Friday, November 13, 2015

EmmDev 2015-11-13 [Resilient Ruth] Attractive Faith

Attractive Faith

But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."       (Ruth1:16-17)
The Moabites worshipped other gods. Naomi was living in Moab. Her faith was a little candle in a lot of darkness. And, if we look at her statements in chapter one, it is a candle that has experienced the flickerings of doubt:
  • In v.13 she says: "No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD's hand has gone out against me!"
  • In v.:20 "Don't call me Naomi, " she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter."

But in spite of a faith that has struggled through the difficulties of life, there is a depth and attractiveness to Naomi's faith that results in real faith being born in the heart of Ruth.

In spite of the doubts that Naomi has, there is a winsomeness, a depth, and a grace that transcends the pain of circumstances and the shadows of doubt. Ruth has lived with Naomi. She has watched her through thick and thin. She has seen Naomi hang on to her faith, even when it has been very very difficult to believe. She has seen Naomi express her heartache to God and "tell it like it is" but still hang on to her faith.

Ruth sees a faith that is robust, a faith that isn't just "what's in it for me", a faith that reaches, and a faith that endures.

Her conclusion: I want to believe in a God like that!
Just a note on Naomi's statements: The Old Testament is progressive journey that reveals Israel's developing understanding of God. It is a growing theology. Naomi and people of her time believed in the sovereignty of God to the extent that even trouble came from His hand. It would be the wrestling of Job, Ecclesiastes and later prophets that would lead them to understand that trouble came from the brokenness of sin in the world.