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|November, 2000 (5761)||Vol. 26 No. 11|
Dr. and Mrs. Elias E. Hidalgo
THE BOOK OF RUTH
(Continued from our September, 2002 Newsletter)
By Mrs. Ari D. Hidalgo
We continue the tremendous story about a Gentile woman, named Ruth, found in The Old Testament book of Ruth. Ruth's Jewish mother- in-law, Naomi, lost her husband and two sons in Moab, leaving her with her two daughters-in-law. She had heard that The Lord had visited Israel, and no longer was there a state of famine in the land, thus a miracle had taken place. She and her two daughters-in-law were on their way to Judah. Thus far, they both were willing to go with Naomi. Ruth 1:11-17, RETURNING TO ISRAEL was a step of faith on the part of Naomi.
Of course, being Jewish she made the right choice, and that is, to go back to the Land of her inheritance and her people (Israel). Now, as they were on their way, Naomi sets in motion to DISSUADE them both (since they were from Moab) from going along with her in verses 11-13. In an earthly perspective she wanted the best for them, therefore, she says in verse 11, "Why will you go with me?", in other words, you're not Jewish, thus, there is no future there for you. She could only try to persuade them from a national perspective to go back to their own homeland, where it seems that it would afford them the opportunity to start over with their lives, and perhaps get married again and have a family.
Going back home to Israel was meaningful to Naomi, not only in returning to her earthly people and land, but also, it involved her spiritual commitment and obedience to The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Only The Lord can persuade any individual towards a spiritual walk and commitment to Him, and, He uses individuals like Naomi to be a light to others, as she indeed was in the lives of these two young Moabitish women.
The Lord alone turns our hearts to have faith in Him for Salvation and also for the wonderful opportunity of serving Him. A good example in Scripture of The Lord calling an individual into His service is found in the life of the Apostle Peter, as He directs him from his earthly job as a fisherman, and challenges him with a new way of fishing, and that is, wining souls (see: John 21:15-17). ..."If you love Me feed my sheep". Our Salvation and the service we do is all from and guided by God alone.
As in the life of Peter, our Lord Jesus is always out for our best interests (Romans 8:28-29). We need good fisherman like Peter in the world today. As we know in reading Scriptures, Y'shua (Jesus) had better plans for Peter, far greater plans, wonderful plans, that the world could never offer him. The Almighty God's special call to Peter was this, ... GO to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and preach The Good News of Salvation (Matthew 10). There is good, better and best. The Lord always knows what is best. Naomi tries to DIRECT them as best that she knows how, as she DISCOURAGES THEM TO GO WITH HER. In verse 11, Naomi said ..."turn again", in other words, turn around and go back to Moab. If she knew that there were any sons in Israel, or near kinsmen who would marry these Moabitish widows to raise up the seed of the dead, then, she probably would have taken a different approach, possibly, she might have invited them to stay with her, instead of discouraging them.
If they stayed with her, they could not marry any one outside of her Jewish family, it was the law in Israel (Deuteronomy 25: 5). As far as Naomi knew, there was no hope for these young girls in Israel from an earthly perspective. Naomi was open and honest with them in putting forth the reality of truth, not giving them any false hope. We must always remember what God tells us in His Word concerning truth, and that is, ..."The Truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). In Ruth 1: 12, Naomi reminds the girls that she was too old to have a husband, she was probably closer to the age of thinking about retiring, surely, not marrying and having a family. If she could have a husband and even children, would the two widows stay unmarried? She was in a difficult state not being able to do much of anything for them. Her GRIEF must have been GREAT, for she had grown so very fond of them both, especially in relationship to leaving them behind.
In her GRIEF, found in verse 13, she judges herself, and reflects upon her daughters-in-law and their suffering. She believes that God has gone against her, as she says ..."my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me". Naomi wanted them to listen to her, she was out for their best interest as young girls, and that is why she kept PERSUADING them to go back to their mother's house, so that they might not continue suffering any longer as widows, since their present trial, was no fault of their own.
When we as believers are going through some troubled waters or through some type of dilemma that we find ourselves in, and thus, we are suffering, let us at that time, remember the glorious and wonderful testimony exhibited in the life of Naomi. She did not draw others into suffering for any selfish reason on her part. This is when you and I need to listen to The Voice of our Lord Who will not guide us wrongfully, and Who is always out for our own good, and the good of others. Now, ... THE DECISION that the young women would make would change their lives forever and completely. In verse 14, they both lifted their voices and wept again.
ORPAH CHOSE TO GO BACK to her mother's place. She kissed her mother-in-law, showing that she cared and had love for Naomi. But, what Naomi said only strengthened RUTH'S DECISION. For we read that ..."RUTH CLAVE TO NAOMI". Two different choices made by two different women. Apparently, Ruth's commitment to Naomi was far deeper than simply family ties. Those who seem to be obedient and believe only for the sake of relatives or friends, are not truly commited to The Lord and especially not to His service .
The Lord tells us in Joshua 24:15, ..."Choose you this day whom ye will serve". We make choices every day to follow and serve or not to follow and serve The Lord ... May we make the right choice each day of our lives. In verse 15 of chapter one, Naomi continues to PERSUADE RUTH to go back with her sister-in-law, ..."Behold thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods". Let us stop for a moment and consider this, when we break off communion with our Lord, whether it is in the area of not attending services, or putting aside our own personal Bible Study and prayer time. We surely begin to invite terrible problems into our life.
When and if this happens, then, our devotion to God, is replaced with the things that we formally embraced or involved ourselves with when we walked in darkness. In our text, there is a clear example for us in ORPAH'S life, as she goes back not only to her mother's place, but as it is written, to her GODS. Orpah was outwardly willing to go, but obviously, not from her heart, on the other hand, Ruth shows forth a different character of spirit.
As we read in verse 16-17, Ruth puts an end to the conversation with Naomi as she unfolds her PROFESSION of faith, as well as her DEDICATION to The God of Israel. Ruth clave to Naomi and begs her to say no more against her following after her, ..."Entreat me not to leave thee". She loved Naomi not for her riches, (for she was poor), not for her outward appearance (for she was old), but I believe that she was drawn to Naomi for her wisdom and grace that only could come from The Lord God of Israel, as He directed her life. What a wonderful testimony of faith that we have in The Lord spoken of by Ruth in verse 16. As she says ..."Where thou goest, I will go"..."Where thou lodgest, I will lodge:..."Thy people shall be my people"... (like Abraham) going to a country that she had never seen, and lastly, and most importantly, ..."and Thy God, my God", what she in essence was saying, is, farewell to all the gods that she had previously known in Moab.
What a wonderful outward testimony of what had transpired in her heart. She fell in love with the God of Israel Who is the only true and living God . Naomi was a powerful witness unto Ruth. In conclusion, Ruth says..."Where thou diest, will I die". She was saying, even when you are gone, I will remain faithful. She further states, let my last days be like yours. Ruth did not want her body to be carried back to Moab to be buried. I will never leave you, your land, or, your God is what Ruth was saying to Naomi. What a power statement to make..."I will never leave you". Our precious Lord Jesus comforts us with these words in Hebrews 13: 5 ..."I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee". Ruth made a life time commitment with The God of Israel, and in turn, He made a life time commitment with her, so also, He does with everyone that will say 'YES' to Him. It is a forever decision, as we are told in the Book of Romans chapter 11, and verse 29 ..."For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance".
(to be continued).
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