Devotion: Ruth 1:3-5In our passage this week the focus shifts to Naomi and her daughter-in-laws. We learn that the family stayed in Moab for quite some time, indeed, long enough for Elimelech and both his sons, Mahlon and Chilion to die.
"But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband." -Ruth 1:3-5 ESVThe time in Moab was at least ten years. The famine in Bethlehem we learn later had been lifted, but we are left to speculate at what point. Surely within that span of ten years, but exactly when is lost to history. What we see, then, is a family who fled to Moab as refugees and decided to make their home there. We should note that the Moabites welcomed these foreigners and the family felt at home enough to take Moabite wives for their sons.
In light of recent events concerning the rearing of the ugly head of white supremacy and anti-immigrant populism, this little passage of Ruth should stand out to us as a different way. The Scripture teaches us that in the end, the hope of Israel was to be a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:6, but also Luke 2:32). Indeed, in the hope of glory we are to see that the old dividing lines that have kept us separate are falling away until we truly are one new nation (see Galatians 3:23-29, but also 1 Peter 2:9-10), a single people under a single King, King Jesus the Redeemer!
So in this little tragic story, we see a little glimpse of this glorious future. Ruth and Orpah join Elimelech's family through marriage. The people of God take in the foreign women even as the foreign people offered refuge to the people of God. Old hatreds and even deep animosities are left aside in favor of living in peace with one another.
As the Church, we are to seek to live at peace with others. We receive into the Church all those who claim King Jesus the Redeemer as their Lord and Savior. This is the only criteria for entry into the Church--race, nationality, language, gender are of no consequence. To be sure, Ruth and Orpah will each display their character and allegiance in the next few verses. At this point in the story, however, they are received as brides of the sons of Elimelech. In the Church we welcome all who come as the bride of Christ Jesus and count them as part of our family. This mean we too may have to set aside old hatreds, prejudices and animosities, but for the sake of the glory of our Lord who will be praised by every tongue and nation it is more than worth the price. The world has enough wickedness, the Church must not add to it.
And so we leave the family in tragedy and mourning. We explore next week just how they each cope with the grief. Now, however, let's take these lessons with us for the week:
- The Church is made up of all who call on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and this is the only criteria for membership.
- We are to be a welcoming people, bringing in all who would come close to Jesus to his family.
- The vision of Scripture is to create a single people under King Jesus. It is only loyalty to our sovereign that marks as belonging and all other ways we separate ourselves from each other must be laid to rest.
News for You:
Men's Shootout, Sunday August 20 1-4 p.m.
The men of the church are invited out for an afternoon at the range (Riverside Sportman's Club). Come for some fellowship and bring a friend.
CPC at the Okanogan County Fair, September 7 – Sept 10
This year CPC will have a booth at the Okanogan County Fair. This is an opportunity for our church family to be a sign of God’s Love, a source of Joy and a beacon of Hope to those who do not yet know Jesus. Two volunteers (or a family) are needed for each 4 hour shift. There will be a signup sheet in the Fellowship Hall after Worship. Be sure to include your T-shirt size on the signup sheet. More details to come.
Adam's Road Ministry Event, September 14, 7 p.m.
The musical group Adam's Road will be at CPC soon. This group will be sharing the gospel in both testimony and music and should not be missed. Again, come out and bring some friends. The event is free (though a love offering will be taken) and everyone attending gets a free CD.