Wednesday Dec. 11
Scripture: Ruth 1
Ruth is the third woman mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy (Matthew 1:1-17). She is a gentile (a Moabite), and the Biblical book that bears her name tells the story of how she, an outsider, become a part of God’s people.
The book of Ruth begins with the death of all three of the would-be male leading characters. Naomi’s husband and sons are gone in the first five verses. And Naomi is left with only her daughters in-law, Orpah and Ruth, both of whom are Moabites.
Because there is no longer any reason for Naomi to stay in Moab, she sets out to return home to the land of Judah and reestablish life among God’s people. At Naomi’s insistence, Orpah says farewell and does not make the journey. She will remain in Moab. But Ruth refuses to listen to her mother in-law (maybe you have that in common with her?).
Ruth’s pledge to Naomi is beautiful – “where you go, I will go; where you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16-17).
The story goes on, but we should linger over Ruth’s words to Naomi. She has also pledged faith in Naomi’s God. This is Ruth’s conversion.
As we noted in our discussion of Abraham a few days ago, faith in God is all-encompassing. It’s not merely agreeing to an abstract set of beliefs or principles. It involves everything about you. When we come to Jesus, we come just like Ruth. Ruth left her home, her people, and her old gods.
In Advent, the challenge for many of us is to ask some difficult questions: Do I have faith in Christ or just opinions about him? What have I left behind in order to follow Jesus? And what do I still need to leave behind? Which gods am I still serving in place of the one true God?
Remember, some of the false gods we serve don’t go by the name “god.” They go by good and wholesome names like security, happiness, and money. For Advent this year, let’s go on pilgrimage with Ruth.
Prayer: Thank you, O God, for bringing us on this journey in which we, like Ruth, become new. Amen