Read the Book of Ruth (it’s very short!)
The book of Ruth is something you have probably heard quoted at a wedding or two, “Where you go I will go. And where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God.” It’s a beautiful line of deep commitment to another. And many a newlywed has heard this line read by a minister as they gaze starry-eyed into the face of their lover…the only problem is that the line was said by Ruth to her mother-in-law, Naomi, after the death of their husbands. A little less romantic, but actually a lot more poignant.
Ruth was a foreigner, a Moabite. She was brought up elsewhere with different beliefs and a different religion than the Israelites. Her family did not even worship the same God of the Israelites, but they worshiped other gods. However, when her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law all die, she refuses to go back to her home, as was the custom, and instead embarks on a journey with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem, the land of the Israelites.
Ruth is not high on her luck at this point in her life. It was hard work, seemingly impossible work, for a woman to try to provide for herself, let alone anyone else in that day and age. Basically the hope of economic sustenance and sustainability was in finding a suitable husband that would provide. But the story of Ruth takes a turn away from the normal customs, and in Ruth seeking a means to provide for her mother-in-law through work in the fields, she finds the God of the Israelites providing for her.
When Ruth utters the promise of loyalty to her mother-in-law, she is not just dedicating her life to her family, she is aligning herself with a different belief system. And in the land where she may have found destitution, Ruth finds life, and life abundant.
In stepping out in faith toward God, Ruth finds provision. Her trust in God, the God of Naomi, bears out in incredible ways. Not only does she find food and sustenance for herself and Naomi, she eventually finds a new husband. They have a child together, and their family story and genealogy is listed in Jesus’ genealogy.
What is striking about this passage is that God is in the business of providing family through the body of believers when people are in need of family. God provides Ruth with many things, but most significant is that God gives her family.
Our God is in the business of providing when we step out in faith and lean in to trusting in God’s provision. Has there been a time in your life when God provided for you when circumstances seemed far from possible? Is there something in your life right now that God is calling you to step out in faith and trust in his provision?