25 Days of Christmas – It’s a Matter of Choice – Ruth
Last weekend my husband and I took the sons of dear friends of ours out for a little bowling while our friends got to spend some time alone. I’m not sure who had more fun, by I know I had a blast. I really enjoy spending time with their boys and I know they love spending time with us too. While we were bowling, the oldest boy commented that even though we weren’t related, he felt very close with us, as if we were. I told him that it was because we were indeed family. God brought us together and that bond is as strong as any bond of blood.
What if you could choose your family? Some of those in our family would probably get left out. I’m sure most people would add at least one wealthy or influential relative. Well our story today is from the book of Ruth. Like the other women who were listed in the genealogy of Jesus that we have examined so far, Ruth was not of the Jewish race. She was a foreigner from Moab. She married into the family of Naomi while they lived in Moab during a time of drought in Israel. Naomi had a husband she loved and two sons who each married foreigners. Hard times hit the family and all three men died leaving the ladies widows, a dangerous situation especially in those days. Naomi released her two daughter-in-laws to return to their families while she would return to her people. The one went home. Ruth refused.
Wedding ceremonies often quote from Ruth1:15-17 ” And she (Naomi) said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “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. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” It’s a beautiful quote and signifies love and loyalty. But it also signifies so much more. Ruth came from a people who believed in gods other than the God of Israel. After living with her husband and Naomi’s family she came to know of the One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When told to return to her own people and hence her old gods, she couldn’t do it. She choose to follow Naomi and her God. She choose the God of Israel!
It might have been easier to leave Naomi and return home, but Ruth chose the right path, the path to God. And God rewarded her. I’m not going to tell you the whole story. You will have to read the book of Ruth to get that but I will tell you that Ruth will marry a righteous Jewish man named Boaz. He was the son of Rahab from yesterday’s devotion. And Ruth would bear a son herself, Obed. Obed has a son named Jesse and Jesse has many sons one of which is David who becomes King of Israel and and ancestor of Jesus Himself! I think Ruth choose well.
Ruth aligned herself with Jehovah, God of Israel. She choose Him. But in reality, God chooses us first. He draws us to Himself and allows us to choose if we will be His or go off to our own persuits. God doesn’t want robot followers. He wants us to choose to accept. He’s already decided to choose us. Christmas is a reminder that He came for us. He came for you! If you were the only person on the earth He would have gone through it all just for you. Now it’s your choice – do you want to be part of His family? We’re different. Some of us are pretty strange. But we are His! And we could always use a few more brothers and sisters. Welcome home!