Posted by: arieliondotcom | March 14, 2013

Sanctified Seeds. (Ruth 1)

Today we reach an oasis in the desert. We just got through with the Book of Judges where everyone was choosing evil and calling it good. It was like a desert with little signs of good, and those few and far between. But today, with the Book of Ruth, we find that even when most of the culture was dedicated to evil, there were islands of goodness. And the boundaries of that oasis of goodness was love for GOD. Until now we’ve emphasized the goodness of GOD but because GOD is good those choosing to live under His influence radiate His goodness and refresh those around them. That theme of the influence of love for others based on GOD’s love for us is the theme of the Book of Ruth. And in today’s passage we see this theme planted.

Hebrew commentators say that the Jewish man Elimelech was evil. His name means “My GOD is King”, but with no king or ruler in Israel during the time of the Book of Judges he didn’t turn to GOD. Instead he went to the enemies of Israel to stay alive in a famine. The commentators say this wasn’t so much for his family’s sake but because he wanted to keep what wealth he had and was bothered by those who came begging. So he went to enemy territory and set himself up there. And we know that there must be some truth to this because he went with Naomi his wife and two sons. He died and his two sons married foreign women but Naomi was well off enough not to remarry with no other support, unheard of for women. Then her two sons died as well so she decides to return to Israel.

The book is named after Ruth but the real star of the show is Naomi. Think what kind of woman this is! We read that she wants to return to her homeland of Israel, probably to die. Her two daughters in law follow her but she tells them to go back to their own land. This is significant because their reactions show what kind of person she is. Both of them have come to love her. There in the middle of enemy territory she has remained faithful to GOD and they have seen GOD through her. Yet thinking she was near death, wanting no more than death, she releases them from any loyalty to her. She even tells them to return to the gods that were familiar to them, and the weaker one does. Like so many who say they follow Christ, but as JESUS will say many years later whose heart is not really for Him, one of them returns to her old life. But not Ruth. She has seen GOD more clearly through Naomi.

Naomi’s name meant “My Delight” but her life was anything but delightful. She left the land she loved in obedience to what seems to be an evil husband not knowing where they were headed. She raises two boys alone. She gets them married off. She survives them both dying. And in all that she has been such a delight to her daughters in law that they beg to be with her. In Ruth’s case she has fallen so much in love with the GOD of Naomi that nothing in her former life can satisfy her. Not family or friends or idols. She shows in her dedication speech that Naomi has taught her what following the Law of GOD meant. And she wants that GOD rather than living as she pleased in the old life. There are hints later that Ruth was an attractive woman. But she gave up virtually guaranteed security with a husband and children in her own land because Naomi had made following the true GOD, with all the hardships that entailed, more attractive.

Naomi had been planting sanctified seeds in the life of Ruth all the while but Naomi didn’t even realize it. And as a result, faith took root in Ruth’s heart. Naomi is depressed, she may even think ahe’s dying. But she never chooses an idol. She never forgets the Law but continues to follow and teach it. She always stays faithful that it is GOD Whom she follows, though she thinks He’s judging her. It is His Land and among His people where she wants to live and die. And for love of Naomi Ruth wants the same and leaves everything else behind.

If Christ is in you, the seeds of His loving sacrificial Life will drop like seeds from a bird’s beak from your mouth and take root in other lives. Ruth 1

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