Thursday, February 26, 2009

Finding Hope-Ruth

Ruth, even though just four chapters, gives hope in a world where life can seem hopeless. Set in the time of the Judges, we see that Israel is in a time of failure. It is not a hopeful time. The book of Ruth gives a glimpse of what God is doing in the darkest of times. In some ways, we may feel like we are living in the darkest of times. Families and marriages are struggling. Companies are laying off employees. Spiritually and financially our nation is in crisis. It seems like things are getting worse not better. Naomi lived in the time of a famine. She had lost her husband and two sons and is heading back to her home with her daughter in law Ruth. She can see no hope but somehow Ruth sees hope. Ruth decides to go with Naomi even though in doing so she would have to leave her family, possibly embrace a life of widowhood and childlessness (since Naomi had no more sons) and would be with an unknown people with a different language. Somehow Ruth is able to have a faith in Naomi's God that sees beyond their present setbacks.

Ruth's faith is seen again in her first conversation with Boaz. (Ruth 2:10-12) Boaz sees Ruth as a woman who seeks refuge under God's wings. According to John Piper, Ruth was blessed because she chose to find refuge in God which in turn glorifies God. Ruth wanted to stay under the wings of God so she stayed with Naomi. I really like this part. Ruth knew God was moving towards this destitute widow and she moved too. Lots of times I have visualized under the wings of God as being a set place. It could be a set place such as when we are called to wait. On the other hand, under His wings, God could position us and use us as we are safe in his refuge. I am reminded of the saying " the safest place to be is in the will of God." My family will be moving this summer overseas. As we seek refuge under God's wing, we are in the exact place we need to be even with all the unrest around us.

From here, the story picks up and the romance of Boaz and Ruth begins and then leads to the marriage of Ruth and Boaz and the birth of Obed. In the last chapter of Ruth, we find out that Obed would be the great grandfather to David. If we look even farther ahead we find that Obed whose mother is a Moabite is part of the lineage of Jesus. Even in the Old Testament God shows us his heart for all nations. It also shows God at work in the darkest of times working for the good of his people as He prepares the way for Jesus. Quoting John Piper once more, "the glory of Christ is that He comes from the nations as well as dying for the nations.

As Ruth as my example, I want to be a woman who knows God is good, bows down before Him and finds refuge under His wing. I desire for my prayer to be the same as RC Sproul who said, " May we see the invisible hand of God work in the darkest of times." May we see the Hope of glory, Jesus, in the darkest of times.

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