Provision, Patience and Perseverance

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Ruth 3:14-23

In the first half of Ruth 3 we find that Boaz responds favorably to Ruth’s advances and proposition. However there was an obstacle keeping them from moving forward in their relationship. Boaz explained to Ruth in verse 12 that even though he is her kinsman there was another relative closer in line that would have a stronger claim to her hand.  When Ruth is leaving Boaz after sleeping at his feet, under his cloak on the threshing floor Boaz tells to bring him the shawl she was wearing. When she holds it out to him Boaz takes 6 measures of the barley that he had been sleeping on the threshing floor protecting and gives them to her. He remarks that he doesn’t want Ruth to go back to Naomi empty handed, most likely as a sign of his acceptance of Ruth’s advances and to continue providing for them. I love how Boaz consistently takes up this role and responsibility as a provider in the way he takes care of both Ruth and Naomi. In many ways love relationships really do mirror Christ and the church — especially in the way God loves and cares for His people.
When Ruth returns to Naomi and tells her everything that happened — her first response is that they must wait. Naomi is sure of Boaz’s intentions and that he will move forward in settling the issue of another kinsman closer in relation to marry Ruth. We can see Ruth, Naomi and Boaz acting faithfully with patience and perseverance in this passage.  Ruth was patient — not making her requests known to Boaz until the time was right as was Naomi. Boaz too made sure to go through the right channels to pursue Ruth and who knows how long he had patiently been waiting for a woman to be available that had her character.
Is there an area in your life or situation where you aren’t trusting God’s leading and patiently waiting for his provision?
Shelby Upton

 

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Bitterness

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Happy Tuesday and thanks for sticking with me this far!

I’m leading a Bible Study this summer on the book of Ruth using the study guide Ruth: Discovering Your Place in God’s Story by Eugene H. Peterson. One of the reoccurring themes that has come up during our discussions has been Naomi’s role in the story. If you are not familiar with her story, I encourage you to go ahead and pick up a Bible and read at least the first chapter of Ruth before finishing this post.

There are different ways one can read Naomi’s character. Some people within my group thought of her as sympathetic, down on her luck, trying to make the best of a bad situation. Others, like myself, view her as more selfish, bitter, and self-centered. Regardless as to how one chooses to read her, there is no denying the fact that in the first chapter, she is a complainer.

She complains:

“Don’t call me Naomi; call me Bitter. The Strong One has dealt me a bitter blow.  I left here full of life, and God has brought me back with nothing but the clothes on my     back. Why would you call me Naomi? God certainly doesn’t. The Strong One ruined       me.” Ruth 1:20 & 21 MSG.

Bad things happened to Naomi. She lost her husband and then both her sons. But there are lots of people in the Bible who had bad things happen to them, yet, they did not turn on God, nor were they led to believe God had turned on them. Take Joseph, Jacob’s son, for example. His whole story was one whole roller coaster ride of ups and downs, trials and triumphs, yet he never stopped trusting that God had a plan.

Naomi’s story presents us with a different sort of Biblical character. She believes God no longer cares for her. All the while, right in front of her, God has left her with her daughter-in-law, Ruth. Eventually, because of Ruth and the kindness of a man named Boaz, Naomi’s faith in God is once again restored. In the second chapter she declares: “God hasn’t quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!” (2:20 MSG).

Here are the two takeaway lessons from Naomi. One, Naomi is an example of how our bitterness can keep us from seeing God’s blessings – even when they are directly in front of us. God never forgot or abandoned Naomi. He had a plan. He gave her a loyal daughter-in-law and orchestrated events for her to meet Boaz. The second lesson we can learn is that even when we complain and are bitter, God doesn’t give up on us. Even when we are fickle and only trust God when things are going well, like Naomi appears to be doing, it doesn’t make us tarnished. God’s grace covers us, liked it covered Naomi.

-Emilee Ross

 

Ruth: Faithfulness and Devotion Rewarded (Ruth)

Friday, October 7

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Shelby Upton

It is almost impossible for me to write this devotion on Ruth. There are so many valuable lessons and principles to glean from this 4 Chapter book and it is one of my favorite books of the Bible! For the sake of brevity I want to focus on Ruth’s example of faithfulness and devotion.

Ruth suffered losing her husband and had the chance to start over with a new family. Naomi even speaks of the faithful love that Ruth had shown to the family already. She chose however to stay with the faith of her family that she married into and help take care of Naomi and I believe God blessed her for that faithfulness.

Ruth went to work gleaning in the fields behind the harvesters behind in Boazs’ field and he took notice of her! To prove my point I think Boaz sums it up perfectly in Ruth 2:11-12 “Boaz answered her, “Everything you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband’s death has been fully reported to me: how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and how you came to a people you didn’t previously know. May the Lord reward you for what you have done, and may you receive a full reward from the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

 

Her future with Boaz and Naomi’s family was that reward for her faithfulness and devotion. 💗