I am finishing preaching through the Book of Ruth at my church and I’ve been struck by how God works in the life of Ruth and Naomi when they are unaware of it. They encounter a series of trials and tragedies (famine and death being the main two), yet God works in the midst of these circumstances. The best example I can give in a devotional is in Ruth 2 when Ruth decides to go and gather grain in the field of a benevolent farmer. Of all the fields she goes to, Ruth ends up in the field of Boaz who would later marry Ruth- redeeming her and Naomi and preserving a family lineage that goes through David, Solomon, and ultimately Jesus.
As I read the text, what saved Ruth was not her decision to collect grain, but that God was at work paving the way for Ruth to encounter blessings and redemption.
The Psalmist writes:
“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength is cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.” -Psalm 33:16-19 (NIV)
The Psalmist writes that kings, warriors, and even horses cannot save themselves and reminds us that the only one we should put our hope is His unfailing love.
This is a reminder to me, that regardless of my circumstances, regardless of my place in my life that salvation, redemption, and blessings come from God. There are certainly times when it is easy to give God praise, and there are times when it is difficult as well. But even in the difficult times, God is at work in my life. I must train my eyes and my heart to see how God is working trying circumstances and trust God that when one door closes that He will open up another. Ruth stepped out in faith in the midst of trials and tragedy and found redemption. I must continue to put my faith in God, to fear God, even in the difficult times and look to God for my salvation and redemption.
The Psalmist ends with this prayer of blessing:
“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” -Psalm 33:20-22 (NIV)
This Holy Week, whether you are walking in the highlands or in the deserts of life, I pray that the unfailing love of God would rest upon us.
Steve LaMotte is pastor of Hope United Methodist Church and Chaplain at Wesley College- both in Dover, Delaware. Steve was introduced to Delanco Camp by his wife, Andrea, who attended as a teenager. Steve has been an evangelist, Bible study leader, and worship leader at Delanco. He sometimes blogs at www.stevenlamotte.me and can be followed on twitter at @steve_lamotte. Image, via CreationSwap.