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Posts Tagged ‘Rahab’


Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to t...

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It’s funny because the last couple of days I keep reading, and rereading, the Book of Ruth. Even though you’d think that Esther would be the book of the week.

I have always loved the Book of Ruth. One of the first school reports I ever wrote when I was young was about the Book of Ruth. There was just something that resonated with me about a young woman who loved Naomi, her mother-in-law, so much that she would sacrifice the life she could have had by going back to her own family for the great unknown of following Naomi into the future.

Yet, there’s so much more to the story than that of Ruth, who gave up everything she could have because of her great love for Naomi, and, in the process, ended up with it all given back to her in spades. I mean, really, she ended up marrying one of the wealthiest guys around, who was taking care of her before she even realized it. And, by marrying Boaz she secured a life for both herself and her mother-in-law. Not only that, but she was King David’s great-grandmother and, as such, in the lineage of Jesus as well.

This week, as I read and reread the story, it occurred to me that the Book of Ruth isn’t actually about Ruth at all. It’s about the Lord’s faithfulness to Naomi. Now this thought may have crossed my mind before, but I don’t remember it, and it certainly didn’t have the impact on me that it did this week.

The book starts with Naomi, it ends with Naomi, and in between is the Lord’s provision for Naomi in the form of Ruth and Boaz. When you look a little more closely at the story, it becomes apparent that sometimes our lives are woven in such a way as to be a deep and abiding blessing for someone else.

In other words, the Lord may, and usually does, form our lives to fulfill His promise of care and provision for someone else, not necessarily ourselves. Just like He did with Ruth’s life which was formed in such a way as to provide for Naomi.

This doesn’t always sit well with any of us, we want our lives to be about us, not anyone else or the Lord’s provision to them. Yet, in scripture that’s all you really see, how the Lord uses His own people to take care of others, from Abraham who took care of Lot, to Joseph who took care of his family, to Moses who took care of the people of Israel, to Rahab who took care of the spies, the list goes on and on, showing how God uses the lives of His people to fulfill His promises of love, care and provision to others.

This idea really shouldn’t come as such a surprise to us, even though it does. Because after all, didn’t Jesus do the same?

“Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Praise the LORD who has not left you without a family redeemer today.'”

Ruth 4:14

 

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Across to the Promised Land

Image by Gauis Caecilius via Flickr

Promises. We’ve all made them, kept them, broken them, along with having had them made to us, with some of them kept and some of them broken.

But, what about the promises of God? He makes some huge promises in His word, “I will never leave you or forsake you”, “I Am” and “I will go before you” are just a smattering of them. His promises are interesting in that they are begun and completed by Him, yet some of them seem to include some sort of step by us  to make them a reality.

I am reminded of the Israelites in the desert after God orchestrated their release from Egypt. He took them the long way to the Promised Land, possibly because they were slaves, not experience fighters, and they would have been slaughtered by the people’s that populated the short way. All the while He was taking care of them in ways they didn’t quite realize, yet when they got to the Promised Land they had to do something. Take it.

Instead of taking it, they sent in spies and all but two of them came back with tales of huge men who would obliterate the Israelites if they even tried to take the land. They balked at the idea of taking the land and instead of believing who God had shown them He was and what He had told them, they thought the predicament they found themselves in was too big, too scary, too impossible.

They seemed to want the same thing we want today in regards to things that God has promised us, they wanted Him to just give it to them with no fuss, no fight, no conflict, no impossibility, no fear. They wanted to be given their Promised Land in such a way that they didn’t need to wholeheartedly believe in, and rely on, God to get it.

So, all of them but two were barred from entering the Promised Land for a whole generation. Forty years, they wandered around the desert with God providing for them, showing them the way, building their faith, until the time when the people were ready to take the land that he had promised Abraham all those years ago.

Yet, a funny thing happened when they were wandering in the desert. The people multiplied. They toughened up. They got stronger. Is it no wonder that when Joshua sent the spies into Jericho that Rahab said, ‘we have heard of you and your God and the people that occupy the land are terrified of you’?

Even so the people had to still trust God, believe that what He said was true and make the move to take the land. The basic’s were the same, trust God in the impossible, have faith that He will do what He has said, then move. It didn’t matter if it was 40 years earlier or at the time of Joshua,  the people had to have enough faith in Him and who He was, and is, to start to move in the direction of their Promised Land.

And, it’s kind of the same with us today. God may have promised you something that looks wholeheartedly impossible, but you need to believe that what He has said is true and have enough faith in Him and who He is to move towards that promise.

“Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance…. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:6 & 9

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