The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. (Matthew 1:1, 5)
Tomorrow, July 16, the Church commemorates holy Ruth, a woman of deep piety who followed her mother-in-law (Naomi) after losing their husbands. Ruth was a Gentile, a Moabite, and thus a stranger to Israel in more ways than one. Yet Ruth was also a believer. She confessed the following powerful words of promise to her grieving mother-in-law, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God…”
Ruth shows us a number of things about the life of faith, but perhaps the most important one is the willingness to sacrifice. She sacrifices her comfort to be a stranger in a foreign land. She sacrifices her safety and her pride, a young, widowed woman with no one to care for her as she goes about gleaning food from the harvest (the ancient world’s version of food-stamps). She sacrifices certainty of home in Moab to an uncertain future with a bitter mother-in-law. Her sacrifice is rewarded.
Through Ruth, Israel would eventually be blessed with King David, Ruth’s great-grandson. Through her, the promised Seed that would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15), Jesus Christ, would remain planted and not uprooted from God’s chosen people. Thanks be to God for Ruth and her sacrifice. Thanks be to God for Ruth and the faith she showed in her Lord!
LET US PRAY: Gracious Lord, I know there is much that I must sacrifice for the sake of your holy Name. But it is hard to let go. It is hard to move on from life as I know it to life as You want it for me. Cleanse my heart of all that deprives me of the life You give. Cleanse my mind of all the thoughts that lead me astray for Your way. Your Son has sacrifice Himself for me, help me to sacrifice whatever I need to that Jesus would be all and all in me. Amen.
Rev. Christopher Johnson