I am preparing to teach a class on Ruth next week. So I have been reading and re-reading the book of Ruth to find hidden treasures I may have missed over the years. I have got to say that Ruth is one of my favorite women from the Old Testament. Her faith, commitment and submission to God fascinates me.
But after reviewing her life again, one thing that popped out to me unlike the last 20 times I have read the book of Ruth, is that she was in Moab. Now, I have always known she was born in Moab and lived there. But – she did not choose to live in Moab, that is where she was born. Contrary to Naomi, who chose to go to Moab knowing the spiritual implications.
Yet both of these women despite their differences were in Moab, this ungodly place together. The point I want to highlight is that we all have been in a spiritual, physical or emotional Moab at some point in our life. Sometimes we are there because of our own bad choices and sin and other times we are there because of an injustice or hardship that has come upon us.
But God used Ruth regardless of her Moab life. And she ends up being the star of the show, used by God in an amazing way. Naomi despite her bitterness and complaining attitude towards God is also used during this process of redemption.
Not only that, but in chapter 4 of Ruth it says that God opened her womb. Meaning that she was barren for the years she was married to Naomi’s son in Moab. Moab was a God forsaken place and its people where known for all kinds of wicked sins. Yet Ruth being a Moabite developed such a faith in God that even proved to be greater than that of her mother in law.
The point here is that had children been born to them in Moab, Jesus would have never been born. It’s because Ruth in faith followed her mother in law that she is redeemed by Boaz and from his line comes King David and then Jesus. But God had purposefully closed her womb because she could not have a child or children in the sinful city of Moab. God opening her womb towards the end of the book is significant of his new blessing for Ruth after she left the sinful city of Moab and has now been redeemed by Boaz just as Christ redeems us, his bride.
There is so much more I would like to share and say, but for now I will just remind you that you can be used by God and be blessed by His perfect provisions all the days of your life, regardless of your Moab experience. From the life of Ruth we learn that there is hope for the weary soul and the one whose burden is heavy. God can redeem any situation if you trust Him and entrust your life to Him.
So let me end by asking you: What is your Moab?
Are you suffering right now or in a situation that seems unbearable? If so, call out to God and let Him lead your path and He will take you by the hand, as a dad holds the hand of a little child who is crossing a dangerous intersection. It may not be easy to pray or ask God for direction at first when you are in Moab, but try reading the word for encouragement and then ease into prayer. You can also pray the Psalms if your own words don’t flow from within. This is something I have done in extremely difficult times where the only thing coming out from inside were my tears. In times of pain, anguish or despair you may find solace in praying the Psalms as if they were your heart’s own words to God.
Here are a few Scriptures I recommend for encouragement and reading during difficult times.
Deuteronomy 33:12 The BELOVED of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. – What a beautiful image of Gods beloved resting between the shoulders of Almighty God. Reminds me of when my little one is crying and upset, he nestles his head on his daddies shoulder.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
Psalm 145:18-19 Yahweh is close to all who call on Him—to all who call on Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him: He will hear their cry and save them.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who are weary and weighed down with heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in spirit. Indeed, you will surely find rest in Me! My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God (Yahweh), the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint; and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but those who wait for Yahweh shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.
May you and yours be blessed!