God in relationships

Ruth 4:13-17

We make a great deal about Ruth’s commitment to Naomi. Ruth would not leave her mother-in-law’s side. She not only kept her life tied to Naomi, she also accepted the rule of God. Remember Naomi’s initial charge to Ruth and Orpah. They should’ve gone back to be with their mothers. The implication is to go back with your family where you will be safe and cared for.

What could Naomi offer anymore?

We may miss how important an act for Ruth this was. It was surely important for Naomi. And it’s important to us because it stands as a vision of God’s full inclusion into faith. Ruth was willing to reject her family and her religion. God was willing to accept her.

Imagine if God did not accept outsiders. Where would we be?

Commentators will note that God doesn’t “show up” a lot in Ruth. God’s name is there, but God doesn’t quite make too much of an appearance otherwise. There are no commands given, healings offered or miracles performed. At least, that’s the normal observation.

Can we say Naomi didn’t find some sense of healing? It’s not at least somewhat divine the way Ruth committed herself to Naomi and her faith? Did not God provide for Naomi and Ruth in a way they did not foresee?

To say that God showed up is faulty language. It assumes God wasn’t somewhere already and just decided to pop in. That’s not our understanding of God’s presence. No, in the book of Ruth, we see God’s Spirit at work through Naomi and Ruth’s love for one another. Ruth clung to Naomi; Naomi took on Ruth’s child as her own.

Their relationship is a witness to the love of God in the story. That witness carries itself into salvation history. Their family will now carry the line of David which will lead to Messiah.

The way we care for one another matters. Our commitment to love and persevere with each other is a witness to God’s great love for us. So, don’t sell your relationships short. Nurture them and give them everything you can.

They are a part of God’s love story.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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