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Weekly Devotional

Devotional: W.G. Mullan

No. 453

RUTH – THE CARING:   NO.3.

We have noted the reception at Naomi’s homecoming and her reaction to it.  The grief and bitterness burst forth, but now the realities of life and providing for living, must be faced, in the hometown of Bethlehem.  Before the austerity of  earning a living is mentioned, reference is made to the very, wealthy kinsman, “of the family of Elimelech;  his name was Boaz,” 2:1.  Responsibilities of near kinsmen are not outlined here and Naomi must face life’s challenges – she did not face them alone for Ruth was with her! 

God does not exempt from the hard grind of earning life’s ‘daily bread’, yet Jesus taught us to look to our Heavenly Father  for His giving;  His giving is channelled by ‘the sweat of the brow’ while He oversees all, just as He watches a sparrow’s flight to pick up a seed. 

            Ruth’s response to life’s need reveals much.  Her deep respect for Naomi was evidenced as she sought her permission to go and glean, “Please let me go to the field and glean - ,” 2:2.  In going to glean Ruth took the place of the poor, as outlined in Israel’s culture, Leviticus 19:10;  Deuteronomy 24:21.  Her humility was the outworking of  her accepted responsibility and love toward her mother-in-law.  She did not enter Bethlehem with any grandiose ideas of a place of honour.  Her commitment was ‘to serve’ her mother-in-law and provide for her and she fulfilled this by stepping out to the humblest of  employments.  What a challenge to every one of us, “through love serve one another,” Galatians 5:13.  

            Ruth’s love, blossoming in respect and responsibility, also reveals faith, as she looked  “to the field”  of service belonging to one, “in whose sight I may find favour,”  2:2.  This was indeed ‘trust in God, under Whose Wings she had come for refuge’.  Ruth had come to strange surroundings, a foreigner as she confessed, but her burden to care for her ailing mother-in-law raised her vision to God, Who would so control her life and circumstances as to direct her steps to the field of His choice.  It is right to seek out ways to fulfil our calling in life but how necessary to look to God in faith, knowing that He opens a way when there is no way!  When doors open, like the entrance into the field of Boaz, the world terms it ‘coincidence’, but the child of God recognises that in all things God is Sovereign. 

           Ruth’s first journey in a strange land, desiring to serve and provide, was prompted by respect for her beloved mother-in-law, for responsibility to care for her, however humbling that might be, but confident in the overshadowing Grace of the God she trusted. 

This is the One Who in Jesus Christ provides for us richly -  all things to enjoy.

“A man’s heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps,” Proverbs 16:9.

 

William G. Mullan

wmullan777@btinternet.com

 

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