July 20, 2017
Read: Ruth 1
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Scripture- Ruth 1:16- But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God."
Observations- It is no accident that Ruth follows Judges where the pattern was the people doing what was right in their own eyes, receiving painful and natural consequences, crying out to God for help, and then God would raise up a Judge to lead them out of their oppression. In Judges there was a concern for maintaining purity and separation from pagan practices by not intermarrying, but in Ruth we see the faithfulness and resolve of a young woman from Moab to serve the God of Israel on the basis of her love and connection to Naomi, her mother-in-law.
Application- Sometimes Scripture throws us a curve ball with a "Yes, this is true and important, but consider this as well." That's what we have in Ruth, which isn't a denial of the warnings from Judges about the dangers of worshiping false idols and being led astray by the customs of other cultures; rather her story serves to say here is a unique and inspiring exception to the rule, so pay careful attention. By saying, "Your God will be my God," Ruth is making a powerful confession of faith in the living God. As Gentiles, Ruth's story is our story, for each of us has been grafted in the faith through our adoption in Christ Jesus.
Prayer- O Lord, thank You for adopting me as one of Your sons on the basis of what Your Son has done for us. Help me be open to You. Help me be honest about my needs before You. Help me try and train to grow in Your love and grace. Let me be inspired by the Ruth's in my life, who are faithfully surprised by new hope when they say "Yes!" to You, in Jesus' name. Amen.
"But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root." (Romans 11:17-18),
P. S. - School Supply Need. Over the next two month, we will be collecting school supplies for four ministries/missions– the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home Foster Care Program, Kenly Elementary (through our new Orient Park campus), Dover outreach (through our new Dover campus), and McLane Middle School. Look for sales and think creatively about how we might meet this need.