Ruth 1:22 (New International Version)
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
Yes, I confess: I just read the book of Ruth tonight. Those of you with the Marathon of Biblical Proportions "Tour Sheet" will know, that is the reading for March 26th.
I haven't exactly been lagging behind--in a heap at the side of the road is more like it.
I don't quite know what happened, but it might have something to do with the daily reports from Paul of how far ahead he is. He is now far into June's readings; he's somewhere in the Psalms. Although I smile and nod every time he gives me an update, I find this strangely discouraging, as if there is no hope of catching up, so why even try?.
This isn't Paul's fault, it's just me being silly. Well, I've decided that I'm giving myself a shake and I'm marching to the beat of my own drummer.
God made me contemplative; I can't help it. I am a ponderer and I love to linger over words, allowing a single sentence to speak to me. And even more, I love God to speak to me through a single sentence.
Tonight I read the beautiful story of Ruth and found myself thinking of all that is hidden in the words at the end of chapter 1. So Naomi returned...accompanied by Ruth...arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
I mean, isn't that a gripping way to end a chapter? Doesn't it just make you want to turn the page to see what happens next?
As I lingered over those words, especially, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning, I thought of how the words set the stage for the unfolding story. There was nothing random, from the point of view of God's purposes, in the time of Naomi and Ruth's arrival in Bethlehem, for through following the harvesters as a gleaner, humbly gathering what was left behind; Ruth would find the kind man who would take her under his protection; a kinsman. And later he would take her as his wife.
And so it is with our stories. When we humbly submit our lives to God, as we know Ruth did from her well known words in chapter 1:16: Your people will be my people and your God my God; we are under his protection and covering. We can be at peace and know that all is well. We need not worry that we are the mercy of random fate, or chance. God has a plan and an agenda for our lives and he is aware of and cares for, our needs.
Matthew 6:31-32 (New Living Translation)
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
Psalm 131:2 (New Living Translation)
2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.