Tag Archives: God’s Will

God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t – Part Two

8 Sep

Continued from August 30

NOTHING BY ACCIDENT

. . . God prepares our way as we struggle day by day, putting one step in front of the other – sometimes not knowing where life is taking us.

As providence would have it, Ruth decided to go and work in the fields to glean the corn so that she and Naomi could eat. She just happened to select a field owned by a well known kinsman of Naomi’s husband named Boaz. One day Boaz saw Ruth gleaning in his field and asked the worker over his servants who she was. When the worker told Boaz it was Ruth, he had already heard what she had done for Naomi. She had proven herself as a notable woman in her deeds – everyone heard about it and then saw it. Boaz recognized that God had recompensed Ruth for all she had done for one of his own and saw that God was rewarding her and covering her with his protection.

Boaz gave instructions to his workers that they were to allow Ruth to continue to glean in his field. He even told them to drop extra corn so that Ruth might pick it up. He commanded them not to rebuke her or send her away. He also ordered them to watch over her and to keep her safe.
Boaz showed much kindness to Ruth for which she was very grateful.

One day, Ruth humbled herself and bowed low before him in thanks and asked him why she had found grace in his eyes. He told her that word had come to him about how she had devoted herself to her mother-in-law since her father-in-law’s death. He also knew she had left her father and her mother and her country to live in a land and people she knew nothing about. Boaz told Ruth that God wanted to repay her for these things and because she had put her trust in God and turned from pagan idols. Then, he told her that he wanted her to stay in his fields, close to his maidens. He wanted to make sure she was protected. This was God’s way of watching over her, again, unknown by Ruth.

When Ruth went home and told Naomi of the day’s events Naomi praised God and told Ruth that Boaz was a near relative who could redeem them. Naomi was a godly, perceptive woman. She wanted to find a home for Ruth and a husband. She wanted Ruth to prosper.

When the harvesting was finished, Boaz went among his workers to the threshing floor where they were winnowing the harvest. There was food and drink and celebrating.

Naomi told Ruth to bathe and perfume herself and change her clothes. She wanted her to put on her best clothes but not to look like a harlot. Naomi then instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor where Boaz would be eating and drinking. She told Ruth to stay out of sight, not to let anyone see her, but to watch and see where Boaz slept. Ruth was to wait until he fell asleep and then go and lift the covers and lie down at his feet. Naomi told Ruth that Boaz would then tell her what to do. Ruth agreed to do everything Naomi told her.

Once again Ruth proves her courage her respect and complete trust in Naomi. Keep in mind that Ruth was from a foreign land. She knew nothing of the customs of Naomi’s people. God’s love continues to draw this young woman and continues to soften her heart. She was not an Israelite. She was a woman from another land. God had forbidden marriage to the pagan women there. It is even believed by some Bible scholars that Naomi’s sons died an early death because they married against God’s will.

This is an amazing act of God’s mercy and grace. God opens His arms to receive everyone. His love drew a pagan woman to Himself through one of His own. He then completely changed her through her hardships and made her into a virtuous woman, worthy of a good husband, a man of stature and wealth. Incredible!

The picture portrayed here is one of extreme proportions. To summarize, the two sons of Naomi sinned against God by taking foreign wives, forbidden women because of their heritage. Then, one of the very same women turned her heart over to God through her commitment and dedication to Naomi, one of God’s own people. God open the door for Ruth to marry into this godly family. How true it is that God’s ways are so much higher than ours!

To Be Continued . . .

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The Rewards of Obedience vs. The Cost of Disobedience

18 May

Obedience Or Rebellion?

1 Sam 15:22-23   22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.” NLT

As God’s children we want to please Him. Our inner struggle is constant though it might not be prominent. There is a undurcurrent within us that we have become accustomed to. I don’t believe it is because we are bad or purposely rebellious. With me it’s more about sometimes not knowing for sure what the right thing is. Of course, many times it is very obvious what is right and what is wrong, but I want to speak to what is buried deep within our hearts at the root of our reasoning.

I have always been a confident person in most areas of my life. Even as a child I was compliant – always wanting to do the right things. To rebel was not in my nature, at least not to the point of being defiant. When I faced decisions that I believed were wrong, I somehow just couldn’t force myself to comply. In the few times I did, I was in constant turmoil until the situation was terminated.

As I am reaching the winter of my life I can see that even though I was unaware of it, God had a plan for me. (He also has one for you!) Here is proof in a few of my favorite Scriptures from Psalms 139, written by King David:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. . .

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.  NIV

Notice starting with verse 13 that God created our inmost being – His eyes saw our unformed body and all our days were ordained for us before one of them came to be! Selah – Pause and calmly think of that.

None of us are here by accident. God made us – He created us with a purpose and He knew today, right now, what you and I would be doing at this very moment. – No words can express the emotion for knowing that.

The Rewards of Obedience

It takes us a while to realize there is more to life that “me.” Seriously? It is human nature from the moment we are born into this world. We spend a lifetime struggling with ourselves vs. the good and the bad.

Recently I had an assignment from God. You might ask “How can you be sure it was from God?” I know because He instructed me clearly to do something I have said at least a million times that I would not do! The interesting thing is that He won’t force me to do it. It won’t even hurt me NOT to do it. In fact, it would be easier for me NOT to do it. After all, I could just chalk it up to “not being sure it was God.” Or, I could just stop thinking about it and move on.

Well, I don’t know about you, but God won’t allow me to do that. It’s that deep, small voice that continually woos me. I can make it go away – at least for a little while. Then, I sense it wooing me again. I then begin to get deliberate in praying about it to make sure I haven’t imagined the entire thing.

God is so good about giving us little sign posts along our journey. If we aren’t sensitive to the Spirit we might not recognize them. We might think “It’s only a coincidence.” God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to counsel us and to lead us into truth. We have the choice as to whether we listen and follow His instruction or to just ignore it until it goes away.

God’s Instruction to Me

That brings me to my main point – My obedience to that still, small voice could be a life changing event for a child of God who is seeking desperately to find a solution to a great problem. My attitude, though I didn’t realize it was wrong, kept me from even considering offering my help. The reason? – I didn’t want to get involved. It was all about me and the price I wasn’t willing to pay to obey God. It wouldn’t really have hurt me, except that I would disappoint God by my disobedience.

No, that’s really not all my disobedience would do. God made it clear to me that to be disobedient could rob someone of a complete change in their life – a life free from hell on earth. I know it sounds drastic. In fact, it is.

Could someone else do it? I don’t know. That’s not the issue. The issue is will I choose to obey or not? Maybe I am the only person that could help. The consequences of my disobedience could be amazingly wonderful or disastrously terrible.

Think about that for a moment. I did. It kept me awake all night asking God if He was really asking me to do something I was adamantly opposed to doing. I’ve missed God before. Not always on purpose but because I am always still evolving (really). I’ve also missed Him out of ignorance of the Scripture or misunderstanding. Sometimes I’m just rebellious. Ugh! It’s hard to even say.

I learned from Charles Stanley that when God is speaking to you and you are struggling with what you think He is saying to you that peace will eventually develop and you will know God is leading you. If that peace does not develop, I call that a “red flag.” There isn’t a deadline that God can’t push back or overcome. Don’t look at the deadlines – look to the God who created you and made you for this day.

Send Me – Yes, No or Maybe?

God was searching for someone to send to His people and Isaiah said:

Isa 6:8  8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me !”
NIV

Have you ever said that? I have, however: I recently discovered that many times my “send me” reply is conditional on  my terms. Goodness! God really has a way to slap us on the wrist, doesn’t He?

I’m hoping you can see that our minds and hearts are so full of the busyness of the world that God’s voice doesn’t always make through to our hearts. It isn’t His fault. It has to do with the condition of our hearts and our natural instinct to rebel. Sorry to have to say it.

The Final Outcome

After struggling with myself and trying to determine whether I had simply lost my resolve or if God was actually trying to get through to me, peace began to develop. Let me add, the peace was in my spirit, not in my head. My mind was spinning with many doubts and questions and concerns about something I had been claiming as impossible for me to do for many years.

But, when I opened my heart and let God – He began to use His sweet Holy Spirit to speak to me in His ways by speaking to me of How Jesus would handle the situation and my purpose for being one of His disciples.

The Future? – What does it hold for this situation? – I don’t know. It’s a little scary. But I know the Creator of the Universe. He made me – formed me from a tiny seed planted within my Mother. He had a plan 69 years ago for what I would do this very day. He’s the One I look to, not the situation I dread. Do I have a plan? No. Do I know what the outcome will be or what will happen along the way? No. Am I nuts? – I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

God has proved Himself to me over and over and over. As I heard from Sunday’s message by Pastor Scott Jones at Grace Church, not all of the amazing miracles and things Jesus did while He was on earth were recorded. I can identify with that because my Father God – My Friend, Jesus – and the Sweet Holy Spirit – are constantly present in my life doing things for me that are too many to count.

He is trustworthy – are you?

 

 

God Speaks (Part 1)

9 Nov

D0Ib5j36RymFSNPX5X1m_darkoceanGod Speaks

One critical point to understanding and experiencing God is knowing clearly when God is speaking. If a Christian does not know when God is speaking, he is in trouble at the heart of his Christian life!

God speaks through the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways. He also speaks through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church or other believers.

Many Different Ways

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets and in other various ways (Heb. 1:1)

One truth that is evident throughout the Bible is that God speaks to His people. In the Old Testament, God spoke through:

Angels
Visions
Dreams
The use of the Urim and Thummin
Symbolic Actions
A Gentle Whisper
Miraculous Signs
And Others

How God spoke in the Old Testament is not the most important factor. The fact THAT He spoke is the crucial point. Those He spoke to KNEW it was God, and they KNEW what He was saying.

2 Tim 3:16-17  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  NKJV

The pattern in Scripture is that God may not tell you all you need to know in the beginning but He will tell you what you need to know to make necessary adjustments and to take the first step of obedience. What is your part?  – To Wait until the Master gives you instructions. That can be really hard because we want to make things  happen.

If you start DOING before you have direction from God, more than likely you will be wrong.  Bible examples: Noah knew the size, type of materials, and how to put the ark together.  When God told Moses about building the tabernacle, He was very specific about the details. When God called Abraham and said, “Go to the land I will show you” – that was not very specific. That required faith. But God said, “I will show you”. God always gives you enough specific instructions to do NOW what He wants you to do.

When you need more directions, He gives you more in His timing. If you do not have specific instructions from God in a matter, pray and wait.  Learn patience. Depend on God’s timing. His timing is always right and best. Don’t get in a hurry. Don’t skip over the relationship to get on with the doing. When we understand spiritual truth, it is because the Holy Spirit is working in our lives..

When we move from the Gospels to Acts and to the present, we quite often change our whole mind-set. We live as if God quit speaking personally to His people. We fail to realize that an encounter with the Holy Spirit is an encounter with God. God clearly spoke to His people in Acts. He clearly speaks to His people today. From Acts to the present, God has been speaking to His people by the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual truths can only be revealed by God. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God . . . No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” I Cor. 2:9-12

Jesus said the Holy Spirit  “Will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

You never discover truth – truth is revealed.  The Holy Spirit reveals truth to you, He knows you personally and He knows how to speak to you so that you understand.

Mos of this was an excerpt from Henry Blackaby’s book “Experiencing God.” I highly recommend it.

Hearing Voices

14 Jul

Recently, Pastor said “How much do you trust the voice who is giving you your marching orders”?  That statement brought so many things to mind. Scripture tells us that Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 NKJV

I’ve heard many people say that they don’t hear God’s voice or that God doesn’t speak to them. John 10:27 tells a different story. If we are born again Christians we are His children, His sheep, and His Word says that we hear His voice.

I like the way Pastor said it – “How much do you trust the voice who is giving you your marching orders”? We hear voices constantly – so much so at times that we can’t rest. Where do they all come from? They are not all God’s voice. We can’t claim that everything we do is directed by God because it isn’t. God’s Word, the Bible, is His Word. To know God’s Word is to know God. Without reading the Bible, we can’t know which voices we are hearing.

We hear voices on the radio, the television, people all around us, our inner thoughts, the devil and the still small voice of God. Even Jesus was tempted by satan as he fasted. Jesus, in turn, spoke the Word of God to Him and told him to flee.

Today the world around us moves so fast. We do our best to keep up, and in doing so we sometimes don’t take the time to consult with the One who was given to us as a counselor – the Holy Spirit of God. We don’t always have to stop everything we’re doing and get on our knees to talk to God although there is a time and place for that.

God is with us all the time, everywhere we go. We can talk to Him on and off all day. We can thank Him as we are blessed, call out to Him when we have a question and need guidance, or seek His knowledge and direction, as needed. He can, and will, give us instant direction if we need it. One of the shortest prayers in the Bible is “Lord, save me.” He hears us, and He knows us.

Sometimes we blame things on God that He didn’t do. We may not have trained ourselves to  focus on what God is saying to us. Listening to God and taking our marching orders from Him will assure that we remain in His perfect will. Ignoring that “red flag” we sometimes sense in our hearts is dangerous and can get us off track which gets us out of the will of God. Following God’s voice sometimes takes courage – especially if it takes us out of our comfort zone, but our comfort zone is not always part of God’s plan for us.

The “red flag” is that little bit of uneasiness we feel when we’re about to do something we shouldn’t do. A feeling that something isn’t just as it should be,  is reason enough to stop and reconsider our actions. The problem can be that we are facing a deadline and time is of the essence, but God isn’t limited by clocks and deadlines. Our trust in Him should be so great that we trust Him to work beyond a deadline. Ignoring His warning can lead to bigger problems.

God always has our best interest at heart. He knows the path we take and can lead us around the pitfalls. Our part is to listen to Him and obey His direction. The fear we feel inside can be transformed by prayer into faith. God looks on our hearts and knows we are doing our best to follow His lead. He is well able to turn things around for us and will do just that as we dedicate ourselves to following Him as He leads us.

God has a divine plan for each one of us. Getting to the finish line will be much faster and less complicated as we let Him lead us rather than take unwanted detours and distractions by following voices other than His.

 

 

Which Way?

24 Feb

In Seeking God’s Will – Paul was an apostle, yet he did not always know the direction God wanted him to take. He took steps, God closed doors, so he waited; and then God showed him the way.  Acts: 6-10 (Everyday Essential Bible Commentary)

We can all relate to this. The problem is sometimes we don’t take steps and/or we don’t wait. I heard our Pastor say “Don’t kick in a door that God may not want opened.”  Some doors need to remain closed. It’s hard for us not to go by what we see. And, in today’s world, we are accustomed to “instant everything”.

God is definitely not behind the times. Yet, He still doesn’t get in a hurry. Some things just cannot be rushed. God’s will should always be foremost in our hearts. That being said, let us not get ahead of God and take matters into our own hands. If we do, we may then be praying for God to rescue us!

Waiting is not easy for most of us. We have so many resources at our fingertips that we sometimes jump off the cliff and then scream out for God to save us on the way down. Selah, pause and calmly think of that.

As hard as it may be to accept, God isn’t as interested in our happiness as He is in our spiritual growth and relationship with  Him. Waiting is a virtue that we may as well adjust to if we truly want God’s best in our lives. God gives the very best to those who wait for Him! If you don’t wait for a cake to be baked – well, you get the picture.

The world moves so quickly around us. At times it just seems like God takes too long! But, friends, God is smarter than we are. He has the advantage of knowing what is ahead of us. He knows just the very moment we should take our next step.

Don’t settle for second best.  His timing is not always the same as yours.  Trust God and follow peace. If a deadline comes and goes, God has a better way. Wait until you have peace within – then take the step God has ordained.  That is the way to walk in God’s perfect will for your life.

Who Will I Be Today?

19 Nov

Scripture tells us that God’s ways are higher than ours. Our imagination doesn’t do justice when it comes to working out the details of our lives and the purposes God has for us. We can’t know just how effective we can be in His hands if we follow His guidance and step out in His courage as He directs us.

Our first concern is usually ourselves. We consider all the ways that our lives will be affected and how we are going to be inconvenienced. We reason and plot, plan and scheme. We don’t mean to be crafty. But we can be.

  • Robert Burns was a poet from Scotland. In his Scottish dialect he said, ” “O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!” Or simply,  “I wish for a power to give us this gift: Being able to see ourselves the way other people see us.” (Wikiquote)

Each of us sees ourselves differently than others do. We wear many masks. We want others to like us and to accept us, so we have become adept at changing those masks as needed. We work so  hard at being what others want us to be that we do not become all that God intended. We rest secure in our own decisions instead of yielding to His direction for our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I have an idea of how I want my life to be. I set my goals and work hard at achieving them. If something comes up to  interfere with my preconceived ideas, it upsets me – or, it used to. I  have discovered that God’s ways are always so superior to mine. I have to bury my flesh, my emotions, my “rights”, my will. It’s called FAITH.

God sees potential in all of us. He knows our limits. He uses all the pain and failures in our lives to train us. We don’t pass through our trials and tribulations for no reason. Even if we have brought them upon ourselves! God can use everything that is meant for our destruction as a gift to someone who needs us to understand what is happening in their lives. They need someone who has received God’s grace and mercy to show them that same grace and mercy.

No experience is wasted. We need one another. We should sometimes forget the awkwardness we are subject to or the inconvenience of the disruption in our lives – if God has a task for us that is not exactly what we had made room for in our goal setting.

We should always be available to God if we truly want Him to use us as His disciples. We must look beyond our own comfortable surroundings and yield to His call – whatever it might be.

It’s Never Too Late

1 Jun

OK, I just couldn’t wait to point out some more interesting things about the story of Ruth.

The main thing is that this story should definitely let everyone know that no matter what our situation – no matter how much we may have messed up – it is NEVER too late for us to turn to God. We may not know we need to – Ruth didn’t. He will lead us out of our sin and into His amazing promised life. No, it won’t be a life without problems or bumps in the road – but if we will not get in such a hurry, He will show us how to straighten out those curves in the road.

We may not know how to get out of our mess! God knows. He doesn’t expect us to jump from one frying pan on the fire to another. He just wants us to recognize where we are and look to Him for answers. Remember, God isn’t a “microwave” God. It’s okay with Him that things don’t change in an instant. When His word tells us that “All things work together for good for those called according to His purpose” – nobody knows better than He does that it takes precious time for things to work out. Otherwise, we may jump from one mess to a bigger mess!

I also think that some of us believe that when we finally decide to “follow God” we have to “do something” – like some sort of event must take place. Not so. God just wants us to live our lives, acknowledging Him. That means we turn to Him with every decision and ask Him about it. That may involve searching His Scriptures, or seeking wise (Christian) counsel. When God knows our desire is to please Him, He will move mountains in our behalf. But, it is usually not in a big, attention drawing way. It is our daily step by step walking – in our daily choices. The hardest part is to move with focus, keeping our emotions under control.

Consider Ruth. She left all she knew. That was very drastic but she knew in her heart that with her new family she had witnessed the love of the living God. Oh, I’m sure she didn’t realize that at the time. She just knew that in the midst of her new family, things were different. She felt the love and compassion – the fruit of the Spirit. She knew she wanted more of it. It was different enough to cause her to leave all she was familiar with.

When you read and meditate on this story of Ruth, you see that her way was not easy. She didn’t take charge. She followed Naomi, meekly. She was first of all, a servant, which is what Scripture tells us that all followers of Christ must be. She respected the position of the older Naomi. She wasn’t afraid to work – to humble herself. Ruth died to her emotions – her fear and anxiety. She listened to her wise mother-in-law and followed her instructions. Ruth didn’t pretend that she knew more and that she had better ways to do things.

Well, guess I have to stop for now. I just see so much in this story that will encourage those who feel that they are in too deep – that there is no way out. God has an answer for that. Stay tuned.

Boaz, The Son of a Harlot, Ruth, a Pagan – Brought Together by God and Became Part of the Lineage of Jesus Christ!

1 Jun

Continued . . .

How great is our God! He took ordinary people – sinners – saved them and turned their lives around and made them part of the lineage of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and King!

So, we find Ruth under the blanket, at the feet of a strange man. She did not sleep, she waited. It must have seemed a long time to Ruth. Finally, Boaz was startled and woke up! He asked who was there. Ruth replied, giving her name, and announcing she was his servant girl. She requested that he spread his cover over her. She told him she was a relative and reminded him that he was supposed to take care of her. The more we learn about Ruth, the braver she seems to get! Obedience certainly takes courage.

“Boaz was an older man, possibly a leader in the city. Naomi was certain that he would do the right thing and redeem her as was the custom of the day. If there was anything improper about this action, the fault must lie upon Naomi. . who knew or should know, the laws of Israel better than Ruth. It is true that Boaz, being near of kin to Naomi’s oldest son, and then nearest of all now alive, was obliged by the divine law to marry the widow of Mahlon, who was the eldest son of Elimelech, and was dead. Her coming to lie down at his feet, when he was asleep had such an appearance of evil. . . It is dangerous to bring the spark and tinder together; she (Naomi) knew Boaz to be not only an old man, but a grave sober man, a virtuous and religious man, and one that feared God.” (Bible Commentary)

Just imagine what God can do with one so dedicated and obedient. Here we are today, a couple of thousand years later, reading about a young woman born into a pagan land, submitting herself to one of God’s own and reaping such a mighty reward, here on this earth, in her lifetime – -God’s grace – His mercy – His blessing! Amazing!

Boaz blessed her! Wow! He realized Ruth was once again being obedient to Naomi by being there. He told Ruth he thought this was the greatest kindness that she had shown Naomi even from the beginning. Boaz was so intuitive. He told Ruth of his respect for her because she had not sought after a husband to marry, either rich or poor. Even more amazing, Boaz told Ruth he would do all she asked. He went so far as to tell her that all the people in their town knew she was a good woman. Then he then told Ruth that there was another kinsmen who was a closer relative than he. This meant there was a problem. Well, isn’t that the way life is?

This was an open door for doubt and unbelief to come in. We all face this in our daily lives. Many give up at this point and begin to murmur and complain. But, we can look back at how the path God had prepared for Ruth and know that He is still in control. His plan is still in operation. This is just a slight detour.

Boaz told Ruth not to be afraid. He told her of his plan to go to the other relative to see if he would take care of Ruth and if he refused, Boaz would do it. He then told her to stay there until morning. Ruth slept at his feet, not at his side, and got up just before daylight while it was still too dark for anyone to recognize her. “But as soon as the day broke, that she had light to go home by, she got away, before one could know another, that, if she were saying, yet she might not be known to be abroad soul unseasonably. She was not shy of being known to be a gleaner in the field, nor ashamed of that mark at her poverty. But she would not willingly be known to be a night walker, for her virtue was her greatest honor, and that what she most valued”. (Bible Commentary)

Ruth returned to her mother-in-law and told her what happened. Naomi advised Ruth to “wait”. She said that Boaz would not rest until he took care of the matter. And, as Naomi predicted, Boaz went to the city gate and waited there until the other close relative passed by. Boaz invited him to come and talk. He also gathered ten of the older leaders of the city as witnesses and told them about Naomi’s return to Bethlehem from Moab. He told the men that Naomi wanted to sell the piece of land that belonged to their relative, Elimelech. He offered the nearest relative the opportunity to buy the land and asked for an answer. The other relative said he would buy back the land. Goodness, another bump in the road of God’s plan. To be expected – right?

Boaz continued to explain that if he (the nearest relative) purchased the land from Naomi he must marry Ruth, the Moabite. That meant the land would stay in the name of Naomi’s son, which was customary in that day.

This changed everything! The close relative said he could not buy the land because it might interfere with what he could pass on to his own sons. So he told Boaz to buy it himself. Finally!

We all face bumps in the road as we wait upon God. Many times we give up – or take matters into our own hands. We live in a world where most things we want are instant, so waiting on God is not easy for any of us. But, the Scripture tells us that “Good things come to those who wait”.

So, Boaz declared to the older leaders that they were witnesses as to his purchasing from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons. He also announced that he was taking Ruth, the Moabite, as his wife so that her property would stay in his name and not be separated from his family. The older leaders testified to their witness of Boaz’s claim and blessed Boaz and Ruth.

So Boaz took Ruth as his wife. They had a son and Naomi was praised by the people of her town. They all gave credit to the faithfulness of Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, who loved her. The child’s name was given to him by the people of the town. They call him Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of David from whom our Lord Jesus descended.

To make this story even more amazing, Boaz was the son of Rahab. Just think about it. Rahab was a harlot. God saved her and blessed her and she became a part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. And Boaz, born to Rahab, a fine man of God married a Moabite woman, called “strange” in that day due to her heritage. Yet, God saved her and brought her together with Boaz. Together they brought forth a son and became a part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. “Ruth is hereby brought in among the ancestors of David and Christ, which was the greatest honor. The genealogy is here drawn from Pharez, through Boaz and Obed, to David, and so leads towards the Messiah, and therefore it is not an endless genealogy”. (Bible Commentary)

Only God – – -only God – – -could bring about such an amazing, miraculous plan. As we were promised in the beginning of this story, “all things worked together to those who loved God. . .”

This is not the end of Ruth’s story – it’s a new beginning!

Nothing By Accident

30 May

Continued . . . God prepares our way as we struggle day by day, putting one step in front of the other – sometimes not knowing where life is taking us.

As providence would have it, Ruth decided to go and work in the fields to glean the corn so that she and Naomi could eat. She just happened to select a field owned by a well known kinsman of Naomi’s husband named Boaz. One day Boaz saw Ruth gleaning in his field and asked the worker over his servants who she was. When the worker told Boaz it was Ruth, he had already heard what she had done for Naomi. She had proven herself as a notable woman in her deeds – everyone heard about it and then saw it. Boaz recognized that God had recompensed Ruth for all she had done for one of his own and saw that God was rewarding her and covering her with his protection.

Boaz gave instructions to his workers that they were to allow Ruth to continue to glean in his field. He even told them to drop extra corn so that Ruth might pick it up. He commanded them not to rebuke her or send her away. He also ordered them to watch over her and to keep her safe.
Boaz showed much kindness to Ruth for which she was very grateful.

One day, Ruth humbled herself and bowed low before him in thanks and asked him why she had found grace in his eyes. He told her that word had come to him about how she had devoted herself to her mother-in-law since her father-in-law’s death. He also knew she had left her father and her mother and her country to live in a land and people she knew nothing about. Boaz told Ruth that God wanted to repay her for these things and because she had put her trust in God and turned from pagan idols. Then, he told her that he wanted her to stay in his fields, close to his maidens. He wanted to make sure she was protected. This was God’s way of watching over her, again, unknown by Ruth.

When Ruth went home and told Naomi of the day’s events Naomi praised God and told Ruth that Boaz was a near relative who could redeem them. Naomi was a godly, perceptive woman. She wanted to find a home for Ruth and a husband. She wanted Ruth to prosper.

When the harvesting was finished, Boaz went among his workers to the threshing floor where they were winnowing the harvest. There was food and drink and celebrating.

Naomi told Ruth to bathe and perfume herself and change her clothes. She wanted her to put on her best clothes but not to look like a harlot. Naomi then instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor where Boaz would be eating and drinking. She told Ruth to stay out of sight, not to let anyone see her, but to watch and see where Boaz slept. Ruth was to wait until he fell asleep and then go and lift the covers and lie down at his feet. Naomi told Ruth that Boaz would then tell her what to do. Ruth agreed to do everything Naomi told her.

Once again Ruth proves her courage her respect and complete trust in Naomi. Keep in mind that Ruth was from a foreign land. She knew nothing of the customs of Naomi’s people. God’s love continues to draw this young woman and continues to soften her heart. She was not an Israelite. She was a woman from another land. God had forbidden marriage to the pagan women there. It is even believed by some Bible scholars that Naomi’s sons died an early death because they married against God’s will.

This is an amazing act of God’s mercy and grace. God opens His arms to receive everyone. His love drew a pagan woman to Himself through one of His own. He then completely changed her through her hardships and made her into a virtuous woman, worthy of a good husband, a man of stature and wealth. Incredible!

The picture portrayed here is one of extreme proportions. To summarize, the two sons of Naomi sinned against God by taking foreign wives, forbidden women because of their heritage. Then, one of the very same women turned her heart over to God through her commitment and dedication to Naomi, one of God’s own people. God open the door for Ruth to marry into this godly family. How true it is that God’s ways are so much higher than ours!

To Be Continued . . .

God Knows Where You Are Going . . . Even If You Don’t!

29 May

We continue with the story of Ruth and Naomi.

What a testimony of Ruth’s dedication and selflessness. How difficult it must have been for her. She was already grieving the loss of her husband. She knew she would never see her country or her family again. It’s hard to even imagine. God is working behind the scene – He has a plan. The outcome was not known to Ruth or to us in our lives, but it is known by God–planned by Him! Wow!

At this point we really begin to see who Ruth is – who God made her to be. She probably didn’t even know herself until she was tested and tried. That’s God for you!

A major part of what Ruth was dedicating herself to was the care of her mother-in-law. That in itself was a really big challenge. These women had nothing. At one time in her life, Naomi was well known, her husband owned land but He mortgaged it all to move his family to Moab. Naomi and Ruth were returning to Bethlehem with no idea of where they would live or how they would provide for themselves. It must have also been difficult for Naomi, knowing she would have to face all her friends and family. She was now ashamed of her life so much so that she wanted to change her name.

Ruth was up to the challenge. Her heart and soul were now rich with integrity and morality. She was full of compassion. She had a sense of duty and responsibility beyond measure. Ruth did not let the pain in her heart cheat her. She refused to give a prominent place to it. Ruth did not bask in her grievous situation. She did not give in to the things in her life that could have claimed her and doomed her to a life of condemnation. Neither did Ruth feel that she had been treated unfairly or concern herself just with her own needs. She placed the needs of Naomi above her own. Ruth tamed her own emotions and stepped up to the challenge that providence had awarded her.

There is nothing written to even suggest that Ruth felt sorry for herself or asked anything for herself. Her focus was on the protection and care of Naomi, her husband’s mother. How proud he would have been of his wife, knowing his mother was completely alone, in a foreign country and had no one else to care for her.

Ruth’s future at this stage of her life was completely unknown an unpredictable. She did not allow her losses to ruin her life or set her back. Little did she know what a great future God had planned for her!

When Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem it was just in time for barley harvest. Naomi was well known there. Her return stirred everyone. They could not believe the change that had occurred in her life. They also saw how dedicated Ruth was to Naomi and how yielded Ruth was in her submissiveness to Naomi, putting her well being above all else. Ruth humbled herself. She was willing to work as a servant to provide for Naomi. She did not think herself too good to work hard.

The entire city knew Ruth was a virtuous woman. Constant! That is the word used to describe Ruth. A powerful word! A powerful personality trait! Not wavering – not confused – unwavering, unwilling to give in to her grief, the pain the hardship and the responsibilities that had beset her. In a word, Ruth refused to give in to the many hardships that were trying to rob her of all the good that she had become accustomed to.

To Be Continued . . . .

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