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Bible Study - Ruth Chapters 1-4

Tonight I wanted to start getting to know the women of the Bible better. As I sat down on the couch with Bible and coffee in hand, I was led to Ruth - and it has made my heart so glad.

The text is literally rich with God's purpose and promise. I mean really - what other reason is there for Naomi - whose name means "my joy" - to experience such great loss. There was nothing joyous about her life at this point. She moved away from her people with her family in tow - her husband and two sons - and then just like that, one after the other after the other are gone. I imagine she felt God was extremely mad at her, at turned His back against her. I can hear her whispering in her bitter spirit - "why me"? What's the point of continuing on? I guess she better go back and see if her people will accept an old widow.

Her bitterness is seen in the way she tells her daughter-in-laws to go. Go back home. I have nothing for you. I am nothing. God has left me with nothing. This pain. This bitterness was all apart of God's plan.

At first, Orpah acts as though she will stay with Naomi, but as bitter old Naomi persists, go back to your mother and father, I have nothing for you, she sadly leaves. Sometimes people will stick around at first, but press on them a little more, let your heart show, letter your bitter heart show, and if their purpose is not tied up in you, they will leave.

Ruth, however, had her purpose all wrapped up in her staying with Naomi. So much so that the Word says she "clung" to her. Have you ever clung to something? Have you ever wanted to be with someone bad, no matter what they did you held on? Have you ever wanted something so bad, letting go made your heart sick? This was Ruth. From this comes the passage recited in so many wedding vow exchanges:

Wherever you go, I will go.....
Your God will be my God.....
Where you die, I will die.
You can only truly make a commitment like that if it is a part of your purpose.

This book becomes the perfect love story to me from here on. From Ruth and Boaz's first encounter - he becomes protective of her. When God introduces the man He has been preparing for you - He will be prepared to take care of you. Do you receive that? We jump at anyone who shows an interest in us. We are so focused on being with someone, anyone, that we jump even if they're not the one God is preparing for us. We're willing to settle. We're willing to accept that they don't have their own relationship with Christ. We make excuses and oh, we even think we can make them change. Read Chapter 2. God is preparing your mate - stop jumping.

I would have been good with that lesson right there, but this book gets even better to me. After Naomi tells Ruth how to approach Boaz and she does so in her obedience - Boaz - her prepared one - KNOWS her virtue. (v. 11). So many us ladies in waiting sometimes feel alone, unnoticed and forgotten. We are trying to do everything right and live a virtuous life, but no one is noticing. It seems as those who are "out there" get all the attention. Girl! Don't you get it? God has not designed it so that just anyone and everyone will know your virtue. He has called your prepared one to KNOW your virtue. It is for him. Stop trying to make everyone else notice.

So by now my spirit is leaping - I'm shouting about this lesson on purpose and promise. Had Elimelech lived. Had Mahlon lived - Naomi may have never wanted to return to Bethlehem. Ruth would have never met Boaz and birthed Obed - King David's grandpa. That's a lesson in and of itself, but I still had one more chapter to go. Here comes the suspense. Boaz has to first offer her to the "close relative". When he first says this up in Chapter 3, I'm like what's the close relatives name? Then in Chapter 4 is started to make sense. See what happens in life is we start giving names to the people and things that can possibly abort our destiny. We call them things like "the bimbo that stole my husband", "debt", "fear", "bitterness", "lust". We call them all kind of things and give them a name. They are so insignificant to your purpose and don't even deserve a name.

Had Boaz given this "close relative" a name, he would have given him the power in his life to abort his destiny. What happens though? At first the "close relative" is like - yeah I'll take that" but at the mention of Ruth he backs up because it would jeopardize his own inheritance. Listen to me - the thing you keep giving a name to cannot stop your promise if you stop giving it a name. At first glance it may seem as though you've lost it. The "close relative" is going to get it. Get this - at the mention of your name - every no name person and thing will go away. Your purpose and their purpose are not meant to play together.

Weeeeee!!!!! You ever see the commercial of the pig hanging out the car window screaming "weeee!!"? That's how giddy my spirit is right now!



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