May 26 – Deliverance Through Bitterness – Ruth 4

Ruth 4:1-22

Who or what has stood out to you in the book of Ruth?

For me, the biggest principle that I pull from the entire book is that there is no pain without purpose. God will use every situation for us to grow closer to and more dependent on Him.

Here we sit, reading about Naomi, who lost everything when her sons and husband died. In these days, when you had a husband and bore sons, you had a future and were taken care of. So, when Naomi not only lost her husband, but also her sons, you can imagine how desolate she felt. To her, she saw no hope. However, through this pain, they found their way to Boaz.

Their story was still being written.

Now we come to Ruth 4. With Boaz being in the bloodline of Naomi’s husband, he was second in line to inherit land that Ruth’s late husband owned. With that land came Ruth as, unfortunately, women were considered property in those days. However, the Lord used this to protect Ruth and Naomi. 

Upon asking the next of kin if they want this inheritance and them passing on it, Boaz was happy to say “Yes!”

This meant Ruth would become his wife and Naomi had a home and a future again. 

Ruth bore a child and a future line was born. 

Through all of the pain that Naomi and Ruth had been through, the purpose was yet to be seen.

Here is where the principle stands out.

Sometimes, in our lifetime, we won’t get to see the purpose behind the pain. Naomi knew that she had a future now that Boaz married Ruth and Ruth bore a son. What she didn’t know is that Christ would come from the bloodline of her sons.

How huge is that?! We look at everything she went through and she didn’t even know that the promised Messiah was going to come from her family’s bloodline, from her story of loss.

Not only did God take care of her in these moments, but He brought through her pain our Savior. Naomi didn’t live to see that day, but I bet she was with the Lord praising God in all His Glory of what He did through her family’s line. 

As we ourselves walk through painful situations, we may never know the purpose behind it. Our faith is what we do in times of pain. There has been so much pain in my personal life that I could have given up…and I did. Jesus met me and saved me and I am now able to walk through the pain, knowing that He is for me and He cares about me. No matter the pain I may go through, He has a purpose and a plan and will use it for His Glory. And I am okay with not seeing it in my lifetime. 

What about you? 

Where is your heart and mind when walking through the pain of this life? Are you sitting there angry at God or do you recognize that, because we live in a fallen world and we have to face the consequences of even other’s sin, we can depend on Him to know best?

I challenge you to go before Him and evaluate your heart and actions in painful times.

Will you have the hope of Naomi?

Kelly Lawson

May 25 – Deliverance Through Bitterness – Ruth 3

Read Ruth 3:1-18

Working our way through the book of Ruth, we experience a story of romance, grief and redemption. But the most unique piece that holds it all together is the role of the mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth, upon the death of her husband, embraces a role of living with his mother and embracing the identity of belonging to his family. The temptation to let grief dwell in bitterness had to be real for Ruth. Ruth could not control the things that were happening in her life to her; when things like this occur on an extended basis, the tendency to become bitter festers. The thing about bitterness is that many people (Ruth being no exception) could choose to live in it because it is a feeling that makes us feel in control of our circumstances.

It becomes all to easy to take matters into our own hands, when we are bitter, and not fully trust in God’s plan and provision for us. How we respond to trials in our life says a lot about our faith. Consider this formula:

E+R=O

In the last decade, there has been an equation that has emerged in sports leadership culture at THE Ohio State University.

E (Event) + R (Response) = O (Outcome)

Events happen in our lives, whether brought on by an external or internal event. How we respond will dictate the outcome every time. In this case, Ruth’s event (the command to sleep her way into a secure marriage in light of her mourning) demanded a response. It could’ve been “no”, “you’re crazy”, or lashing out in anger. Instead, the response was obedience born from vulnerability in risk of reputation because her trust in God outweighed her desire to control her own life. Naomi had not counted on this. Naomi’s description that Boaz will “tell you what to do” once Ruth got under the covers was instead unpredictably met with him responding to Ruth by asking who she was. The subsequent events and conversation led to an example of godliness and a beautiful union that would one day pass down a lineage of Christ the King. 

Every day, we are faced with circumstances and events that are unfolding around us in which we have two ways to respond.  For many people, there are hurts that are more personal happening in their families daily which compound the issues of surviving in this outside world. The impact of family stress compounded with ailing finances, broken relationships, misbehaving children, unfulfillment at work, struggling marriages and loss of loved ones demands a response. 

What is your R to these events and the events happening in your life currently?

Ruth’s story shows us that when we take risks by faith and respond in servitude, the unexpected can happen. The long-term blessing provides an outcome that we could have never seen coming – one that reminds us every day of the beauty, grace and mercy of God being in control of our lives, saving us from bitterness and growing us in faith.

Joe Rubino

May 24 – Deliverance Through Bitterness – Ruth 2

Read Ruth 2:1-23

Broken, bitter, empty and alone with just each other, Naomi and Ruth followed the hope of God’s goodness to Bethlehem. That’s where they found deliverance. It’s where God used a man named Boaz to redeem them both from the bitter hand they had been dealt. And, although Naomi had exclaimed that she was all but done with hope, it had led them both to this place where they would see God’s hand provide beyond their craziest hopes for anything good to ever come again.

“As it turned out…”

God had a plan for redemption that included Ruth’s hard work, Boaz’s admiration and a field full of barley that needed picking. God led them straight to the man He would use to protect, provide for and love Ruth.  

Ruth had chosen to follow Naomi into a life in which all her hope literally lay in the truth that Yahweh God is good and He provides for His people. It’s how God got them to the place in their journey where they could leave the bitter empty for the beautiful safety of protection, love and full life. It’s the way God delivered Ruth and Naomi out of bitterness and into hope.

Ruth had come to take refuge under the wings of the God she chose to trust when she left everything she knew and moved to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law named bitter. And that very God brought redemption through Boaz. 

Have you come to take refuge in God too? He provided a Redeemer for you and me in the man called Jesus. His very life conquered death when He took our bitter shame, guilt, dark dark sin and left death behind in a Jerusalem grave. He provides safety and protection from the fear of living, of dying, and He gives deliverance from the darkness of shame.

It means trusting His way, believing with your whole life that He is good, like Ruth believed when she walked out of Moab into the way of the One True God. That very same God provides deliverance from our bitterness too. It means trusting Him enough to know Him, study His Word, follow His ways, even when life hits hard.

Especially when life gets hard.

Bria Wasson

May 23 – Deliverance Through Bitterness – Ruth 1

Read Ruth 1:1-22

The story of Ruth and Naomi is often used to teach about friendship and loyalty.  However, if the reader doesn’t look deeper, they are missing out on a very important lesson.

Taking the focus off of Ruth, let’s look at Naomi. Here is a woman who was living in a foreign land because of a famine in her homeland. Not only was she away from her extended family but also away from fellow believers in the one true God.  Then tragedy happened.  Naomi’s husband died, leaving her to live the rest of her life as a widow. But luckily, she had two married sons who, along with their wives, could take care of her.

The Bible says they lived there in Moab for ten more years.  So, for ten years, Ruth and her sister-in-law, Orpah, lived with and learned from Naomi. They had ten long years to not only learn from her how to take care of a household but also about the love relationship between Naomi and her God.

Then tragedy hit again!

Both of Naomi’s sons died!  I can’t even imagine the sorrow of losing not only one but two sons would bring! But now they were three widows! The shock, grief, sorrow and confusion they must have felt would have been unbearable if they didn’t have their relationship with not only each other but also the one true God!  The God that Ruth was willing to give up her own homeland and family for!  A faith in God that they had witnessed in Naomi and had been building in their own lives over the past ten years. A faith that she lived day by day in good times and bad.  A faith that was a relationship with a God who loved them and was open to her questions and concerns, even her anger sometimes.

That is the hidden story in the first chapter of Ruth.

What does your day to day faith look like?  What kind of faith are the people around you seeing? How about your own children? When you are faced with troubles, do you still trust in God and that He will carry you through?

Do these lines from this old hymn ring true for you?

I know not how this saving faith

To me He did impart

Nor how believing in His Word

Wrought peace within my heart

I know not what of good or ill

May be reserved for me

Of weary ways and golden days

Before His face I see

Refrain

But I know whom I have believed

And am persuaded that He is able

To keep that which I’ve committed

Unto Him against that day

Do you REALLY know and trust whom you believe in? Are you confident in that? If not, why not? Time to start living your faith and letting the world see what a relationship with God can do for them! Go forth boldly.

God’s got your back!

Pat Arnold