Saturday, April 6, 2013
God's Unlikely Plans
Ruth 4:11 Then all the people who were at the gate, along with the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you produce children in Ephrathah and bestow a name in Bethlehem;
Ruth 4:12 and, through the children that the LORD will give you by this young woman, may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
Ruth 4:17 The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Matt. 1:5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,
Matt. 1:6 and Jesse the father of King David.
Loyalty to her mother-in-law brought Ruth to the land of the Israelites. She was a foreigner and yet she wholeheartedly embraced the new people and culture into which her life had been grafted. Ruth would have been very young when she first married and apparently her husband died soon after. This girl may not even have been twenty years of age when she declared her loyalty to her mother-in-law and traveled with Naomi to her home. As a result of Ruth's faithfulness she was redeemed by Boaz.
When Boaz declared his desire to redeem Ruth and to marry her there were those within the community who declared the following prophecy: “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you produce children in Ephrathah and bestow a name in Bethlehem; and, through the children that the LORD will give you by this young woman, may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
Interestingly it is Matthew who brings Ruth into the gospel narrative of Jesus Christ. This unlikely girl becomes listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. But she is not the only one. Along with Ruth we find Tamar who became pregnant by her father-in-law and Rahab the prostitute. How is it that God could take these "outsiders" and draw them into his story, turning them into heroines? And yet it is these unlikely women who are grafted into the story and become a part of the narrative that gives birth to the Messiah.
For most of us we must have days when we feel as if we are complete misfits. Having been raised cross-culturally and having lived much of life cross-culturally (including living in America :) -- it's always been a bit of a challenge for me to figure out where I belong. I still remember that day in 3rd grade -- we had just moved to America -- and the children in the class were making fun of my clothing and the way I talked. I soon learned to listen to how those around me spoke and I tried to mimic their accents and pronunciation. I didn't want to be a misfit.
What I find amazing is that God reaches out to the misfit and within his kingdom's economy -- he perfects them. Now that's not perfection from our human understanding but that is the biblical understanding of perfection which is to be complete or completed or to fulfill the purpose for which you are created. Therefore no one has to be a misfit within God's kingdom.
God has the most unlikely plans for every single one of us but what he requires is faithfulness and loyalty to him. This is what Ruth was willing to do. Ruth followed Naomi and embraced Naomi's God out of love and devotion. She wasn't expecting to get anything out of it and so God brought her into his story. God is wanting to draw each one of us into his story on a daily basis. If we would allow that to happen we might be surprised by the unlikely plans that God has for us. It may be a bit scary stepping out in faith but his redemption and transformation are certainly worth it all.
Lord, may I walk faithfully with you every day. Amen.