Sunday, June 30, 2013
Read Ruth 1:15-22.
As we continue this story, while Naomi and her family was in Moab something has happened in Israel.
There has been a return to God and the land is being blessed again. Now things are looking better there then here. The grass being greener on the other side so to speak, where in this case it actually was.
The culture of the day placed women low in society so for these three widows to return really does not hold a lot of hope. There may be things left out that we do not know about. For Naomi it is possible that she planned to find her late husband's family and depend upon the traditions that a brother will care for the deceased wife. For the two Moabite women that potential would be slim. There is still the Jewish law against inter marriages.
Something happens along the way though. Naomi makes a very strange witness to her daughters in law. But it is a witness. There is no hope of salvation for these women in Naomi, and this is true. There is no hope for salvation for anyone in any other human (except one). But in her lifestyle, the traditions of her people, the lessons learned, she shows a relationship with God that Ruth can see but Orpah can not. An excellent example that the gospel, the witness that God is God and that salvation comes from Him is not always communicated with words but with life. And that some people will receive this message and some will not. So Ruth has made a confession of faith at this time, your people shall be my people and your God my God. The words of our confession are not important, it is the condition of the spirit, Ruth has become a Hebrew by her confession.
For Naomi, she doesn't quite grasp what has happened. She is filled only with sorrow over her losses.
Now she feels burdened with the addition of Ruth. We are all so much like Naomi, our joy in life is influenced easily by the events in our lives. We see only today, it becomes so easy to fall into despair when the outlook is bleak and so many tragedies have occurred. The pious cliche's and platitudes hurt more than help. When we are at this place we do not want to hear 8:28, that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. If you are ever tempted to say this, just shut up. Hurting people don't need words, they need love, just be there, a touch on the shoulder, a hug, a Coke and smile.