Advent Devotional | December 16, 2020
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” Ruth 1:16-19
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
Naomi and her family were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. That’s important because, if you remember, Judah was Joseph’s son, and the scriptures have said, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah.” Anytime you read the Bible, pay close attention to these great clues left for us by the authors. The writer of the book of Ruth reminds us twice in the first two verses that Naomi and her family were from Judah. The Judean connection is a setup for what comes next. In this story, we see Advent foreshadowed in the lives of two destitute widows. One woman is directly in the line of Jesus and living in a foreign land, and the other woman is married into the people of God. What might God do with the two of them?
When it seemed that Naomi had lost it all, the seed of the Gospel moved forward. Naomi lost both her husband and her two sons. All she had left were the wives of her deceased sons. There wasn’t much left for her to do except return to her home country. God had a plan, and it was most unexpected! Ruth had no obligation to stay with Naomi, but I think it is safe to say that God compelled her loyalty. She committed to this woman from Judah. And because of that, as the story goes, her perseverance put her in the line of Jesus.
A foreign woman committed to an impossible situation is the kind of person God includes in the coming of Jesus Christ. The hardships did not define the lineage of Jesus; instead, by the perseverance, loyalty, and unexpected way God moved, we have Jesus.
Enter the story there. Don’t let your focus this Advent season be on hard times. Ruth didn’t, and we know how that turned out for her. Let God use your loyalty to Him and your perseverance in life to encourage those around you and lead them to His great purposes.
Pastor Dave Mergens