As I consider the amazing providential love of God which is so far above my understanding it would be like me trying to hit heaven with an arrow. And yet, I lift my author’s bow and let it fly, knowing it will fall short.
Have you ever considered the story of Ruth in the Bible and how it foreshadows the Gospel. Naomi and her husband Elimelek head to the foreign land of Moab during a famine in Israel. They have two grown sons who marry while in the land of Moab. They break a central prohibition of God…”Do not join yourself to these idolatrous people…people who sacrifice their own children on an altar to a god of death!!!!” And then Naomi’s world collapses around her….Elimelek dies….and within a decade…both her sons. There is no one left in this male dominated culture to provide for her….protect her….love her. She wants to change her name to “Mara,” which means “Bitter,” because she believes “the lord’s hand is against me….I’m left without anyone.”
I have not stood in that “left without” “Bitter” place…but I’ve laid on the floor groaning in the pain of hopelessness and despair…wondering why God has left me. I bet you have too.
My favorite part of this story is the powerful providential plan of God that weaves it’s way intricately through each page….Noami starts home and tells her Daughter-in-laws…”Go home…start over…I can’t give you another husband!!!” Both refuse at first, but Orpah eventually heads back to her people….Ruth not only refuses but totally abandons her old life for one with Naomi….”I’ll go where you go, I’ll stay where you stay….Your people will be my people…YOUR GOD WILL BE MY GOD….and my He deal with me severely if anything but death breaks this bond.”
What does God do…he gives Ruth another husband through Naomi’s family…his name is Boaz…you’ll remember his mom…her name is Rahab, the prostitute who saved the spies in Jericho…His Dad Salmon redeemed her from being an outcast….he redeemed her from her past…A lesson Boaz would apply to a Moabitess named Ruth…an outcast from an idol worshipping people.
At the end of the story Naomi’s bitterness has turned to joy as she holds Ruth and Boaz’s baby, Obed in her arms…..as the people testify…”Ruth has been better to you than seven son’s”. Obed is raised by two redeemed outcast women….the great great grandmothers of King David and the Great, Great, Great (14 times) grandmother’s of Mary’s baby boy Jesus…whose father is God!!!!!
C’mon…..are you kidding me!!!!!!!!! The Ultimate redeemer….whose planned is to save all the outcasts, even a 17 year old Pothead and H.S. dropout named Rick…I will shout His redeeming praises until my voice is gone…and then I’ll fall on my face in absolute gratitude at His nail printed feet.