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Monday, April 13, 2015

Soul Sister's Series, # 10, The Resolute Woman





The decision to move the family to Moab seem logical. After all they surely would starve if they remained in the famine ravaged land of Israel. They intended to stay just for a short time, until the famine ended.

Yet the short time quickly turned into ten years. They settled easily into the pagan land. Eventually Naomi’s two sons married Moabite women, which Jewish law forbid. Life appeared to go smoothly. Naomi looked forward to Grandchildren. Then her life changed forever. Like unwelcome intruders, tragedy after tragedy came and pillaged all that was precious to her. 

First her husband died. Then her two sons died. She came to Moab full, now she is empty and barren. The regrets haunted her day and night. If only we had stayed in Israel. Wouldn’t Jehovah Jireh provide for their needs in spite of the famine? 

This could have been the end of Naomi’s story. A life full of hope now crushed by the bitter consequences of bad decisions. Life had passed her by and left her in the dust. Is there no redemption for one such as her? Is she destined to live out her desolate life in the land of regrets? 

Do you feel as though life is over for you? Has bitter consequences quenched those dreams you used to have? Are you on the sidelines looking on as others participate in the game of life? Why even try? The game is over for me. My opportunity has come and gone. 

Do regrets haunt and taunt you? You blew it; you are getting what you deserve. So get comfortable, you’ll be here the rest of your life. Does this sum up your life at present? Certainly Naomi felt just this way. 

“The Lord Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.” 

Do you feel as though God Himself is even against you? 

Naomi felt the raw emotions of despair, regret, disillusionment and yes even anger. Yet what Naomi chose to do in spite of her feelings and circumstances inspires us today. 

Naomi chose not to continue in the land of Moab. She packed up the remnants of her shattered life and returned to Israel. Her bold decision affected not only her own life, but the life of her daughter-in-law Ruth. Both of their lives would be forever changed. Ruth was so inspired by Naomi’s courage that she refused to stay also. 
Never underestimate the impact your faith has on others around you. What Naomi did determined Ruth’s destiny. There is a Ruth somewhere in your life and their lives will be affected by your bold acts of faith. 

Things didn’t go well in Israel at first. Naomi and Ruth lived in poverty. She had nothing; no husband, no sons to take care of her. A woman in her condition didn’t have a lot of options. In order to survive she would have to sell houses or land. If she became desperate enough she may have to sell herself into slavery. 

Perhaps she wondered if coming back was a good thing. Yet behind the scenes God was at work. He led Ruth to a field that happened to belong to Boaz, a close relative of Naomi’s former husband. She gathered the grain left on the ground after the reapers had harvested the wheat. 

When Boaz came to the field that morning, he spotted Ruth right away. “Who is that woman working in my field?” When he found out who she was, he showered favor on her, letting her drink from the water jars, telling his workers to drop handfuls on purpose, and inviting her to eat lunch with him. She even took a doggie bag home to Naomi. 

Naomi was astounded at the large amount Ruth had gleaned. “Where did you glean today? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!” 

After Ruth told her about Boaz, she said, “The Lord bless him! He has not stopped showing His kindness to the living and the dead. That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers.” 

Do you notice a difference in her response here and earlier, when she even thought God was against her? Hope awakened within her for the first time and brightened her countenance. Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer. A kinsman-redeemer looked after needy and helpless family members. He could marry a childless widow and provide an heir. He bought back land that had been sold. He redeemed family members sold into slavery. 

Naomi had no hope for anything better. She lost everything and was powerless to change her situation. She was dependent on a kinsman-redeemer who had the power to restore what had been pillaged from her. 

Boaz did just that. He married Ruth and she had a son named Obed who would become Grandfather to Israel’s greatest king, David. Ruth is also in the lineage of Christ. 

In the beginning of the book of Ruth, Naomi had nothing. Now she is abundantly full. The book closes with her precious Grandson in her lap. This transformation began with her decision to leave Moab. If she had stayed in the land of regrets, she would have remained barren and empty. Ruth never would have known God’s plan for her life. There wouldn’t be a book of Ruth in the Bible. 

It took a bold, reckless faith to turn her back on the awful circumstances, the bitter consequences, the nagging regrets and return to Israel. Naomi had to place herself in a position where God could do His mighty work. Her faith resulted in restoration. 

Will you remain in your personal Moab? Sometimes we would rather continue in our comfortable misery than to leave it all behind to go after what God has for us. If you choose to linger in Moab, you will remain in barrenness. You cannot stay where you are and expect a turnaround in your life. You must position yourself in a place where God can work. 

Turn your back on the regrets and the bitter consequences. Put them far behind you and move toward your God. He is your Kinsman-Redeemer. He alone has the power to bring restoration to your life. Restoration…what a sweet word, what a miracle it is! 

Your Kinsman-Redeemer can restore what has been pillaged. There is redemption for the bad choices. Your life will be full again; you will be a useful vessel in His hands. There is always hope, because you have a precious Kinsman-Redeemer who looks after you. 

He’s already paid the ultimate price on the cross to redeem you from the land of bondage. Rise up and move toward your God. Restoration is just ahead.


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