Daily D – Ruth 1:1
Ruth 1:1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.
Paul Harvey used to say on his radio show, “In times like these, it is good to remember there have always been times like these.”
Megalomaniac ruler leads the world into war? Unless you can truthfully sing along with Sam Cooke, “Don’t know much about history,” you can name names of some of history’s worst bad guys and see how much evil one man can cause. Lou Adler and Herb Alpert wrote the original lyrics to the song Wonderful World which Sam Cooke edited to add more emphasis on education. More education would make this a more wonderful world. ([https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfzpAv1hi2Y])
Education alone is not the answer to our problems, however. We have always required, and require today, people of character who step up and do the hard right things in times like these. Reading through the book of Judges, which comes immediately before Ruth in the Old Testament, we discover the bottom-line truth of the last verse:
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
Judges is full of bad people doing bad things. Yet in this season we discover two women and a man who mutually supported one another and made hard right choices. Those choices still affect us today.
Naomi, bereft of her husband and two sons, returned to her homeland empty-handed except for a loyal daughter-in-law named Ruth. Ruth was a foreigner, an outsider. She had every right to expect the worst treatment from everyone she met in that tight-knit community. Boaz took a chance on love. He took a chance on a business deal with legacy implications and a bride to boot.
This beautiful short story leads us into the lineage of King David. This same family line reaches to Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus still reaches out to all who would come.
Today you will hear bad news about what is happening in Ukraine, in Africa, and in our own communities. What will it take for the generations coming behind us to live in a better, more peaceful and life-affirming world? We need the character and commitment of men like Boaz and women like Ruth. We need people who are committed to doing the right thing the right way for the right reason in the right timing.
The most significant contribution we make to this world may not be anything we produce. It may be instead the character we live day in, day out, from now until we go the way of all the earth or Jesus returns.
Character matters. Character reshapes broken lives, broken families, broken countries, and broken government. Character shines brightest in dark seasons of conflict and confusion. Live what you say you believe. Demonstrate God’s love. Make good choices. Take care of those who have given up on life. Protect those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves outsiders in our midst.
The Book of Ruth begins with tears of grief. It ends with tears of joy. We have much to grieve today. May the way we live and the decisions we make lead to joy today and for all the days to come until our world is set right once and for all.
I will live what I say I believe.
Our Father, build your character into our lives. May we demonstrate alignment with your wisdom and attunement with your heart. May we make our corner of the universe a little brighter and better as you shine through us against the gathering darkness. Amen.
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Psalm 32:7-9 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Exodus 39:42, 43 So the people of Israel followed all of the Lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the Lord had commanded him, he blessed them.
Exodus 33:13 “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
Exodus 31:1-5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!”