Ruth goes home

Today is August 7 and I feel dry. One of my “tricks” I use to trigger reflection is to take the number combo of the day 8/7 and look at a Biblical equivalent, for example Proverbs 8 or Psalm 8. I was not inspired so I looked at the eighth book, Ruth, and the seventh verse, “With her two two daughters-in-law she (Naomi) left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.” Naomi plus husband and two sons fled a famine in Bethlehem to live in Moab, kind of like leaving the political chaos of the USA to go to Canada. There her sons married. Both sons and husband died. Naomi with two foreign daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah, must decide what to do. Troubles, grief, despair, need force us to look at our resources and define our identity, to make decisions. Naomi decides to return “home” to Judah. Orpah stays in Moah but Ruth follow Naomi. As Naomi returns to Bethlehem, the women greet her and she responds, “Don’t call me Naomi (that means pleasant). Call me Mara (that mans bitter).” In the valley of despair, Naomi clarifies her priorities and returns to where she knows God is. She is still bitter and hurt but we see her begin to heal and her eyes open to see a kinsman redeemer as a potential husband for Ruth and she advises Ruth how to “catch her man.” The book ends with the women of the town praising God and blessing Naomi for Ruth has been better than seven sons. Priorities, where we turn when we are in need. God as a first priority may not give instant relief on this journey of life but God’s people gather around to walk the journey with us as we sort out our lives and live into our futures. We will be blessed as God is our first priority!

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