(May 20, 2020)

Ruth 1:1In the days when the judges judged there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah went to live for a while in the country of Moab.” 

I never imagined I would write more than two months of devotionals when I began them! I thought we would be in a different place than we are with the virus today, but I wanted to have one steady, consistent rhythm in our life together in a time in which I felt rhythms were lacking.

This leads us to Ruth. Ruth lived in a crazy time that was devoid of the normal life patterns. Consider, “In the days when the judges judged…” in light of Judges 21:25, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” In other words, “In the time of the Judges” means that life was chaotic. These were not the best of times.

If things were not off to bad enough start, they get worse: Verse 1 tells us that there was a famine in Bethlehem. Now “Bethlehem” means “house of bread.” If there was one place you would think that there would be enough food, if there was one place that would be “ok,” it would be the “house of bread.” Evidently, things are so bad that there is even famine in the bread house. …Something is very wrong.

And for the triple whammy: they went to the land of Moab. For now we will simply note that Moab was not part of the Promised Land. Throughout the Torah, the people had been waiting and waiting to dwell in the Land. It was promised to Abraham; they escaped slavery and Egypt; and after many struggles they finally began to settle down and have life as it was supposed to be… that is, until they had judges, a famine, and they had to leave.

Ruth 1:1. Something was very wrong. Life was not as it should be. No one ever would have imagined life would turn out like that. …Full stop.

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So what do you do when life simply does not make sense? When life is not as it should be? The chaos has this ironic way of helping clarify what matters most. You ponder the basics. Essentials like faith, love, patience and promise. Later we see (as in Ruth) that the chaos ends up being a big part of God’s plan. We cannot see it now, but later the mess will lead us straight to Jesus.

Father, amidst our chaos, what would you say to us today? What are you doing that is more than we could ask or imagine? Reveal more of Yourself to us today, in Jesus’ name. Amen.