SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (August 29, 2013)
“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. YOUR PEOPLE WILL BE MY PEOPLE AND YOUR GOD MY GOD!”Ruth 1:16 (NIV).
The decision to be a Christian and to remain a Christian till Christ comes is not an easy one. It involves lots of sacrifices and hardships and no one can remain a Christian without the grace of God through his son Jesus Christ. Many people are not Christians because they are not willing to go through the many hardships that the Christian has to go through. The rich young ruler in Jesus’ time could not become Christian because he was not willing to sacrifice the things of the world for the sake of Christ. But in our passage for today, Ruth demonstrates her determination to worship the God of the Jews no matter the cost.
When the LORD visited the Jews and Naomi decided to go back to her people, she blessed her two daughters-in-law and encouraged them to stay with their people. Orpah and Ruth had to stay and leave Naomi in her bitterness to go back to her people. Both of them showed interest in going with Naomi but after Naomi had persuaded them, Orpah understood her and agreed to go back to her people.
But Ruth was not persuaded by the challenges enumerated by Naomi. She was not worried about the difficulties involved in following Naomi to Bethlehem of Judea. Probably she had seen the difference between the gods of the Moabites and the GOD OF THE JEWS AND CONSEQUENTLY DECIDED TO FOLLOW THE GOD OF THE JEWS.
Following Naomi meant Ruth may never become a mother, something every woman wished to achieve. She could also not be assured of any joy yet was very determined to go with Naomi.
Ruth pledged to make the people of Naomi her own people, thus breaking ties with his idolatrous people. Her decision to make Naomi’s God her God also shows that she broke ties with the Moabite God’s and embraced the true and living God of the Jews. Her decision to die where Naomi would die meant that she was determined not to go back to her old way of life again. She was determined to be a servant of the living God and worship Him alone till death. She was not prepared to go back to the things of the world no matter how hard things may become. This is the mark and the quality of a true repentant soul.
Christianity is a long and hard journey to make. That is why many start and cannot finish. But this does not mean we cannot finish ours as well. We can finish just as Paul and the others finished if we choose to walk close with Jesus and forsake the things of the world. The grace granted to many in the past is still available for us. We can finish faithfully with him. It is not an easy task though but we can do it because the Lord is with us. He has prepared rewards for us provided we can be a little more determined and endure the hardships that may come our way. We should not let the perceived difficulties in following Christ cause us to change our minds.
WE SHOULD NOT BE DISCOURAGED BY THE HARDSHIPS IN CHRISTIANITY; NEITHER SHOULD WE LOVE THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD MORE THAN CHRIST. INSTEAD, WE SHOULD LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE REWARDS PREPARED FOR US BY GOD.
ORPAH LOVED HER PEOPLE AND THEIR GODS, BUT RUTH LOVED GOD AND HIS PEOPLE. SHE WAS NOT PERSUADED BY NAOMI’S DISCOURAGING WORDS. SHE SWORE TO FOLLOW HER AND WORSHIP HER GOD.
WHAT IS DISCOURAGING YOU TO GIVE UP ON CHRIST?
I PRAY TODAY THAT THE LORD JESUS WILL CONTINUE TO GRANT US THE GRACE TO FOLLOW HIM TILL THE END. DETERMINE TO FOLLOW JESUS ALWAYS.
THERE MUST BE NO TURNING BACK!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.