Lately, I’ve been caught up in a book by Pastor Jack Hayford titled, A New Time and A New Place: Practical Truth for Personal Growth from the Book of Ruth.
Ruth has long been one of my favorite Bible characters. But as I read Pastor Jack’s commentary, I learned something I’d never seen, which is this:
When Ruth’s late father-in-law (and Naomi’s late husband), Elimelech, departed with his family from Bethlehem in search of provision during a famine, by default, he departed from God’s provision.
As the story goes, Bethlehem means “the house of Bread.” It was the area, in which God had ordained Elimelech to be blessed. But Elimelech didn’t trust God at His Word to provide during what seemed impossible. So, Elimelech sought provision his own way and went outside of God’s boundaries of blessing to Moab. And, like all unbelief (sin), his own actions ended in death.
God knew what would happen to this family. He saw their end and their new beginning; and He kept His best provision for them in Bethlehem the whole time.
In His mercy and grace, God had a new song for Elimelech’s survivors. As Pastor Jack puts it, God “seeks what was lost and redeems what was forsaken.”
So, God worked through Elimelech’s wife, Naomi, to turn her back to the “house of Bread,” and Ruth was determined to go with her. I believe God put that determination in Ruth, in part, to bless Naomi forward (Ru 4:17).
I also believe God worked in both of their hearts to prepare them long before this pivotal moment, because God will not have His people enter into a prepared, purposed place of blessing unprepared.
His timing allows for preparation of hearts.
Just like in 2 Timothy 2:21 TPT, I believe they were “prepared for every good work” God had for them and that He made them instruments for “honorable use.”
In this light, I believe that, right now, God is clearly and outwardly delineating those, who have come away from what is dishonorable, and is aligning them for honorable use.
I believe God is leading His submitted ones, like Ruth and Naomi, to align with those who worship Him in truth, like Boaz, and that this is imminent (Is 58:7).
Song of Songs 2:10-13 TPT describe this calling poetically by saying:
The one I love calls to me:
Arise, my dearest. Hurry, my darling.
Come away with me!
I have come as you have asked
to draw you to my heart and lead you out.
For now is the time, my beautiful one.
The season has changed,
the bondage of your barren winter has ended,
and the season of hiding is over and gone.
The rains have soaked the earth
and left it bright with blossoming flowers.
The season for singing and pruning the vines has arrived.
I hear the cooing of doves in our land,
filling the air with songs to awaken you
and guide you forth.
Can you not discern this new day of destiny
breaking forth around you?
The early signs of my purposes and plans
are bursting forth.
The budding vines of new life
are now blooming everywhere.
The fragrance of their flowers whispers,
“There is change in the air.”
Arise, my love, my beautiful companion,
and run with me to the higher place.
For now is the time to arise and come away with me.
Naomi and Ruth hearkened to God’s call.
Their heart-walk of true repentance unfolded one step at a time as they wisely stepped forward in faith, believing God still had provision in His house of Bread for them. They believed God’s Word and He ordered the steps of these prepared women right into their prepared setting (1 Co 2:9).
Their full-circle return to God’s way proved exponentially fruitful and went beyond themselves. This is what He has for us, too, when we return more fully to Him and His provision His way.
In Ruth and Naomi’s story, we see a commitment to obedience. And blessing was their reward. Their story lives on with a legacy that extends beyond even today.
It’s marked by Isaiah 58:11 TPT, which says, “Yahweh will always guide you where to go and what to do. He will fill you with refreshment even when you are in a dry, difficult place. He will continually restore strength to you, so you will flourish like a well-watered garden and like an ever-flowing, trustworthy spring of blessing.
Their story reminds us that survivors are to come away from their former existence into the new wine God has for them. It reminds us that He has bread beyond the bread of mourning. It reminds us that God offers us beauty for ashes and true life that will prove greater than man’s deadly reasonings and traditions.
God has a whole, new family for those who do His will. But it requires integrity of heart, courage and forward movement in His time and wisdom on how to proceed.
It’s for every willing heart that says, “Yes, Lord.”
To God be the glory.
This devo was graciously re-posted by the Salem Web Network, which includes iBelieve.com.