April 21

April 21

Ruth Follows Naomi — The story of the Moabites & God’s love for foreigners/widows.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: Ruth 1

Reading 2: Deuteronomy 23:3-6

Reading 3: Deuteronomy 10:17-19

After the often-depressing stories of the Book of Judges, with disobedience as common as deliverance, we now come to a welcome contrast. Ruth’s faithfulness and loyalty become legendary and her faith in God (even as a foreigner) is inspiring for all of us.

What a difference from the story of Samson, who had everything going for him yet refused to fully obey God and seemed to be anointed by God merely because there was no-one else to bring God’s rule to the nation.

Ruth comes from a nation that in the past had been judged by God for failing to welcome the Israelites, but now became home for some of them as shelter from yet another famine (presumably because Israel continued to sin against God).

Much misfortune befalls Naomi in Moab – she loses her husband and both her sons. this was the equivalent of losing your income and having no insurance, no social programs, and no hope. Things look grim for her and the two Moabite daughters-in-law. But Ruth sees something in Naomi that causes her to be loyal to Naomi and to Naomi’s God.

Even in your worst moments, it is possible for others to see God in you and for their whole life to be changed as a result.

So Naomi and Ruth return to Israel, where they hear God is blessing again. It is always a good idea to seek out where God is at work and move toward His activity!

And the foreigner finds a welcome in the land of those who themselves know the pain of being dislocated from your heritage. Just as Israel were foreigners in Egypt, so they now welcome foreigners in Israel.

This is the precursor to God’s miraculous work of redemption, and we will read more tomorrow. For today, let’s ask God that we would always be welcoming to outsiders, knowing that we ourselves have found a home in Him.

Have a great day!

Mark.