God’s Redeeming Grace (Part 2)

“He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” Ruth 3:9 ESV

We are studying the book of Ruth – a redemption story with a genealogy that birth’s the Messiah and redeems the world – Redemption in the small mundane little things as well as salvation for all of mankind.  I need more redemption in my life; how about you? 

Dear Heavenly Father – you are The Redeemer! Thank you for caring about the little things in our life and using them for your greater plans. You alone restore. You alone redeem. You alone are to be glorified!  Please open our eyes to see and our understanding to the ways of you. – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Yesterday we discussed a brief overview of how the book of Ruth begins and ends – Naomi and Ruth had experienced a multitude of hardships that left them empty.  (If you haven’t read the whole book of Ruth, 4 short chapters, let me encourage you to do so.  For your convenience I added chapter 1 to the bottom of yesterday’s post and I am adding chapter 2 to the bottom of today’s post.)

Both Naomi and Ruth went through the same hardships – they both lost their husbands. While Naomi lost her children, Ruth lost the ability to have children, since her husband died before they had children. They lost their provisions and even their home as they had to relocate back to Naomi’s home, in Bethlehem.

In light of these hard times, one of the things that stands out to me is how these women see themselves while going through it.  Isn’t it a very human thing to do, to have troubles and internalize them? Let’s look at Naomi:

“She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi;call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” Ruth 1:20-21 ESV

Naomi takes the negative and places it upon herself and changes her name from ‘Pleasant’ to ‘Bitter’.  She asks the question – Why call me Pleasant when all this bad stuff has happened and made me Bitter?
First, as we discussed yesterday – it is easy to become bitter in the negative and overwhelmingly bitter hard times in life.  But just because your situation is bitter, you do not have to become bitter. 

She was born with a name that bore a blessing – for pleasantness.  And she traded it for bitterness taking on the curse by name as well.  My heart breaks, it is obvious that God had plans for good and not evil, she just had to make it through the hard time. And if you read the whole book of Ruth, Naomi continued to be called Naomi – no one accepted that curse of bitterness. And as hope came into her life, she herself rejected the bitterness and strove for the blessings God intended for her.
If you have accepted a curse of bitterness or of something not meant for you – do not change your name, but seek God for the blessing – seek to be who God intended you to be! God intended “Pleasant” for Naomi and restored pleasant to her.

I was born and given a name that meant ‘mighty warrior’. A few days after birth, my parents changed it to a name meaning ‘God beholds His Grace’.  I know the power of a name and God’s intention over a person.  I was born to be a mighty warrior for God. However, God looked into my future and knew the things that would happen to me and how I would later need and have a real, life changing experience with grace. How that grace would save a wretch like me. How that grace would then go on to change everything around me – effect would be both good and bad but ultimately all for the glory of God and for His perfect will for me – His intention for me – NOT for bitterness – Not for evil – Not for loss of hope – but to fulfil His glorious purpose through me! And God knew that grace would rise up a mighty warrior for His kingdom and that war would be fought through His grace.  As Naomi was blessed to be pleasant I am blessed to be the mighty warring grace of God.  Not some passive, complacent grace – no! I am an example of a grace that is mighty and active with the power to transform, heal, and be used by God to accomplish His will.

Who has God called you to be?  Are you trading it off because of a tough period of your life?

My sister was given a name that means crowned with laurel and grace. (God poured His grace over both of us, as he knew how much we would need it to get through what was going to happen in our lives!) A laurel crown is a symbol of the once highest earthly accomplishment (of the Greek Olympic Games) – but the bible reminds us that it is perishable and true believers should seek the crown of glory.  She lives a charmed life of great accomplishment, but has rejected God and any eternal crowns.  She is a prodigal.  She did not trade her name – she shifted its focus. God intended her to receive the highest rewards in Heaven and gave her the grace and calling into the ministry to achieve His purpose. She walked away and traded it for an earthly crown of laurel.
If the enemy doesn’t get you to trade off your name like Naomi tried to do, maybe he can get you to shift it.  Maybe he can convince you to believe his lies and trade off God’s glorious intention for your life for an earthly reward?  When my sister was named – God’s intention was earthly and heavenly rewards – which she shifted for just the earthly.

It is time for us to be who God intended us to be.

Ruth’s name had no special meaning in Hebrew or other known meaning – but by her loyalty and noble character throughout this book, it has come to mean ‘friend’. But Ruth did not see herself as a friend – No.

Chapter 1 – Ruth stayed with Naomi saying she could serve and help Naomi. Chapter 2 – Ruth says ‘let me go to the fields and just start working and someone will have pity on me and let me keep some of the food to feed us’ and Ruth goes out to try to become a servant.  Chapter 3 –
He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant.” Ruth 3:9a ESV
When asked who she is, Ruth says she is a servant. Ruth proves she is a servant – and has a servant’s heart.

The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12 ESV

Ruth was a living example of humility.  One can be humble, and a servant, and still bold in Christ and confident in who they are as a child of God. She was bold and confident because she knew who she was in God – she was a humble servant. Her boldness in God is what caught the eye of Boaz, the man God would use to save Ruth and Naomi and the man who would be the great grandfather of Kind David.

David, the man after God’s own heart, who understood and knew this very concept that God made us each with intent and purpose – and we need to be who He made us to be.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 ESV

If you don’t already, and today you would like to have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ I love you and love one another
Watch and Pray ~ Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Ruth Chapter 2 ESV

Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.” Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.”

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” 13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. 19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

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