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Ruth: Faith Redeems

She was only saying what everyone else was thinking. Nana asked her, “What are you doing?” She replied, “I don’t like this song, so I’m sitting down.”

He was only saying what everyone else was thinking. “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about?!” –Gideon, Judges 6

If anyone had the motivation to make such a declaration it had to be Naomi. Led from the comfort of her home by her husband, who desperately sought essential provisions to sustain his family, in a time of famine. Arriving in what had historically been “enemy territory” and almost immediately facing life as a single-parent when her husband suddenly dies. She had the weight of guiding her two sons into manhood and knew that God’s BEST provision would be girlfriends and wives from back home, but instead allowed them to marry local girls out of the faith. Then she carried the anticipation of grandchildren—grandsons who would perpetuate the family name. But ten years of waiting is rewarded only with the untimely death of both. And finally, her decision to return to her roots and live out her sorrowful final days as a pitied symbol of the forsakenness of God. “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us,” seems a most appropriate expression. Or, as she articulated it, “Do not call me Naomi (pleasant); call me Mara (bitter), for the Almighty has afflicted me!” –Naomi, Ruth 1. She was only saying what everyone else was thinking.

Oh, how naturally we identify with these two “heroes” of our faith! Hard times come, lean seasons come upon us without warning, tragedy visits our front door, employment opportunities dry up, life-long dreams lie shattered all around us. Suddenly we find ourselves aligning our hearts with Gideon and Naomi. We marvel at the miracle of Job’s “…yet in all this, Job did not sin against God with his mouth” and instead say, “They are only saying what everyone else was thinking.”

But there is more to both of their stories. There is more to ALL of our stories. The timely voices of loving encouragers declare it best when, to the afflicted widow Naomi, they say, “Blessed is the Lord who has NOT left you without a redeemer today!” Ruth 4. They were only saying what everyone else should be thinking!

See you Sunday, Church!
Pastor Tom