We just finished the Book of Ruth in our Friday morning study. I love this book. It is a story of suffering, good fortune, blessing, risk taking, resourcefulness and redemption and of course, love – there is a wedding and a baby after all.
In a nutshell, this man, Elimelech, takes his wife, Naomi, and two sons and leaves his home, Bethlehem, to go to another country, Moab, a country that doesn’t follow God. There is a famine in Bethlehem, so he thinks he can do better for himself, in Moab. It doesn’t happen; he dies as does his two sons. Naomi is heartbroken and left with two foreign daughter-in-laws. She decides to go back home to Bethlehem, one of her daughter-in-laws, Ruth, decides to go with her. She wants to take care of Naomi and follow God. Once there, Ruth goes to work, trying to earn a living for her and Naomi. She happens to be working in the field of the wealthy, bachelor, Boaz, who just happens to be a close relative of Elimelech. In that culture, relatives were responsible to redeem (buy back or purchase) the land of those who were struggling with debt or poverty. The next of kin could step in and pay off the debt, marry the widow and carry on the family name. And that is what happens, Boaz agrees to pay off the debt (or buy back the land) of Naomi, marry Ruth and carry on the family name. They have a baby and Naomi goes from heartbroken to lovesick over her new grandson and life becomes rich and full again. The End.
But the end is never the end with God. There is always more to the story. See, Ruth had grown up in a very sinful place. Moab was sin city, a sexually perverse country, actually founded by a fellow conceived through incest by Lot and his daughter, not a good place to be from. And low and behold, we find out down the road that Boaz was the son of Rahab, the harlot, who helped the spies that Joshua had sent out to the city of Jericho. Remember they marched around it for seven days and on the seventh day, seven times, and then the walls fell down. Now that is an interesting plan of attack. See what I mean about always more to the story, with God?
So Ruth from Moab (sin city) marries Boaz (son of a prostitute) and they have a son who is the grandfather of King David, who is the great- great- great to the 28th time, (or thereabouts) grandfather of JESUS! Whoa … how wild is that? God used two women of ill repute, and I’m sure there were many more we don’t know about, to be part of the heritage of his son’s life here on earth.
Many times we find ourselves thinking that God can’t use us because of our past. I want to encourage you today. Don’t let your past dictate your future. God has a plan for you. Twenty years ago, I was Ruth and Rahab rolled into one. I was not living a Godly life. I was gutter girl. Drugs, alcohol and men were pretty much my day to day life. But God picked me up, cleaned me up and set me on his path. He brought Bobby into my life and he gave me a home and a family, and then he drew me close to him and showed me such love and I’ve not been the same since. God changed my heart and my life… and he wants to change yours too!
Food for Thought: Which side of the suffering are you on, still living in the pain of the past or embracing the redemption of his future?
Father, thank you for this story of real life redemption – that you give us examples of people just like us and how we all fit into your perfect plan. Thank you for never giving up on us, even when we are slow to recognize our redeemer. And Lord Jesus, thank you for loving us first.
I love you Jesus.
In Your Name I Pray,
God’s Blessings To You!
My newest book is out now!
Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones
But Words Can Kill My Spirit.
The Lies That Get Stuck Inside.