Reading: Ruth 1-4
Summary: God’s eternal plan encompassing all of humanity’s redemption through His Son, who would one day come to earth, is carried out through individuals. Some of those people are among the most unlikely of persons. It would seem that all God has done and plans to do is teetering in the balance of the life of a person wholly unsuited for such immense consequences. Yet, there they are; people like Naomi and Ruth.
True to form, God incorporates the “wrong” people into His story. Ruth isn’t even from Israel: a foreign woman, widowed and impoverished, who casts her lot with her embittered mother-in-law and takes a key role in the storyline leading us ultimately to Jesus.
Nobodies of the World, Unite!
Too many people labor under the notion that you have to be somebody to be somebody.
Our cultural religion–celebrity worship–has led us to think that the only important people are the ones who possess celebrity status. We’ve convinced ourselves that these are the real “somebody’s” in life.
Wrong. Or as my mentor and life-coach, Barney Fife, would say, “Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong” (he’s eloquent like that).
We know about Ruth because a book of the Bible is named for her and hers is a fascinating story of beauty and devotion and God’s providence. And, not to mention, she is one of only three women named in Jesus’ genealogy–outside of His own mother (Matt. 1:5; another, Bathsheba, is alluded to, but not named).
Who was Ruth? A nobody.
From the perspective of Israel, she was a foreigner (a Moabitess), the widow of Naomi’s deceased son whom he married when the family left Bethlehem for Moab–itself a move of questionable integrity. In Naomi’s own words she had left home “full” but was returning “empty” (Ruth 1:21). All this widow and now childless woman had was one daughter-in-law.
As such, these two women were virtually helpless. Their only recourse was the provisions of the Mosaic Law for the poor–to glean the fields (pick up what was left over) following the harvest. One could hardly be any more of a “nobody” than Ruth and Naomi.
But we know Ruth as anything but a nobody. Israel’s perspective on this poor woman is not the important one. God’s is the one that counts.
In the same way our culture’s perspective on people is not the one that matters; it’s God’s.
To use Paul’s words, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are” (1 Cor. 1:27-28).
That’s reason for all of us “nobody’s” to rejoice!