Sunday, March 22, 2009

Uncommonly Loyal...

Loyalty. A word that means commitment or allegiance to something or someone. It's a word that also describes the woman about whom today's scripture is written. The book of Ruth tells the story of a Moabite woman whose husband and father-in-law had died and who had the choice to stay in her homeland or return with her widowed mother-in-law to her homeland in Judah.

There wasn't really a logical reason for Ruth to go with her mother-in-law Naomi, but she was just seemingly uncommonly loyal--as we learn in chapter 1 verse 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.

As the story goes, the women return to Judah and one of Naomi's relatives, Boaz, eventually buys the property that Naomi's husband had owned and then marries Ruth, ensuring that the family line and name continues. From gleaning the leftover grain in Boaz's fields to owning them by marriage, this is a miraculous story of provision and redemption.

One of the most amazing aspects of the book is that God blessed Ruth's loyalty to her mother-in-law by allowing her legacy to be recorded for all time in this book of scripture. Not just that, but the child born to her from her marriage to Boaz was the grandfather of King David and therefore one of the descendants of Jesus Christ. From poverty and hopelessness, Ruth and Naomi's story is one of God's restoration.

Sometimes, it's easy to forget that God is still in the restoration business. If it ever seems that God has dealt bitterly with you (Naomi once asked that she be called Mara meaning bitter, because as she explained, God had dealt bitterly with her) it will serve you to remember this story and the beautiful redemption and restoration that The Lord provided to Ruth and Naomi when they "returned" to him and to their home. Our kinsman redeemer, Jesus Christ, will never leave us the leftovers in his field when our loyalty belongs to him--because like Ruth, he is uncommonly loyal.

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