December 28, 2018
Read: Ruth 1
To read this text, go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ruth+1&version=NLT
Scripture- Ruth 1:14-18“14 And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. 15 “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.” 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. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.”
Observations- The time of Judges was a tough one in the history of Israel. The emergence of the Philistines and the lack of national unity made the land of Israel an easy target for their greedy neighbors. Migrations were common, entire families escaped from either the military conflicts or the resulting famine. This is the case of Nahomi and her family. “In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him.” Ruth 1:14
Application- Immigration is considered one of the main axels around which the Biblical story gravitates. More than that, welcoming the immigrants is an explicit command and practice established by God in the Old Testament and embraced by the Christian community, as reflected in the New Testament. The fact that God ensured that His people would be compassionate to immigrants along human history, is clearly one of the most palliative measures He could take to counteract the destructive effect of sin.
Ruth, a widow, poor and gentile immigrant, worked in the fields of Bethlehem, collecting stalks of grain left behind (Ruth 2:2), which by the way, was part of the provision made by God for immigrants (Leviticus 23:22), she ended up listed in the genealogy of the Son of God. So, it is pretty obvious that we should never underestimate what can do through us. But more than that, we should never underestimate what God can do through those who even nowadays, still live on the margins of our society. They are not hard to find, they work in the fields, mow our lawn, wash the dishes in our favorite restaurants or pour concrete in our driveways. They are the Ruth of our time. As you come across them today, remember… a gentle smile is a great way to start obeying God and needs no translation.
Prayer- Lord, let your Word open our eyes to see, our minds to think, and our hearts to embrace those You also have a plan for. In your powerful Name, Jesus, we pray, AMEN!