Monday, February 24th, 2014
Lessons From Ruth (Part 2)
Naomi's Excellent Witness
Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, 'Go, return each to her motherís house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.'
Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And she said, 'Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.'
Ruth 1:7-9,14-15 (NKJV)
Actors, models and talent for Christ, consider the most important role of your life: a witness of Jesus in a land full of idols. What's the best way to play this part? Study Naomi:
She moved to the pagan nation of Moab as a poor newcomer without status, and she lived there for at least ten years. During that time, she performed in the roles God gave her: wife, homemaker, mother and widow in a strange land at a strange time.
The nation of Moab was founded by Lot's son (Moab), who was conceived in trickery and shame. Even so, Moab was a distant cousin to Israel by way of Abraham. In Naomi's time, the Moabites worshipped foreign gods in despicable ways. Israel wasn't much better. God's chosen people sold themselves in dirty deals of their own.
Naomi was one who did not. We conclude she acted exceedingly well, because she won the love and respect of her Moabite daughters-in-law--especially Ruth. When both of their husbands died (Naomi's sons) and Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, they wanted to go with her.
In this regard, consider Naomi's words and actions carefully: 1) Naomi loved these young women more than herself. She valued their welfare above her own. She encouraged them to return to their families and start over in the place they knew.
2) Naomi blessed them and commended their behavior to her and her sons. She asked God to find them new husbands. 3) She spoke in a respectful way of their gods--neither denouncing their idols nor their culture.
I find Naomi's conduct remarkable--so remarkable that one daughter-in-law, Ruth, could not bear to leave her. Ruth saw God in Naomi. Ruth saw a better way. She chose to leave everyone and everything behind in order to follow Naomi--and Naomi's God.
Can one witness change the world? Yes! Naomi's only known 'conversion' was Ruth, but Ruth became the great-grandmother of David: one of five women named in the lineage of Jesus. So how many people did Naomi's witness really affect? Countless, including us.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: witness Jesus by your actions in the foreign land of entertainment. Don't denounce its gods. Instead, announce your God--by your absolutely remarkable behavior.
Days will come when you will be asked the reason for the Hope you carry. Stay close to your Answer. In the mean time, act like Naomi who acted like Jesus in a time strangely similar to our own--a time when darkness covers the earth and deep darkness its peoples.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Lessons From Ruth series.