Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Taking a Stand

The next few posts will pertain to my Bible study on Ruth. Each post will focus on a chapter of the book. So, for the sake of space, I will not post the entire book of Ruth.

We begin the book of Ruth with perspective of "how to become women (or in this case, people) of God." Thus, when we examine the text, we are looking for interactions that stem from the honoring or dishonoring of God's character.

Before we look at the story, take some time to check out Proverbs 31:10-end and write down the characteristics of this "noble wife" that you notice.

Ruth 1 starts off the story of a Ephrathite family leaving Bethlehem in Judah due to a severe famine and went to the pagan country of Moab. The family-Elimelech (the husband), Naomi (the wife) and two sons-settled and lived there. The boys married two women-Orpah and Ruth-following the death of their father. Ten years passed and the sons died as well.

Naomi heard that the famine lifted back in Bethlehem and decided to go back. On the way back, she stopped and told the women to return to Moab. At first both women protested, but Orpah agreed and cried as she left. Ruth had a different idea. "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. Where you die, there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."

The brief remainder of the chapter sets the stage for the next, so let's examine what happened here.

Ruth took a stand. Contrary to what would have been easy, she decided to stand strong for what she knew would be the most beneficial for her mother-in-law, a stand for faithfulness. She even went as far as to accept God has the One she served. This is a RADICAL decision. Not only is she giving up her heritage, but she is giving up the possibility that she will ever marry again. (Naomi mentions the unlikelihood of her having sons again). She gives up the comfort and the "ideal" for the truth.

So here's the application. How often do we take a totally selfless radical stand for His truth? Even if the easiest and most comfortable thing to do is to run home. "Home" for Ruth was Moab, but home for us can be anything...an old relationship, past sins, an apathetic life. What are some of the things you "run to" or rather are THERE for you to "run to"? I know I can come up with at least two things off of the top of my head.

Are we willing to give up certain things just to follow His will? I know that at times, the answer for me is no. But Christ meets us at our weakness and gives us strength to live radically for Him and to take stands when we feel like running back. Because, unbeknownst to us...He is actually leading us home.

Lord, thank you for giving me the strength when I doubt you and when I don't understand the circumstances. Remind me through your word that as a woman (man) of your character, you have enabled me to live for you. I can defeat the sin nature and I can soldier on with you as my center. Bless you for your amazing patience with me and thank you for taking a stand for me on Calvary. Amen.

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