I have been on vacation for a month and a half. But, God has always been at work. (Happy New Year by the way!!)
This week, He had me reading the Book of Ruth. And, when I say reading, I mean I had to take a chapter a day and analyze what I read. I kept trying to figure out why as I've read this book, taught out of this book, been preached to out of this book. I thought I knew all there was to the book of Ruth. The love story of hope. Yet, God in His infinite wisdom had me change my focus. This time, I wasn't reading from Ruth's perspective nor from Boaz's. This time, God had me look at Naomi and when He said look, He meant see her.
What I began to realize was that Naomi had a light, one so deeply bedded in her that had people gravitated to her. Even when she didn't see it or feel it. Even when she thought she had nothing more to give (Chapter 1 - "11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons—13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!"). What Ruth saw, more importantly, what God saw was the light that Naomi thought was diminished because her husband and sons had died. In understanding the text, during those times women had no voice in their lives and their mere existence was to be a wife and mother. They were used as battering tools so families could make alliances between each other. The women of today couldn't fathom how difficult it had to have been to have no voice. Yet, during this time, a woman, Naomi, thinking less of herself, was a power source, a force to be used for the Lord's pleasure.
As the story goes, Ruth refuses to leave her and travels to Bethlehem with her. Upon arrival, the "whole town was stirred" (1:19 NIV) because of their return. No, because of her return. They didn't know Ruth, had no idea of who she was. But they knew Naomi whom even in her bitter state was shining a light from the depths of her sole that drew people to her. Have you ever been down in spirit and people kept coming to you? Kept trying to be in your presence? You wanted to be left alone, yet, couldn't find a space to be left alone? This is because your light won't diminish. When God has put a light within you, you can't just snuff it out because you are having a bad day. Accept your light even though it seems bleak right now.
Chapter 2 proceeds with explaining that the women found lodging and Ruth goes out to work in the fields to find them food. Pay attention to this chapter. As Ruth comes home and tells Naomi whose field she was working in, Naomi tells her to work only for Boaz, their close relative. Her light has just increased. Even during a time of lowness in our lives, wisdom should prevail. Even when she was low in spirit, she had enough in her to give Ruth proper guidance. Listen, if the people in your circle can't guide you even when hell is breaking loose in their lives, remove them from your circle. Their light isn't God given. Its powered by batteries that will die out slowly.
Chapter 3 is where some have debated the Book of Ruth. "1One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.(NIV)”. Some will say that Naomi had Ruth seduce Boaz. But these haven't studied the customs of the time. See when a man died, his closest male relative had the right to marry his widow and secure his inheritance. When Boaz discovered her at his feet, she asked him to "Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.” (3:9 NIV). In stating this, she was asking him not to lay with her but to cover her as a hedge of protection in an offer of marriage as he was the guardian-redeemer, meaning, he had the right to marry her and take the inheritance of her late husband. In her love for Ruth, Naomi was not leading her to be a harlot. She was seeking provision for her. Think back to Chapter 1, her concern for her Ruth and Orpah following her was how she could ensure that they had husbands to provide for them. Your inner circle should be pushing your next. They should know that you have so much more in store and should be at your back with wisdom and guidance according to the Word of God.
Chapter 4 is where we see Naomi's light in full effect. Boaz marries Ruth and they have a baby. "16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it." Listen, God does things for a reason. In reading this, I asked God why it was shown that the baby nursed from Naomi. Here is what I heard from the throne room: The babe needed nourishment from the power source. This babe would be grandfather to David who would be king. One described by God as a man after His own heart. Get it. His lineage had be to connected to power - to light. The town people already knew Naomi was a blessing - remember how they greeted her in Chapter 1. They saw her light. This was the outward demonstration of what was always in her. Listen, if your circle isn't proclaiming what God has deposited in you - Let Them Go!!! They should see your goodness even when you don't.
We all go thru. We all can have a day, season, month, year of bad times. But, those instances (and yes, I called them instances) of time should never stop us from being whom we are destined to be.
Be A Blessing and Not Just Blessed
- - Nakya