Home Again

Ruth 1:20-21I find it interesting when times or things get tough we want to blame it on anything or anyone around us.  This very human characteristic serves the purpose of trying to make sense of the situation by transferring the issue to another person or thing.  Naomi was so very human.  As she tried to sort out her grief she placed the blame on God by pointing her finger and saying ‘He did it’.  The NIV in verse 21b says this very thing…‘He afflicted me and He brought misfortune on me’. Then she does the very thing she needs to do.  She goes to the comfort of home.
Going home is used many times in God’s Word.  The Israelites wondered in the desert for years before returning to the home God had given them…the release of the Hebrew exiles from Babylon to return home…the prodigal…the hope of heaven…Any time a traumatic event happens to us we go through several stages.  Numbness, grief or sadness, blaming, sanctuary, and rebuilding.  In my recent time of healing, as Ray recovered from a Traumatic Brain Injury, and I tried to make sense of it, returning home each night to known comfort was necessary.  As we continue through the rebuilding we continue returning to home as our sanctuary.  Just like Naomi I returned home, whether it was my physical abode or those comforting arms of God, over and over again.  Above all I have learned, once again, to “Be still and know God”.  He alone has comforted, guided, provided, and healed.  He is my Jehovah Jirah, my Provider.
Jehovah Jirah, you have given me so much, you are there when I need anything.  All praise, honor, and glory is Your due.  You have created this beautiful summer morning just for me.  I can only say thank You!  What a Mighty God we serve.

Forgiving Others

Asking For Forgiveness
Do we have the right to be unforgiving?  Can we pick and choose who to forgive based on their perceived or actual offense?  The obvious answer for the believer is no, yet isn’t that what we do? Jesus had an answer for these questions.  He placed it at the end of what we call The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.  He very clearly says you will be forgiven by the Father if you forgive those who sin against you.  He adds you will not be forgiven by the Father if you refuse to forgive others.  So in the very words of Jesus we have no choice if we want to be forgiven by the Father.  (Well actually, we have a choice but if we want the ultimate reward of forgiveness…)

In the story of Ruth we discover that when she returned from Moab she was once again received as a member of the community.  Isn’t that interesting since God had  commanded the Israelites to have nothing to do with the Moabites (Deut. 23:3-6).  There is certainly a hidden story of forgiveness here.  Ruth and Naomi could have been rejected, ostracized, and asked to leave the community, but that didn’t happen.  Instead, a leading member of the community (Bethlehem) married Ruth (the Moabitess) and from that union came Salmon who fathered Jesse who fathered David…Even though God had clearly defined the rules for inhabiting with or aiding the Moabites He chose an obvious rule breaker (Boaz) to continue the family line toward Jesus.   He already knew Jesus’ purpose (to seek and save the lost) and planted both the lost and the Redeemed (His chosen people, Israel)  in it.