We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Bruce Sampson.
Ruth 1:1-181 In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3 But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, 5 and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. 6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. 7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. 15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
Everyone loves a good underdog story. The ones where the main characters are put up in seemingly impossible situations with no hope of success. It’s not until after a series of unfortunate events that later the main character finally gets to put on the Notre Dame Jersey in the final play, sacking the quarterback from Georgia Tech to celebrate in victory on top of the shoulders of their teammates carrying them around the stadium. If you haven’t seen the movie Rudy that I just referenced, I highly suggest you go watch it.
Ruth is a similar story in the Bible in that it begins with a tragedy and ends in hope. The book of Ruth opens up, “In the days when the judges ruled,” highlighting to the reader the bleak history of Israel’s failed commitment to follow in God’s commands, forsaking the call to represent to the world a faithful people under God. The story centers around the main character Naomi who loses her husband and two sons as a refugee in a foreign land and is forced to return back to her home without any hope of having any children to carry on her legacy. It was only her daughter-in-law Ruth that decided to stay by her side until the very end.
Although we might live our lives like we are main characters on the center stage, we would rather not have the tragedy that comes with the stories we see. It’s easier to have strength in the times when we are stable but what happens when our strength is sapped by opposition? God reveals to us how He works through the everyday circumstances of our lives just like He did in the book of Ruth.
I know I already spoiled the movie Rudy for you, but giving you a glimpse at what God had in mind for Naomi, Ruth, and ultimately us all can bring us hope for today. You see, the opposition we all face today is the reality that sin brings pain our way regardless of who we are or if we were the ones intending harm or victims of a tragedy. God foreknew the suffering we face today because of sin and allowed a son to be born through Ruth’s family line that would one day be Jesus Christ our savior.
We can have strength through suffering because of Jesus who suffered in our place. Because of Jesus we can know a transformed life through experiencing the depth of His love for us that gives us the strength to overcome the sin in our lives. Let us hold on to the hope that God is in the midst of our story today working out His plans for our good just like He has done before.
Thank you Jesus for suffering like us so that we could know the love that you have for us. Holy Spirit, give me the strength to admit my weaknesses to You or to a trusted friend in order to find healing in comfort. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Read the book of Ruth (it’s only 4 chapters!).
Who can you comfort today in suffering like Ruth did for Naomi?
If you are in need, who can you reach out to and ask for prayer or help?
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