Ruth – A Story of Grace 2

When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

Ruth 1.6-10

Naomi heard that the LORD had come to the aid of his people. On hearing this she and her daughters in law prepared to return home. For an Israelite there was only one ‘home’ and that was in the land God had given them and under God’s laws, land belonging to tribes and families was to be kept within those same tribes and families, so they headed back to the land of Judah. This news was therefore the ‘turning point’ in her life.

The Hebrew word שׁוּב (shuv) occurs 12 times in this chapter, translated in our English Bibles variously as ‘return’ ‘turn back’ ‘back’ and ‘brought me back’ making this a key theme running through the chapter. The same Hebrew verb is also used for ‘repent’ which is a returning to the God who made us.

So the whole idea of returning should attract our attention as we read.

In v.2 we see the family ‘going away’ to Moab. Then, after 10 years, the LORD intervenes and they ‘return’  which Naomi describes in v.21 as the LORD bringing her back.

That bringing back has a sting attached, in that she came back empty v.21,which we will pick up on later this week but for today let us meditate on the great truth that while we have life no situation is irreversible. No matter where we are, no matter what our circumstances are, if they are less than what God would have us know and delight in, we can return. 

Not only can we return but, as we shall see tomorrow, others can be blessed in our returning and God’s purposes moved forward.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

Isaiah 30.15

Those to whom Isaiah wrote these words are describes as Obstinate Children but Naomi returned freely and willingly as she heard of God’s blessing and goodness and realised that she needed to return.

Is that how you have  responded to God’s grace?

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