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Check Your Whattage

Is life looking dim?

In some of my lowest points I have found myself asking a lot of "What" and "Why" questions.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, GOD?!"

"WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME? TO MY FAMILY?!"

"WHAT CAN I DO?!"

"WHAT WILL I DO?!"

"GOD, WHY WON'T YOU HELP ME?!?!"


In my highest points, in stark contrast, I am still asking "What"; but, in a completely different tone.

"WHAT ARE YOU UP TO, GOD?"

"WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO IN THIS SITUATION?"

"WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO THROUGH ME?"

"FATHER! I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU ARE DOING!"


Okay, that last one wasn't a question, but you see where I am going? No, still need a little more light?


In the book of Ruth, someone new to studying scripture may think this book is going to be about Ruth. Chapter 1 opens with Elimelech, a man from Bethlehem in Judah (1:1-2), who has a family that is starving so they move to Moab. Short story here as Elimelech dies in the third verse. Moving on to the wife and two sons. Verse five jumps ten years ahead and now the two sons are dead. We are left with Naomi, matriarch of the family, widowed, and her two Moabite daughters-in-law, also widowed. WHAT is she to do? No men in the family to care for the three women. No children to continue the blood line. WHAT is going to happen to them?


Naomi packs up what she can haul and heads back to her homeland where "the Lord had blessed His people in Judah by giving them good crops again." (vs. 6-7) Perhaps Naomi started asking herself, "WHAT are my people going to think of me? Will they think I am accursed that God would cause my husband and sons to die? Will I be outcast because my sons married Moabite women? HOW am I going to support myself and them?" She turns to her two female companions and tells them to go home. There were tearful, heartfelt goodbyes spoken, hugs exchanged. Orpah and Ruth want to stay with Naomi but their mother-in-law tries to speak reason and urge them to go home.


"Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord Himself has raised His fist against me."


Orpah turns around but Ruth does not. One more plea from Naomi, then Ruth gets the final word.


"Don't ask me to leave you and turn back. WHEREVER you go, I will go; WHEREVER you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. WHEREVER you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!" (1:16-17)


As the two approach Bethlehem, they are greeted by the town. Scripture says (v. 19) "the entire town was excited by their arrival". Oh, to come to the end of a journey, not alone, welcomed home... But there was no light in Naomi's heart.


"'Don't call me Naomi,' she responded. 'Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?'" (vs. 20-21)


If she feared at the start of her journey that she wouldn't receive a warm welcome home, she walked into town and made certain of a bitter end. WHAT about not being alone? WHAT about having people to return to? WHAT about the new harvest season ahead to give hope? WHAT about the impact she had made in her son's widow that she would turn from all false gods to worship God of All?


I urge you to read what happens next in chapters 2-3. Harvest. Ruth working for their daily provisions. Finding favor with a wealthy relative of Naomi's. Being protected when working the fields. Land deal.


WHAT was God doing? He was preparing a redemption that would go on for ages to come!


"May you prosper in Ephrathan and be famous in Bethlehem." (v. 11)


"Then the women of the town said to Naomi, 'Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel. May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the sone of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!'" (vs. 14-15)


Almost to the closing...Don't skip the genealogy at the end of the chapter!


4:21 "Salmon was the father of Boaz. Boaz was the father of Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David."


WHAT was God doing? WHAT can God do in you and through your situation? This book wasn't about Elimelech. It wasn't about his wife, Naomi, or his sons, or even about Ruth. These were each people He worked through as He was leading up to King David, the man after His own heart, and the one God would bring His one and only Son into the world.


Naomi's suffering ended with redemption and joy. Ruth found love and protection in a field while she toiled. The Book of Ruth, a story of the coming of our Savior.


Lean in. Be still. Listen. Be captivated - God will shine a Light in your situation in His timing.

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