Sunday, February 23rd, 2014
Lessons From Ruth (Part 1)
Trials And Tribulation
Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion... Then Elimelech, Naomiís husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.
Ruth 1:1-5 (NKJV)
The Book of Ruth is a story of redemption set in the time of Judges. If the Book of Judges revolves around the dismal theme of Israel's moral relativity--leading to its failure, then the Book of Ruth stands as a beacon of moral constancy--leading to her success.
Instead of heroes, we meet two unlikely heroines: Naomi, an older widow from Bethlehem beaten down by her circumstances; and Naomi's daughter-in-law, Ruth, a young widow from the idol-loving nation of Moab.
When God says: 'In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world' (John 16:33); Or...
'Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him' (James 1:12); Or...
'Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing' (James 1:2-4); Or...
'After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you' (1 Peter 5:10)...
We take heart. But it's not easy to believe these Words, and even harder to live Them.
I won't summarize the story of Ruth. I encourage you to go directly to God's Word.* Besides, It's an easy read. But here's a two-sentence preview: Naomi loses everything, and Ruth gives up everything--to follow a leader she loves more than her life, family, culture or nation. Trials become triumph.
Before anyone on earth knew Jesus, Ruth lived His Words: 'If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple' (Luke 14:26).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: can you act like Ruth? Can you look beyond yourself? Can you see beyond your trials to the triumph that awaits? Can you give up the comforts of home to follow Jesus?
Because what you consider a safe life isn't safe at all. Not to follow the call of God is a far greater risk, 'For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God' (1 Corinthians 3:19).
To Be Continued...
* The Book of Ruth: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ruth+1-4&version=NASB
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Lessons From Ruth series.