(June 2, 2020)
From Ruth 1:16 “…For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God…”
Yesterday Naomi offers her two daughters-in-law a gift: the freedom to remain. Orpah accepts it; Ruth doesn’t. …But why the difference?
It is easy to understand Orpah, isn’t it? Why would she leave her home, her church, her friends, and her place in society? Why leave what is familiar for the unknown? From one point of view, it makes all the sense in the world to stay. She is far more likely to have the life she wants: to remarry and have children if she remains.
So what about Ruth? Why does she leave everything?
Why is she willing to leave behind the familiar – her country, her home, her family, her people, her culture… everything. All of this she willingly gives up for what is unknown. Unknown, except for the fact that she can be fairly sure that she will have trouble fitting in. (Recall Deut 23:3). Yes, she cares about Naomi, but is that reason enough?
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There is only reason for Ruth to leave: God’s Call.
The question with one’s sense of call is not, “Do I want it?” This is God’s decision. And hopefully it is not a question of obedience; it does not turn out well to resist it. (Just ask Jonah.) The only question is: What is God doing in my life today?
This has always been the path for the one who follows God. We lay down our wants – knowing that God both cares about them and knows them – as we trust that God’s way is best. It is hard because it is a journey into the unknown. It will involve a cross. It is bigger than us. All of which is another way of saying it requires trust.
And that is when we realize the striking parallel between Ruth and Abraham:
“…For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God…” – from Ruth 1:16
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.’” – Gen 12:1
It is the same pattern for us. That is when we realize that our true home is never in a place, our comfort or the familiar. It is only found in the arms of God. And that is exactly where every call from God leads. …Would you want to resist it, even if you could?
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Father, may we embrace Your call just as You embrace us. May we live as people of faith — may we live as the family of Abraham, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.