A Transforming Commitment
Most Holy God, grant me grace to listen, patience to wait, and strength to continue. I bless Your wonderful name.
Read Ruth 1:1-18
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“Sow a thought and you reap an act. Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny” (unknown). Some decisions lead to amazing destinies!
On a road in Moab, 50 miles or so from Bethlehem, Naomi is bereft, the loss of husband and sons made worse by the barrenness of her two daughters-in-law. Her family has come to an end with no male heir to carry on the name and work the family land. Famine had driven her to exile in Moab; the end of famine leads her home. The two Moabite women, bound to her by marriage vows, set out with her into their own exile.
Then the story changes. In an act of lovingkindness, Naomi praises her daughters for their kindness, frees them from their commitment to her, praying that the Lord will show them kindness, and sends them back to their own people and the possibility of marriage. She offers them a future, instead of widowhood and exile. The bitterness of her situation does not lead her to acts of bitterness. Then, Ruth changes the story again.
Ruth makes an unconditional, freely made, transforming, spoken commitment. Using the name of God, the Lord (17), Ruth commits herself to Naomi, to the land and people of God, and to God himself. Those who listened to this tale in later years knew the outcome. They knew that Ruth was, unknowingly, aligning herself with the purposes of God. She would find blessing and honor, but now she offers herself freely to her mother-in-law. She knew that the journey was long, that the people of Israel were generally hostile to Moabites (Deut. 23:3 says, “No … Moabite … may enter the assembly of the Lord.”), and that barren widows were usually poor and unwanted. This is the moment when Naomi’s future begins to be transformed, when bitterness is softened by lovingkindness, but she will take time to realize the gift the Lord has given her in Ruth.
Pray that the Lord will show you where, in any of your relationships, you need to turn duty and obligation into love that is freely given.
Lord, I need to trust You when tough decisions have to be made. I thank You that You take seemingly ominous circumstances and turn them around for good.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.