June 6, 2018

Down But Not Out

By: Larry Shaffer

Ruth

I’ve learned that my devotions are immensely enriched when I take the time to do some basic research and consider how each Bible book fits into biblical history and how the themes fit into the full biblical story. Having studied 1 and 2 Samuel recently, it’s enlightening to realize that Ruth was most likely written by Samuel. The book was distributed shortly before or early during King David’s reign. Lineage was important to the Jews. So, at the end of the book of Ruth it is established that Ruth is David’s great grandmother. Also, Ruth is one of four women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew.

Seemingly unimportant

Like Esther, Ruth is a very special woman. Even within the male-dominated culture that Ruth lived in, she emerges as a woman of significant impact and influence. She displays character and integrity at the highest level. She clothes herself with virtue, loyalty and kindness. As such, she teaches us a powerful lesson “of seemingly unimportant people at apparently insignificant times which later prove to be monumentally crucial to accomplishing God’s will,” (The MacArthur Study Bible)

Thanks a LOT

Ruth was a Moabite. That’s not just a strike against Ruth but it’s almost unforgiveable. The country was originated when Abraham’s nephew, Lot, fathered Moab by an incestuous act with his oldest daughter. The Moabs as a nation have a history as being the enemies of God’s people. Israelites despised Moabites.  So, what does Ruth have going for her?

1)     She was a Moabite.

2)     After her young husband dies, Ruth followed her mother-in-law, Naomi to Bethlehem as a foreigner and lived in humble means as a maid servant. Her plight was that of a beggar.

3)     She was a female in a male-dominated society.

Despite the strikes against her, Ruth married a wealthy and prominent man and become the great grandmother of King David and ancestor of Jesus. Wow!

What can we learn from Ruth?

Ruth achieved greatness and significance, but she didn’t pursue it.  God doesn’t ask us to pursue greatness and significance. But what He does call us to is to receive Him by faith and then walk humbly and obediently our God. That’s what Ruth did. What can we learn from this?

On any given day through seemingly routine events, God can and will use us. Approach each day with a humble recommitment to virtue, loyalty and kindness. Then simply go through the day, making moment by moment decisions that align with God’s principles and see what God may do in and around you. When you stumble, get back up, say a prayer of forgiveness, recommitment and keep going. Lord, may you surround us with your lovingkindess. Amen!