1:20 "Don't call me Naomi, " she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me."
4:13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth."
The book of Ruth is such an oasis in the middle a spiritual desert in Israelite history. It is fitting that it is located in that spot because it points us to the major focus of the book - God the Redeemer and Restorer. In the middle of our dark and dry spiritual experiences God wants to remind us that He can restore, renew, revive and bring back the dead to life.
Naomi experiences what many of us experience. She is serving God in the land of promise but there were some hard times that came along and instead of sticking it out and putting her faith in God she and her husband go away from God to where they think they can help themselves. Things go from bad to worse till everything that Naomi holds dear is stripped from her. Thankfully she returns to God but she is a broken woman. But in the midst of it God takes this situation and works it out to bring Naomi back to a place of fruitfulness. He is a Redeemer.
But Naomi is not the only one who experiences the restoring power of God, Ruth does too. She is a reminder to us that God will use anyone, regardless of background or past history. The only requirement is a desire to follow Him with all of our heart and soul, mind and strength. Ruth was willing to be obedient and trust and it resulted in redemption for her. We are beneficiaries of Ruth's obedience because it was through her descendants that David and Jesus were descended.
Our obedience to God and His plan no matter how crazy it sounds or seems, has ramifications way into the future. Our obedience now, counts for the future. Our life matters.
No matter how far you have run from God he awaits your return and has a plan of redemption for you, don't miss it.
How are we as a church at welcoming the runaways back home? Notice how the people of Israel welcomed Naomi and Ruth and made it possible for redemption to occur.
Thank you Lord for Your redeeming grace. I love you.