THE ROMANCE OF REDEMPTION(Pt.1)

“Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you. For where you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”(Ruth 1:16 HSCSB)

There has never been a greater stirring of interest and conversation like today regarding the coming together of Jewish and Gentile believers. This should come as no surprise for those who are careful students of the Bible. The Scripture foreshadows a true coming together of a “one new man” relationship.

This is no new idea in God. It was in the LORD God’s heart from the beginning and recorded in the Old Testament and confirmed in the New Testament that He would bring together His people (Jew & Gentile believers) before the Lord’s soon return. Gentile believers are awakening to the scriptural realization that they have a responsibility as receivers of grace to be restorers of hope. The apostle Paul reminds us that the teachings of the Word of God, the Feasts of the Lord, the Covenant promises of Salvation, the Messiah—All were given to Israel. Those who are Gentile believers have entered into all of these things not by merit of works but by grace through faith. We are debtors to Israel. The prophet Isaiah records, “Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of forced labor is over, her iniquity has been pardoned, and she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”(Isaiah 40:1-2 HCSB)There is perhaps no more beautiful a story and prophetic picture of this than found in the Book of Ruth. Ruth’s story truly gives hope and insight into what I call “The Romance of Redemption”.

STORY OF LOSS

The opening scene of the Book of Ruth introduces us to suffering and loss. Because of a famine in the land of Bethlehem in Judah, a man by the name of Elimilech takes his wife, Naomi, and his two sons down to Moab to survive. His name in the Hebrew means, “My God is king”. Yet, in spite of his efforts, he and his sons die in the land of Moab. He is a witness to the one true and living God even in the land of Moab. His sons’ names are equally instructive. Mahlon in the Hebrew means “Weak, sickly or afflicted”. Kilion in the Hebrew means, “Wasting away”. Is this not the condition that many find themselves in spiritually having moved or traveled away from their “Jerusalem”(City of Peace). Often what would appear to give relief from tough and difficult situations only increase heartache, loss and sorrow. Naomi’s name is equally instructive. Her Hebrew name means “Pleasant”. But she will change her name to “Mara” which means “Bitter”, blaming the LORD God for her condition. We have to be careful that decisions and harsh circumstances around us do not create resentment and projected blame onto God and others. A root of bitterness will defile the relationships around us. If we realize this to be true, we must repent and seek God’s forgiveness (And others who have been affected) lest it spoil our future in God.

A TRUE FRIEND

Ruth, the Moabitess, was one of Naomi’s daughters in laws. She did not let her losses bury her in bitterness or an early grave. Orpah (Naomi’s other Moabite daughter in law) made other choices. Her name in Hebrew means “Back of the neck”. She turns her back on Naomi after she swore she would not leave her side, returning to her people and to her gods (idols). Ruth responded differently. Her name in the Hebrew means “Friend” or “Clinging one”. Rather than turn away from Naomi, she turns her back on her past and pursues her future in the one true God and the people of Israel. Like, the apostle Paul exemplifies, she was willing to count all things of the past as loss for the excellency of knowing Jesus, the Messiah (Read Philippians 3:7-9,12-14). In the kingdom of God losses are gain when offered up to the Lord. SEEKING Ruth dared to believe that the God of Israel, Whom Naomi had bore witness to was worth pursuing. Somehow, in the midst of her own loss and suffering, she heard and received the good news that “God was visiting His people, giving them bread”! (Ruth 1:6). In the land of Bethlehem Judah, which means “House of Bread” and “Praise”, there was a visitation from God. Therefore, Ruth who had become a true seeker after God arose leaving the land of Moab (Compromise and mixture). Her example teaches us that in God our future is always bigger than our past. She also shows us the way of faith is the way of God’s reward (See Hebrews 11:6). The Psalmist was right who declared, “Trust in the LORD and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the LORD and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.”(Psalm 37:3-5 HCSB)

© Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in anyway from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com.

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