“But Naomi replied, "Return home, my daughters. Why do you want to go with me? Am I able to have any more sons in my womb who could become your husbands?” Ruth 1:11 HCSB
The account of Ruth and Naomi used to be quoted often in Christian wedding ceremonies. The scripture used in the actual ceremony is Ruth’s declaration to go wherever her mother-in-law went and experience the life that God had set before them together. Truth is, what both Naomi and her daughter-in-laws faced was a hopeless situation in the times they lived. Orpah chose to heed her mother-in-law’s counsel, wept, kissed her goodbye, and returned to her people. Ruth determined to stay with her mother-in-law. What Ruth and Naomi faced together offered very little hope, returning to Naomi’s people – in their circumstances – promised them the potential for very little provision.
In 21st Century North America, we do not understand the circumstances of this account because it is foreign to our way of life. Naomi and Ruth both faced a hopeless situation, but at least Naomi was returning to her people. Ruth was placing herself in foreign territory and the consequences could have been far different from the story we know. What did she face?
With that, Naomi said no more and she returned to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law from Moab. Perhaps there was some degree of “protection” for Ruth in the presence of her mother-in-law as long as she was alive. But we do not understand the consequences of a foreigner with no provision in the culture of that day.
Henry Blackaby would describe what was before Ruth as a “crisis of belief.” Have you described your crisis of belief to God? Do you have faith to go even when the prospects look dim and darker? Today, each of us needs to listen to that inner voice and be obedient to God, no matter the circumstances of our lives.
I love the “rest of the story.” We know the immediate provision as Ruth gleaned the fields and encountered, and found that kinsmen redeemer in Boaz. But through that provision in her life, we have the provision of our own kinsmen redeemer in the person of Jesus. If you are not familiar with the full account, simply understand this – Ruth (this woman of another race and culture) and significantly placed her in His redemptive story. She was the wife of Boaz, mother to Obed, grandmother to Jesse who was the father of King David. From the house and lineage of David, we have our redeemer, Jesus the Christ.
What seemed like a bleak and hopeless future was in God’s plan from the beginning. Her love, faithfulness, and obedience “paid off.” We need to learn from the lessons of her life and take our circumstances, our “crisis of belief” to God, and TRUST Him to provide ALL that we need.
“For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb….And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as of yet there was not one.” Psalm 139: 13, 16b, NASB
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” Jeremiah 1: 5a, NASB
“I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life.” 1 Samuel 1:11, HCSB
In 1 Samuel we see that Samuel grew up knowing he was born for a unique purpose. Before we move on from that statement, let us UNDERSTAND that each of us was born for a unique purpose! The birth of Samuel itself had been an answer to his mother's impassioned prayers.
We know the story, Hannah prayed that God would give her a child. She further prayed that if God gave her a son, she would dedicate him to God. Samuel did have a choice in how he lived, but he wisely chose to follow the path that God set out for him. Samuel lived his entire life secure in the knowledge that God had created him for a purpose. As I stated previously, each of us have been created by God for a unique purpose. Like Samuel, we can be sure that our life has great meaning. God created you intentionally--not accidentally! God has a purpose for you.
In a recent devotional regarding Hannah’s prayer, I read this statement: “You're probably unaware of just how many prayers God has heard with your name attached to them. Long before you were born, godly ancestors may have been praying that their children and grandchildren would trust and follow God. Even if your parents aren't Christians, you may have no idea how many times others have prayed specifically for you.” Meditate on that thought for a moment and that in itself provides comfort and strength to follow Him.
When I read that statement, I thought of John 17 where Jesus Himself prayed for us. If you have not read John 17 as our Lord’s prayer for you, then I encourage you to read through it slowly. As you read, think on the specific things Jesus asks the Father on YOUR behalf.
The scriptures I listed above give clarity to a truth about each of us. We are not insignificant to God! God has had His hand on you from the very beginning. In fact, BEFORE you were formed in the womb He had a plan and a purpose for YOU. You matter a great deal to Him, and He still has much that He wants to do in your life and through your life if you will allow Him.
Take time today to celebrate your uniqueness that God has created in you. Thank God, for the people who have faithfully prayed for you over the years. Praise God answering those prayers and for making you His from the very beginning. Isn’t that comforting, from the very beginning we belonged to God. When we choose to live for Him and follow His path as Samuel did, we are much more secure in our walk with Him and fulfilled with our lives.
Associational Missions Strategist at Tar River Baptist Association since November, 2000. Called of God to work with member churches to strengthen the local church in its efforts to impact lostness in THIS generation! I will ATTEMPT to add to this blog almost daily. People are free to use the ideas shared in any way they wish. The purpose of the posts are merely to help us in our search to BE the people God is calling us to BE in Him!