I’m currently moderating a Bible study for a group of women in my church. It’s based on Ruth: Loss, Love, & Legacy (The Living Room Series) by Kelly Minter. I’m linking to the Amazon site because I’m an affiliate, but it’s also easily available on LifeWay’s website or in a LifeWay store. I’m going to post some of my thoughts and reflections as we go along, so expect to see ongoing Ruth posts as I clarify my thoughts on Ruth.
The first few pages of the bible study focus on some of the background information about the Israelites and about the Moabites. She also focuses on the idea of Elimelech’s family leaving Bethlehem-Judah during a famine. To understand what is going on, she reminds us that Ruth’s story is set in the time of Judges and that during those times the Lord often sent punishment to the Israelites in the form of famine to remind them to return to God.
But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. (Judges 2:19)
Then, punishment in the forms of famines or conquest would occur and God would raise a new judge up to rally the people and to return them to God. This is a pattern that exists throughout the book of Judges, and I would daresay, all of Israel’s history, and yet the same idea is carried out even in our lives today.
It’s so much easier to trust in God during times of sadness and times of trial. He just feels closer as you go through times of grief and times where the only way that you’re making it is when God is the guiding hand. I’ve had an intense time of spiritual growth the past three years. I was working for a construction company that was struggling to make it and then the recession came. Guess what? We didn’t make it. And I was the bookkeeper, so I felt the pain of not being able to make the payments on the bills and making the hard choices of who gets paid when everyone doesn’t intensely.
Of course, then that was followed by unemployment cutting my paycheck in half. Now, I’m preparing to start my life completely paycheck free as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama. I’m having to place some serious trust in God.
My parents are having marital trouble that affects every aspect of my life too. I know my Dad is sick with depression again, but that doesn’t make the going through any easier. I have to have faith in God that he will work what is happening in my parents’ lives to draw them closer to him. That’s the only way that I can get through the days of drama and pain.
I’m not sure that I want to feel God so intensely. Sometimes I just want to wallow in these problems and cry. I don’t want to move on. Still, I have to keep going because we are here for God’s purposes–to be God’s witness to others.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
We must keep walking the path and not to turn aside. The worst thing that we can do is throw away a whole lifetime of doing good because we are fatigued and want to give up. That’s what Elimelech and Naomi did. They threw away their whole lifetime of service and good in Bethlehem. They fled and went to a whole different country, and to make matters worse, they went to a country that God had commanded them not to have peace with or to be friends with (Deut. 23:3-6). We quickly see (and I’ll have to write on another day) just how much God blesses their move to Moab!