Here’s a good quote, and have you ever felt like this??
“Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD himself has raised his fist against me.”
Not His hand, mind you; His fist. It’s one thing to be stopped in your tracks by an upraised hand, or even slapped by an open one; it’s another to be socked in the jaw with someone’s fist! Granted, this poor woman was not only in the throes of grieving a deep personal loss, but her situation had some pretty unfavorable economic implications as well, such as, how are we going to eat? Here’s why I LOVE this statement—because the person who said it was SO TOTALLY WRONG! In fact, though she couldn’t see it, she was about to become a very important cog in the wheel to bring about the promised Messiah to Israel…and the rest of the world.
So who was this woman? Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi. Now bereft of her means of sustenance due to the social and political norms since her husband and two sons were dead, she tries to send her daughters-in-law back to their families while she proceeds to return to her own homeland of Israel. She must have broken the evil mother-in-law mold, since neither of the girls wanted to leave her, but one finally does (in tears). Ruth, on the other hand, refuses to budge, and makes her famous statement about “your people will be my people, your God, my God.”
Many of us are familiar with the touching love story that follows, how Ruth is hardworking in supporting the aging Naomi, how she is humble in accepting advice in this land that is foreign to her, and how she meets and marries Boaz, a man within Naomi’s family line. It’s all in the “begats”—
“…Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth).
Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David…”
And we all know who came from King David several hundred years down the road!
So here’s my confession. I’ve had a fatiguing tendency to think, “God would never do that for me.” It doesn’t matter what “that” is, but the thought is, even if His fist isn’t raised against me, I’m at least not as important as _________. Circumstances have a way of doing that…lying to me, I mean. It’s easy to MISinterpret God’s responses (or seeming lack thereof) to what’s happening in my environment. And when this happens, I couldn’t be more wrong—
“If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Like Anne of Green Gables said, you never know what’s just around the bend.
Ruth 1:13; Matthew 1:5,6; Romans 8 (several verses, but the whole chapter’s pretty good!) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.