Your God my God - 7 August 2019

Ben Fourie

“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.” Ruth 1:16-17(NIV)

With the above words starts a very beautiful love story in the Bible, the story of Boas and Ruth. But there is another story about the love between Naomi and her daughter-in-law. The story begins many years before in the land of Moab. Elimelek, and his family had to move from Bethlehem to Moab after their crops failed, with a resulting famine in the land. Elimelech died in Moab, his two sons died there and his widow Naomi was left with her two daughters-in-law. After she heard about a good harvest in Judah, Naomi planned to go back to her own country. Orpah decided to stay in Moab but Ruth spoke these immortal words: “Where you go I will go … your God my God."

Ruth was to love Naomi as her mother from now on, but even more important was her decision to worship the God of Israel, leaving behind the gods of Moab. It was not strange among the heathen nations in those days to leave the god that you have worshipped for a foreign god, but there was much more behind Ruth's decision. Although she had to live in a heathen country and her sons had married girls from there, Naomi obviously kept on serving the God of her fathers. Ruth must have started to worship God with her new family and was prepared to leave her own people, family, traditions and religion behind.

But this was not her decision alone. God himself is here at work. As the story of Boaz and Ruth enfolds on the grain fields owned by Boaz (please read the entire book) we see God's hand in it all. Boaz was not a relative of Elimelek, and a wealthy man for nothing. He was according to Jewish tradition one of the next of kin who was bound to look after the wife of any deceased family member. They were called redeemers. And so the love story moves forward under God's guidance. They were married and a boy was born. He was called Obed and the Bible tells us that Obed was an ancestor to King David who was an ancestor to Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

Prayer: We thank you God that many hundreds of years before the birth of your Son you planned everything in the finest detail. He was even born in the same town where Ruth and Boaz once lived. Amen

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