Read Ruth 1 v 11-18
- - What do they decide? Does Ruth's choice surprise you?
- - What would the Moabitess Ruth have to face by going to Israel with Naomi?
Seven times in chapter 1 God is called "the LORD," "Yahweh"--the name that reminds Israel of His covenant love and loyalty to them.
- - How does Ruth show LORD-like covenant love towards Naomi?
By going with Naomi, Ruth faces continuing widowhood, prejudice as a foreigner, vulnerability to exploitation and violence, dependence on charity and the responsibility of caring for her downcast mother-in-law. Ruth shows love and loyalty to Naomi at great cost to herself. That's covenant love, shown most clearly as God gives up His own Son to death because He loves His people.
Read verses 19-22
- - How does Naomi describe what has happened to her (v 20-21)?
- - Who does Naomi blame her "misfortune" on? Is she right to do this, do you think?
"Bitter"..."empty"..."afflicted" ... These are the words that Naomi uses to describe her life on her return to Bethlehem. It's unclear whether she views this as God's judgment or unjust betrayal. Calling herself Mara ("bitter") might suggest that she resents God's action, but it could also describe her situation rather than her attitude. "The Lord has afflicted me" (v 21) means "The Lord has testified against me," suggesting she recognizes the justice of God's judgment. What is clear is that she sees her circumstances as the work of "the Almighty" God (v 21).
In times of hardship, despite believing that God controls everything that happens to us, we can fail to trust in His covenant love towards us, and despair over our circumstances. Or, because we know He's in charge, we can become resentful towards Him. We know God is God, but we forget that He is good.
Read Romans 5 v 1-5
- - What should hardship produce in our lives?
- How can we ensure that hardship produces this good fruit in us? Think about the following:
- - Something to remember (v 1)
- - Someone to go to (v 2)
- - Something to look forward to (v 2)
- - Someone to depend on (v 5)
This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.
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