she considered his or her true home. So when Ruth said she wanted to die and be buried where Naomi was (v. 17) she was voicing her strong commitment to the people, land, and God of Naomi. “ (lumina notes)
  • May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you. – Ruth is making this commitment, calling upon God to hold her accountable to her promise.

A – This quote from Spurgeon resonated with me this morning…. “Ah! You will never win any soul to the right by a compromise with the wrong. It is decision for Christ and his truth that has the greatest power in the family, and the greatest power in the world, too.” (Spurgeon)

It is interesting to note that Ruth did not make an oral declaration of “faith” until Naomi was leaving Moab and returning to Bethlehem.  Why not in the ten years previous?    David Guzik stated:  “Ten years of Naomi’s compromise in Moab never made Ruth confess her allegiance to the God of Israel. Yet as soon as Naomi stood and said, “I’m going back to the God of Israel, I’ll put my fate in His hands” Ruth stood with her. If you think you will persuade your friends or relatives to Jesus by your compromise, you are mistaken. Perhaps you are sincere, but you are mistaken. Only a bold stand for Jesus will really do it. (enduring word)

Study Notes:

Constable’s Notes:  (Lumina)

Ruth concluded that her prospects for loyal love and rest (vv. 8-9) were better if she identified with Israel than if she continued to identify with Moab. She had come to admire Israel’s God, in spite of Naomi’s present lack of faith. Elimelech and his family had evidently earlier fulfilled God’s purpose for His people while living in Moab. They had so represented Yahweh that Ruth felt drawn to Him and now, faced with a decision of loyalty, she chose to trust and obey Him rather than the gods of Moab. Ruth the Moabitess exercised faith, but Naomi the Israelitess lived by sight. Ruth trusted God and obeyed the Mosaic Covenant, but Naomi did not.[43] Ruth was a descendant of Lot who chose to leave the Promised Land because he thought he could do better for himself elsewhere (Gen. 13:11-12). The “cities of the valley” (Gen. 13:12), including Sodom and Gomorrah, lay outside (to the east of) the territory that God originally promised Abram (Gen. 12:7). Later God revealed that He would give Abram’s descendants even more land including the Jordan Valley (Gen. 13:14-15; 15:18; et al.). Ruth now reversed the decision of her ancestor and chose to identify with the promises of Yahweh that centered in the Promised Land.[44] The ancients believed that a deity had power only in the locale occupied by its worshippers. Therefore to leave one’s land (v. 15) meant to separate from one’s god.[45]

The place of a person’s grave in ancient Near Eastern life was very significant (cf. Gen. 23; 25:9-10; 50:1-14, 24-25; Josh. 24:32). It identified the area he or she considered his or her true home. So when Ruth said she wanted to die and be buried where Naomi was (v. 17) she was voicing her strong commitment to the people, land, and God of Naomi (cf. Luke 14:33). Naomi’s life may have influenced Ruth to trust in Naomi’s God.

 

I’m With You (Ruth/Naomi)  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdS8UYBDHsk

Love is a hurricane in a blue sky
I didn’t see it coming, never knew why
All the laughter and the dreams
All the memories in between
Washed away in a steady stream

Love is a hunger; a famine in your soul
I thought I planted beauty, but it would never grow
Now I’m on my hands and knees
Trying to gather up my dreams
Trying to hold on to anything

And we could shake a fist in times like this
When we don’t understand
Or we could just hold hands

You and me, me and you
Where you go, I’ll go too
I’m with you. I’m with you.
Until your heart, finds a home
I won’t let you feel alone
I’m with you. I’m with you.

You do your best to build a higher wall
To keep love safe from any wrecking ball
When the dust has cleared, we will
See the house that Love rebuilds
Guarding beauty that lives here still

You and me, me and you
Where you go, I’ll go too
I’m with you. I’m with you.
Until your heart, finds a home
I won’t let you feel alone
I’m with you. I’m with you.

Who can say I’m left with nothing
When I have all of you, all of you?
In the way you always love me
I remember He does too.


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Ruth: Loss to Legacy

Week One – Day 3WK01D03

Read Ruth 1:6-14              SOAP Ruth 1:8

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

O – Naomi heard that the Lord had “visited” His people and that there was food back in Judah.  So, she decided to go back to her homeland, bringing her daughters-in-law with her.  As they started, Naomi told them to go back to their homeland – to their mother’s houses, and to “find rest” in a husband.  She also mentions their care for her – for she added, “May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.”  She released them – acknowledging their love for her and their dead husbands.  But – they refused.  They declared that they would continue on with her.

But Naomi had arguments for why they should return to their homeland.  Naomi was too old to have a husband again and have children – thus fulfilling the Hebrew law or tradition of a widow marrying her husband’s brother in order to continue the family line.  Obviously – they couldn’t wait for a “brother” of their husband to be born and to get old enough for them to marry – EVEN IF Naomi could have more children!  So – would they NOT marry again?  Besides, God had dealt bitterly with her – would they really want to share in that?  Was she “releasing “ them – or did she not want them to go back to Bethlehem with her – the proof that her family’s time in Moab resulting in the sons marrying Moabite women??

Whatever the case, she blessed and released them.  Orpah kissed Naomi, but Ruth “clung to her.”    In Constables Notes, it says, “Ruth clung to Naomi. The Hebrew word for “clung to” is dabaq, which elsewhere refers to the ideal closeness that can be experienced in a marriage relationship (cf. Gen. 2:24).[41] Ruth determined to stick to her mother-in-law as closely as a husband would cleave to his wife (cf. James 1:27). (Lumina)

A – What is my take-away from today?

Naomi’s comment to Ruth gave testimony of their relationship:   May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.”  (v. 8)  This is from a mother-in-law – who watched Ruth daily as she not only cared for her husband before he died, and Ruth’s care for her, a widow in a foreign country.  Later on in the chapter, Ruth “clung” to Naomi – she “stuck with” Naomi, just as closely as a wife would cling to her husband.  Was she obligated to do this?  I think her care of Naomi came from her heart, not just from obligation.

What is my care for others?   For my own mother?  For family?  For my husband?  Is it a “stuck to” care?  Is it based on love – or obligation?  Marrying into a grown family brings its own set of  relationships.  Do I have that same kind of love to ALL my family?  Oh, may my kindness, my love, my generosity – be as Ruth’s!

P – Father God, work within my heart today – to be kind, and generous, and loving to OUR family.   Help me to see needs, and work to meet them.  Help me to bring comfort, and care, and encouragement to our children, and grandchildren – and family members.  Work in my heart – help me to see, to hear, and to do – what YOU desire.  May I reflect Your love today.  Amen.

The Lord Bless You and Keep You – Octarium – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QB2FVlaPM-o