صيادي الناس

Message from the Monthly Flyer October 2019

RUTH – Part 6 – Faithful in life and in death

Ruth 1:12-18 KJV - „Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.“

In this passage Naomi the Israelite is trying to convince her daughters-in-law to return to their respective families in Moab. After the death of her husband Elimelech, followed by the death of her two sons Machlon and Kiljon, Naomi had decided to go back to Bethlehem. Her daughters in law Ruth and Orpah had developed a true affection for Naomi throughout the years, and they were willing to go with her to Bethlehem where God had blessed His people with bread. Naomi loved Orpah and Ruth and in her plea, she tried to let them understand that they are still young and can still remarry. Why would they want to follow Naomi in a strange land where they would be taxed as idol worshipers and suffer rejection? The best thing they could do was to return each one of them to their own family, to their customs, to their people and to their gods. Life had been harsh for them by taking away their husbands, way too early. So, instead of taking the risk of facing more painful experiences in a foreign land, it was better for them to return in their own country where they would not be considered as strangers, and could start a new life without much stress and with more hope for a better future.

Naomi and her daughters in law Ruth and Orpah had lived together long enough to develop strong bounds of love and trust. These Moabite women had been faithful to their husbands even after they had deceased. Their love and attachment for Naomi had become stronger as the years passed by because Naomi also treated them with love and respect. They had had enough time to talk about the issues of life, their pains, their hopes, their fears, their dreams. They had shared a lot of memories of the past together. They had laughed and they had cried together as they shared the secrets of their hearts with each other. During the difficult times after the death of Kiljon and Machlon, the three widows had managed to care for each other and sustain the household the best way they could. Not only that, Ruth and Orpah had learned from Naomi how to be a virtuous woman. Because she was a worshiper of the only true and living God, Naomi taught her daughters-in-law the fear and the knowledge of God. Many times, they had heard Naomi praying in her closet and pouring her wounded heart to God. This was something new for Ruth and Orpah who were accustomed with idol worship and children sacrifice to the false gods moloch and kemosh. And little by little they started feeling attracted by this unknow and invisible God who was always there to care for and watch over them. The strong faith of Naomi had awakened their curiosity and they had had the opportunity to learn more about this invisible God who is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, this God who never fails and carries His people in His arms in times of danger. Little by little they had opened their hearts and their understanding to know Him better and to trust Him in every situation.

Now, Naomi had decided to go back home. Orpah and Ruth loved her so much and did not want to let her go alone. But Naomi tried to find the words to convince them to go back to their people and start afresh. The moment had come where the determination of the Moabite women was going to be tested. The time to say goodbye is always very painful and can be very emotional, especially when you don’t know if you will ever meet each other again on this earth. Such a time had come for Naomi, Orpah and Ruth. They started together on the way to Bethlehem but Naomi’s heart was not at peace. She didn’t want to be selfish by dragging these young ladies into a foreign land where they could suffer persecution just because she was old and needed someone to be at her side all the time and care for her. She decided that is was the right thing to insist that they should return. And this is the point where the extraordinary nature and heart of the woman called Ruth was revealed. Naomi started with a heartfelt and sincere plaidoyer to make Ruth and Orpah change their mind. Orpah decided that after all, as much as she loved Naomi, it was wiser for her to go back in her sphere of security where she would not have to learn many news things. She decided to go back in the comfort of a well-known environment. She decided that Naomi had been loving, kind, good to her and an excellent mother-in-law who taught her many things about life, but she could not see what the future held for her in Bethlehem. She could not portray herself in a strange land where they worshiped an invisible God. At least she could identify with the customs that she had grown up with from her young age. Thus she decided to go back to Moab.

During the time that Naomi had lived with her daughters-in-law, she had planted a seed in the lives of these young women and the time of the departure from Moab was going to reveal whether the seed had fallen on a fertile ground or not. The breaking point always reveals the resistance of the material. The tension and the pressure are always needed to prove how much we are determined to stand. Job was faced with such a heavy pressure where he had to decide whether he would curse God and die or still trust the One who gives and takes away. Ruth decided to be faithful to Naomi in life and in death. She took the opportunity to let Naomi understand that she truly loved her and had also fallen in love with her God. She was not following Naomi to Bethlehem out of pity. She decided to follow the call of the still small voice that told her that greater things are ahead of her if she just trusts and obeys. “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. 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.” What a wonderful expression of love and commitment. Ruth solemnly declared in an oath that God should go ahead and punish her if she does not stay close to Naomi until death alone separated them. With this being said, Naomi had no other choice than to allow Ruth to go with her to Bethlehem.

This is actually what Ruth was telling Naomi: “I don’t know what it will cost me to live in a foreign land, but I am not afraid. I love you more than enough to accept the challenge. I will trust in your God and make Him my God. I am with you for life and for death, and I will be there to care for you in your old age. I don’t know if I will ever get the chance to remarry and have children of my own. But I have decided to take you as my mother and care for you till the end.” Naomi’s heart was now at peace because she knew that she was not the one forcing Ruth to go with her. It was her personal decision and she was taking that step with an unshakable conviction. It was an expression of great faith. She was ready to forsake her old ways and learn new things that would make her a heroin. She decided to walk on the waters of uncertainty with the God of Naomi. She decided to face the Goliath of rejection with boldness and confidence. She decided to go through the fire of criticism and still be a help for Naomi regardless of what would happen. From this day on, Naomi had a brand new revelation of Ruth’s heart. The way she had seen and considered her changed from that moment on. She started realising that Ruth was a precious pearl that God had placed by her side, a consolation that God had provided for her in the midst of her painful experiences. And a new journey started for these two women who had pledged each other faithfulness and love at any cost on the path of life.

Today God is still seeking for people who have a pure heart, people who do not seek for their own interests but consider the others as greater than themselves to become their servants. The Lord Jesus taught us that greatness comes by serving, and this truth found its full expression later on in the life of Ruth. She shall be remembered from age to age because she laid down her life for a poor, lonely and broken widow. She did not allow the pains of her past to stop her destiny. She decided to step into the realm of the seemingly impossible. She did not know that the step she decided to take would mark her in the lineage of the greatest of all kings, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Saviour of mankind. If we trust God and walk by faith, doors of unfathomable greatness will open before us and we shall forever impact lives and change destinies. md
صيادي الناس

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