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Monday, September 18, 2017

Blessing in what we have come out of

16 But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you! Don’t force me to go back to my own people. Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you sleep, I will sleep. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried. I ask the Lord to punish me if I don’t keep this promise: Only death will separate us.” (Ruth 1:16-17 ERV)

Naomi found herself widowed, losing both sons, as well. A widow in her day and age relied upon sons to take care of her, but now they were gone and she only had her two daughter-in-laws who could possibly help support her. The desire to remain together as a "family unit" is strong, but when it comes to leaving a place where you are comfortable, surrounded by friends and other family members, it can be quite difficult. The time comes when Naomi wants to return to her home land - to be nearer her own kin. Perhaps someone will act as a "redeemer" on her behalf to provide for her needs well into her advanced age. This means "new ties" would have to be broken in order to return to "old ties". One such tie would not be broken, though, for Ruth's desire was to stay with her mother-in-law. There are indeed times when the journey one thought they were taking for their "well-being" ends up totally contrary to where they thought they were headed. It could be that journey "ends" with "new beginnings".


Naomi had moved away from her homeland not in search of great wealth, but in order to survive famine and hard times. The truth of the matter is that sometimes we find ourselves in "new places" because the circumstances dictated a change in our "normal plans". Something got "disturbed" in our normal course of actions, causing us to be in places of uncertainty, hardship, and even despair on occasion. It is in these moments we find what defines us and what will direct our future actions. Naomi knows the provision of her needs could be accomplished in this foreign land she was in, but she also knows the provision of her needs may be even greater should she be in the place where God has prepared for each of her needs to be met. Just because some of our needs are being met right where we are doesn't mean God hasn't prepared something much greater for us when we go into the place he prepares for us! Both are places of provision, but one is better than the other!


I think Douglas Adams states it very well when he says: "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I intended to be." We often intend to go in one direction, but find our destination just a little bit different than where we were "going". Naomi was in search of provision (food, shelter, and daily needs met). Her "going" was directed by her husband, the leader of the household, taking her into a land she neither knew, nor one in which she really felt a sense of "belonging" while living there. When her circumstances change, her desire to be "home" really drove her to pick up and return, although she had little to return to where she was going. Yet, in so doing, she was finding herself "ending up" where she intended to be - safe under the protection of a kinsman redeemer. Not only did she end up where she intended to be (and where God intended her to be), but she had a companion for the journey, and a friend for life in her daughter-in-law Ruth. God made a way for the provision of her future needs by the blessing of this daughter-in-law in her life - for it was her service that found them at a place where all their combined needs would be cared for all the rest of their days.


Naomi's intention: Get home and somehow she'd find scraps in the fields where some manner of small provision could meet her needs. 

God's intention: Gather in the fields of the one who would become her kinsman redeemer - the one who would make way for handfuls of grains to be left "on purpose" for both the women's needs to be abundantly met. 

God's intended destination for us may not necessarily become evident to us within hardship, but regardless of where we come into the "place of his planned provision", we need to remember this - the journey hasn't been wasted, for we often bring INTO the final destination something of great blessing from what we have COME OUT OF. Just sayin!