Courage for a New Life

Today I woke up and asked God to show me more about His sovereignty. I don’t know about you but I’m always rolling around questions of God’s sovereignty versus our actions…blah, blah, blah. Anyway I picked up my daily bible (in which I’m still on the March reading) and started reading about Ruth. While I was reading I was literally thinking is this story just a story? Is it an insight into the biological line that would bring forth Christ or can I learn a deeper lesson today? God’s thoughts are definately not mine because as I began to read further about Boaz I was struck that the character of Boaz was so immensly kind to Ruth. She had favor with him and he made provision for her. Although I had heard that Boaz’s job as the kinsman redeemer is likened unto the character of God it didn’t really resonate with me until today. Boaz does several things to protect her. Boaz tells Ruth to gather what was left by the reapers only in his field, that he has told the men not to touch her, and he offers her plenty of food and shade. In fact he tells the men harvesting to purposefully leave extra stalks of barley on the ground for her to pick up.

In case you don’t know the story, Ruth is a Moabite woman who follows her mother in law back to Israel after her husband and her father-in-law die in Moab. She takes care of her mother in law, Naomi and accepts the God of Israel as her own God. Naomi’s reputation of hard work and dedication reach the ear of Boaz who is a distant relative of Naomi. According to the Law the nearest male relative must take care of the widows of that particular family. That is role of the kinsman redeemer. Also according to the law in Israel the poor could “glean” in the fields by picking up what was left by the reapers for food.

Ruth made the sacrifice of her old life for a new life with Naomi and to follow her God, who is the one true God. She went into a new place and it was hard at first…very hard. But God provided for her through Boaz. Like Boaz telling the men not to touch her, and the women to accept her, God will go before you and prepare the hearts of those you will come into contact with. As Boaz provided shade, protection and food, God will also provide all of your needs (Phillipians 4:19).  God provided Ruth with a gentle, generous and powerful kinsman redeemer who gave her a family, a home, and a chance to be part of the greatest legacy ever which is Christ’s birth! Just as God has done this for Ruth He has done this for us in Jesus Himself, who is our redeemer from having to pay for our own sin. This story is full of so much of God’s love for us!

My next question is what about Ruth? Did her choices play a part in any of this? We do not earn God’s favor but Ruth made a choice that her sister in law Orpah did not make. Orpah after losing her husband (Naomi’s other son) chose to stay back in the land of Moab instead of leaving and going with Ruth and Naomi. She stayed in a place she was familiar with yet she did not receive the challenges, or the blessings that Ruth received as far as we know. Ruth was able to take advantage of the redeeming law of a people not her own because she left what was familiar to her. Ruth had the courage and faith to leave what she knew and embrace Naomi’s God as her own. What god was Ruth leaving behind? Chemosh was the national deity of the Moabites whose name most likely meant “destroyer,” “subduer,” or “fish god.” This god required brutal human sacrifice to appease it. Isn’t it interesting that Ruth would play a part in bringing forth the son of God who would be the final sacrifice for all of mankind? Ruth made the choice to embrace a God, the road was long and difficult, the work was hard in the fields, but God was there all along, and she reaped the reward of her work and obedience, while God provided the opportunities and resources.

Be encouraged today to take have the faith to embrace God and leave your past behind. The road will not be easy but you will have a kinsman redeemer looking out for you!

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