Women of Integrity: Ruth I

Never have I met a woman display integrity more powerfully than Ruth. [Ruth 1]

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The story begins with a man and his wife, Elimelech and Naomi along with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion together.  They were Jews of Bethlehem (Ephraimites), and situations happened that a famine broke out in region of Bethlehem.  Keep in mind that Bethlehem is also called “the House of Bread,” but there was no longer any bread there and Elimelech and Naomi had some hard decisions to make.  So Elimelech, Naomi and their two sons packed up and made their way to the country of Moab.  Food was certainly in abundance here, but also was many gods and false teachings.  No time had gone by and Elimelech dies, leaving Naomi a widow. Though this was a tragedy, Naomi still maintained hope, for her two sons were alive and well.

Naomi two sons Mahlon and Chilion then marries Ruth and Orpah, both Moabites, and for ten years Naomi, her sons and daughters-in-law lived quietly and peacefully in Moab.  Life was starting to look up, but tragedy struck a second time, and Mahlon and Chilion die also.

Now both Ruth and Orpah are young widows.  But how is Naomi suppose to respond to this.  She lost her husband, now both of her sons die.  There were tragedies all around!

Meanwhile, Naomi hears “in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread.” (Ruth 1:6)  Do take note, that Naomi maintains and acknowledges God as her “Lord” despite the travesties occurring all around her.

So, Naomi begins her journey back home to Bethlehem. Ruth and Orpah by her side, but not long in Naomi turns to her daughter-in-laws and says in not so many, Turn around.  Return to your parents home. Go! (Verse8)  Naomi thanks them for their kindness to her and their deceased, and concludes, “The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”   Ruth and Orpah both begin to weep on Naomi’s shoulder and to say in verse 9 “Surely we will return with you to your people.”

But Naomi repeats, “Turn back, turn back.” If I should say I have hope and bear a son tonight, would you wait for him to grow up to take him on as husband.  Hope had depleted.  Naomi had just lost her dearest loved-ones, and now she saw no hope in her life.

At Noami’s insistence (verse 14) , Orpah kisses Naomi (goodbye), but Ruth clings to Naomi. 

1.   A woman of integrity shows compassion and genuine empathy to others around them.

With Orpah now gone, Naomi in a final attempt to rid Ruth as well says, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” (verse 15)

Ruth’s compassion is great and very evident in the statement we are about to see.  Ruth may have been humble, but by no stretch of the imagination was she weak.  Ruth tells Naomi,

Entreat me (Urge me) not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you
For wherever you go, I will go
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God

And right when you think Ruth’s pledge to support and love Naomi was confined to as long as she lived, you hear her commitment also extending into her death.

Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”

In this passage here, the name “Lord” who Ruth seals her vow is translated Yahweh– showing that Ruth’s her allegiance no longer lie to the gods of Moab, but to the God of all heaven and earth (Isaiah 37:16, Genesis 1:1)

As a woman of integrity, Ruth meant every word that she said and lived up her vow.  But we shall see what became of the tragedies and heartaches.  [TO BE CONTINUED]

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

– Matthew 5:3 & 7

The Power of Mercy!

Imagine a lender that you owe ten-thousand dollars telling you, “Don’t worry about it.  Your debt is forgiven.”

Ever experienced mercy? I mean real, genuine, powerful mercy.

Mercy is defined as a kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could (or should) be treated harshly.1  which is in essence, not getting what you deserve or punishment that is withheld.

Here’s a story of mercy from John chapter 8….

There was a woman, who after her husband had left home (for work perhaps), received a knock on the door.  She knew who it was, and that it was wrong, but still tells this other man to “Come in.”

Next thing, a group of men looking through her window noticed what she was doing.  Ran to the front door, hitting and insisting, “Open up!  Open up!”  She and the man scramble for their clothes.  She goes to see who is outside, when they bust through the door, grabs her by her collar and begins to pull her outside into the street.  Immediately she thinks, “How did they know!” “How did they find out!”  In unison the men begin to repeat, “Guilty! Guilty!  Guilty!”  Then she starts to hear the whispers surround, “she is guilty of adultery,” “she is an adulterer!” The whispers increase, people start making faces and spitting on her.  Others push, laugh and talk some more.   But then it happened, and her heart sinks as a voice in the crowd shouts, “Stone her.”  The crowd shouts, then start picking up rocks and stones.  “She is guilty, she must be stoned,” echoes through the flog and the crowd enlarged more as more people pick up stones and sticks, chanting, “Stone her. Stone her.”  As she comes to grip with the stark reality that her life is about to end, the story takes an unexpected turn.  Listen to her:

“I thought they would take me to a cliff or some open field to begin stoning me, but instead they pushed me in front of a man.  A rather simple-dressed, average-looking man.  Then the leader shouted,

“Master, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery.  The law of Moses commanded us that she should be stoned! What do you say?”

This man did not respond.  He did not say a word.  He just stooped to the ground and began as it seems to write in the clay.  The leader of the group and a few people taunted him, and repeat my charges again to this man, “This woman was caught in adultery.  What do you say?”

Then the man stood up and said,

“He who is has not sinned, let him throw the first stone!”  I was amazed and in awe.  People began dropping their stones and walking away.  Then when the crowd was all gone, the man turned and looked at me and said, “I do not condemn you either. 

“Go and sin no more.” 

When everyone else wanted to condemn me, he saved me.  When everyone else spoke against, spit and laughed.  When everyone else wanted to stone me.  He is different from everyone else.  Afterwards, I asked Mary and John, who this man was, and told me, Jesus.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

–          John 15:13

Do you know him?

It is simple

Confess your sins to him, and

Believe that he died in your place.  And you will be SAVED!  – Romans 10:9

And turn in for more words of encouragement and the word of God here!

AMAZING GRACE!

I can hear the singer Chris Tomlin now sing the words:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. 

I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.

Wow.

Ephesians 2:4, 7-8 says,

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us….That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding RICHES OF HIS GRACE in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God….”

OUT OF ALL the things people have given me and the awards people have presented to me. Or anything could EVER receive: the Grace of God surpasses them all!  We can see here that God is rich in three areas:  God is rich in Mercy.  God is rich in Love.  AND God is rich in Grace.

Money, Fame, THAT position on the job, cars, houses in Beverley Hills, and a yacht just won’t satisfy the longing in each person’s heart!

Don’t give me a Car!  Give me a Savior.

Don’t give me gold and expensive jewelry! Give me a Protector!

Don’t give me fame and all the publicity this world has to offer!  GIVE ME A REDEEMER!

— Do not give me things that take up a lot of space in my house, but doesn’t give an inch of satisfaction in my soul! —

The point is I was a Wretch. Sinner. Undone. Quite proud and Very selfish.  Thinking I was righteous on MY OWN acts and account.  But far from redeemed until I heard the good news: Jesus died, that I might live! Jesus took on my sin with his death, and because he arose from the dead, I too will live forever with him and all I must do is BELIEVE on him.

May be you were born Saved! Holy and literally an angel delivered from heaven.  BUT I WAS NOT!

I needed a Savior, I needed GRACE.  Amazing grace from God, to redeem my soul from Hell!

And to think that while I was still in sin, Jesus died for me! What a gift of GRACE!

—-Blessings.

 

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