Tag Archives: ruth

The Right Decision

As a person who spends a lot of time driving, I’m forced to make a lot of fast decisions. When people suddenly brake, I have to decide to slam on mine or change lanes. I also have another fast decision to make. Do I bless them or curse them? I would love to say that I hand out more blessing than cursing in traffic. The truth is, in those moments, we default to calling the other person a name, yelling at them, gesturing at them, and or using our vehicle to inform them we don’t like their driving.

In the book of Ruth, Boaz had to make a quick decision. He knew who Ruth was and what she had done for Naomi, so he was very kind to her. On one certain night, Naomi told Ruth, “Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do” (Ruth 3:3-4 NLT).

Imagine Boaz sleeping after a hard day’s work and then being woken up by someone pulling the covers off his feet. More than that, he notices it’s a woman. His thoughts may have been, “What if someone sees me laying with a woman?” They could have been, “How dare a servant take my covers!” Whatever they were, when he made a quick decision, it was to bless and not to curse. He told Ruth, “The LORD bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor.”

Boaz not only blessed her, he admitted that there was another family member who was a closer relative to her than he was. Boaz was willing to give up Ruth because it was the right thing to do. He acted with integrity and with a heart that blessed before it cursed. Each of us should adopt that kind of heart. As followers of Christ, we should be about blessing instead of cursing, giving instead of receiving, loving instead of judging, and building instead of tearing down. Our light shines brightest when it blesses. Proverbs 11:25 says, “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped” ‭(MSG‬‬).

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Bitter To Blessed

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Each of us have things go wrong in life. Each of us have those periods where it seems nothing can go right. It can get to the point of ridiculousness that all you can do is laugh at how bad things have gotten. There’s also that temptation to just give up because no matter what you do, you fail. In those periods of life our response matters. They can create good things in you like perseverance, patience, endurance, strength or they can bring out the worst like selfishness, resentfulness, anger or bitterness. Our reaction is our choice.

In the book of Ruth, we see the story of Naomi who was Ruth’s mother in law. She had been going through a rough time. Due to circumstances, she had to move her family away from their home. Some time after they arrived in their new country, her husband died and left her to raise two boys.They grew up and married. After ten years of marriage, neither of her sons were able to produce an heir and both of them died. She was left with two daughters in law to care for and no means to do it. She decided to return to her homeland, but knew there wasn’t enough to sustain all of them. She encouraged her daughters in law to stay behind in their land and to remarry. One stayed and one clung to her side and wouldn’t leave.

When they arrived back in her hometown, the people were excited to see her. They asked, “Is that really you, Naomi?” Her response was, “Don’t call me Naomi; call me Bitter… I left here full of life, and God has brought me back with nothing but the clothes on my back. Why would you call me Naomi? God certainly doesn’t.” She allowed her circumstances to make her bitter. She was so bitter that she asked them to call her “Bitter” as her name. She felt like God had abandoned her and that He didn’t even know her name. She felt alone and hurt. I wonder what would have happened to her if Ruth hadn’t made the trip back with her.

The good news is that Ruth saw the bitterness and struggles in her mother in law and refused to leave her. She became a support person for her. It wasn’t long after they arrived back in Naomi’s hometown that Ruth met Boaz. After they were married, God gave them a son. Chapter 4:14 of Ruth says, “The town women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be God! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life.” Naomi loved that baby so much that the neighborhood women started calling him “Naomi’s boy”. His real name was Obed. He would become the grandfather of King David and also part of the lineage of Jesus.

Whatever your circumstances are today, you have a choice to make. Will people call you “Bitter” or will they call you “Blessed”? While Naomi went through a time of bitterness, ultimately everything had to happen that way so that a line of future kings could be born and ultimately our savior. I don’t know what difficulties you’re facing in the present, but I know that God can use them to create an amazing future. Difficult times and periods of life are not without purpose. God has a plan for you and the future of your family. This rough patch is simply getting you into position to change you from bitter to blessed.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

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A Fast Decision

  
As a person who spends a lot of time driving, I’m forced to make a lot of fast decisions. When people suddenly brake, I have to decide to slam on mine or change lanes. I also have another fast decision to make. Do I bless them or curse them? I would love to say that I hand out more blessing than cursing in traffic. The truth is, in those moments, we default to calling the other person a name, yelling at them, gesturing at them, and or using our vehicle to inform them we don’t like their driving.

In the book of Ruth, Boaz had to make a quick decision. He knew who Ruth was and what she had done for Naomi, so he was very kind to her. On one certain night, Naomi told Ruth, “Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do” (Ruth 3:3-4 NLT).

Imagine Boaz sleeping after a hard day’s work and then being woken up by someone pulling the covers off his feet. More than that, he notices it’s a woman. His thoughts may have been, “What if someone sees me laying with a woman?” They could have been, “How dare a servant take my covers!” Whatever they were, when he made a quick decision, it was to bless and not to curse. He told Ruth, “The LORD bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor.”

Boaz not only blessed her, he admitted that there was another family member who was a closer relative to her than he was. Boaz was willing to give up Ruth because it was the right thing to do. He acted with integrity and with a heart that blessed before it cursed. Each of us should adopt that kind of heart. As followers of Christ, we should be about blessing instead of cursing, giving instead of receiving, loving instead of judging, and building instead of tearing down. Our light shines brightest when it blesses. Proverbs 11:25 says, “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped” ‭(MSG‬‬).

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Ruth’s Vow

  
Most every one of us are familiar with Ruth’s vow given in Ruth 1:16-17. Ruth said to Naomi, “Don’t ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried. May the Lord’s worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death separate me from you!” (GNT)

Ruth perfectly demonstrates what it means to leave your father and mother and cleave to your spouse. I know that scripture was for men, but here Ruth does it. When her husband died, she clung to her husband’s family still because she knew that Ruth had no one left in the world. It may have been out of respect for her husband, it may have been done because she didn’t like her parents, or because she truly loved NaomI. I believe it was the last one, but we don’t really know.

No matter what, it’s the depth of her vow that draws us to this story. To me, it’s the same vow and devotion we should enter into with Jesus. In II Corinthians 2:2-4, Paul says that we, the Church, are like a bride engaged to Christ. He doesn’t want us to be a bride like Eve who was deceived and corrupted who will “abandon your full and pure devotion to Christ.” He doesn’t want us to be easily deceived or to turn back to the life we once knew. We are committed to Christ the was a spouse is committed. Jesus deserves our full devotion.

Just as it’s wrong to cheat on your spouse, it’s wrong for us as believers to cheat on Jesus by going back to sinning. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord, you have taken the vow to go where He goes, live where He lives, till death do you part I believe if we as Christians began to show that kind of commitment in our Christianity, we could change the world. If we could leave this world and cleave to Him, the depth of our commitment to our vow to Christ would be just as compelling as the story of Ruth and would draw in those looking for something real.

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Love Takes Risks

One of my favorite love stories in the Bible has to be Ruth and Boaz. When Ruth’s husband died, she left her home and family to stay with her mother in law. She accompanied her back to the land of her people with the famous phrase, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.” When they arrived, Ruth immediately went out to look for a field of grain to work in so they could eat. God led her straight to a field that belonged to Boaz.

In their story, Ruth immediately caught the attention of Boaz. He was impressed with her faithfulness to Naomi. Because of that, he showed her kindness and compassion. He allowed her to stay in the field and to become like one of the women workers. He gave her food to eat and spoke to the other workers to drop grain for her to pick up. Here, Boaz demonstrated that love is kind and seeks what’s best for the other person. He also gave us the example that love provides for the other person’s needs.

In Ruth chapter 3, Naomi instructs Ruth to go lay at the feet of Boaz while he slept. When he woke up around midnight, he was surprised to see a woman laying at his feet. She replied, “I am your servant Ruth. Spread your covering over me, for you are my kinsman redeemer.” His response showed his love. “I will do what is necessary,” he said. Love does what is necessary, not what is expedient. He could have claimed her as his wife or taken advantage of the situation. Instead, he protected her virtue, did what was right and necessary. He showed that love does not act unbecomingly.

The next morning, Boaz went out to the city gate to look for the real kinsman redeemer. When he came through Boaz approached him and told him the situation. The other man said he couldn’t marry Ruth so he gave permission to Boaz. Here Boaz showed that love risks everything. He was willing to let go of Ruth because it was the right thing to do. In releasing her, he opened his hand for God to bless him back. He did what was right in the sight of God and man and acted with integrity. He showed that love doesn’t trap someone, it frees them.

If you are not familiar with their story, Boaz and Ruth got married. They had a son named Obed. When he grew up and married, he had a son named Jesse who had a several sons, one of whom was a shepherd named David. David became the greatest king of Israel. Several generations later, one of his defendants married a woman named Mary who gave birth to a son named Jesus. Because Boaz acted out of love and integrity and risked everything, he became part of the lineage of Christ.

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From Bitter To Blessed

Each of us have things go wrong in life. Each of us have those periods where it seems nothing can go right. It can get to the point of ridiculousness that all you can do is laugh at how bad things have gotten. There’s also that temptation to just give up because no matter what you do, you fail. In those periods of life our response matters. They can create good things in you like perseverance, patience, endurance, strength or they can bring out the worst like selfishness, resentfulness, anger or bitterness. Our reaction is our choice.

In the book of Ruth, we see the story of Naomi who was Ruth’s mother in law. She had been going through a rough time. Due to circumstances, she had to move her family away from their home. Some time after they arrived in their new country, her husband died and left her to raise two boys. They grew up and married. After ten years of marriage, neither of her sons were able to produce an heir and both of them died. She was left with two daughters in law to care for and no means to do it. She decided to return to her homeland, but knew there wasn’t enough to sustain all of them. She encouraged her daughters in law to stay behind in their land and to remarry. One stayed and one clung to her side and wouldn’t leave.

When they arrived back in her hometown, the people were excited to see her. They asked, “Is that really you, Naomi?” Her response was, “Don’t call me Naomi; call me Bitter… I left here full of life, and God has brought me back with nothing but the clothes on my back. Why would you call me Naomi? God certainly doesn’t.” She allowed her circumstances to make her bitter. She was so bitter that she asked them to call her Bitter as her name. She felt like God had abandoned her and that He didn’t even know her name. She felt alone and hurt. I wonder what would have happened to her if Ruth hadn’t made the trip back with her.

The good news is that Ruth saw the bitterness and struggles in her mother in law and refused to leave her. She became a support person for her. It wasn’t long after they arrived back in Naomi’s hometown that Ruth met Boaz. After they were married, God gave them a son. Chapter 4:14 of Ruth says, “The town women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be God! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life.” Naomi loved that baby so much that the neighborhood women started calling him “Naomi’s boy”. His real name was Obed. He would become the grandfather of King David and also part of the lineage of Jesus.

Whatever your circumstances are today, you have a choice to make. Will people call you “Bitter” or will they call you “Blessed”? While Naomi went through a time of bitterness, ultimately everything had to happen that way so that a line of future kings could be born and ultimately our savior. I don’t know what difficulties you’re facing in the present, but I know that God can use them to create an amazing future. Difficult times and periods of life are not without purpose. God has a plan for you and the future of your family. This rough patch is simply getting you into position to change you from bitter to blessed.

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