I was fortunate this week to have brother Rick swap Barnabas Man days with me. As I was traveling for work on Monday, Rick stepped in providing us a great post as I took on his Wednesday. Forgetting of course, today was THE 4th of JULY, almost always to be followed up by some post on Freedom, the American Pride and Glory, or similar patriotic themes. So I gotta tell you, I have 3 major posts points that I was challenged over this morning. I’ll have to pick one of those today and I’m sorry to say it’s not about America… it’s about a higher freedom available, the freedom of obedience, obedience through God and love.
15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. Ruth 1:15-18
Not the freedom verses you were imagining? Myself as well until more thought was given as to WHY Ruth said these words to Naomi. Naomi had been through some serious trials as her husband had died, and then after 10 years of living with here Daughter-in-law Ruth, her two sons, (Ruth’s husband & his brother) also died. The women were left in Moab to fend for themselves. As Naomi had heard stories of the Lord visiting people in Judah and blessing them she was committed to getting there..
7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.”14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
(previous verses in the chapter)
You see Naomi was kind and wise enough to know that these 2 widow daughter in laws of hers had no future staying with her. She knew there was no more hope for these two women if they didn’t get back to their original families. But were the ladies free to leave? of course, Naomi begged them to leave… at the end we see that Orpah ‘kissed” her mother-in-law so I assume she went ahead home to Moab… But not Ruth, she stayed.
Was she free? Yes, she was free to do as she pleased. Yet through her excessive love and loyalty to her mother-in-law, she choose to use her freedom for obedience. She choose to lay down her self needs and be available for another persons needs. She choose to sacrifice some possibilities for herself in exchange for some commitment to another.
Does this freedom to choose remind us of anything? Remind you of the cross a bit? How about of your marriage?
Heather and I recently saw these two plaques in a store in town and looked at each other and said YES! They are now hanging up in the bedroom for us to look at when we fall asleep and wake each morning…. Although the verses in Ruth point to the CHOICE that Ruth made to stay with Naomi, they are just as relevant to our marriage as Heather made a choice to STAY with me when my circumstances and choices should have driven her elsewhere. Heather made a choice, a FREE CHOICE to choose to stay… much like Ruth did for her mother-in-law.
Jesus made a choice to lay down Himself for the world, for us, for me, for you…
God made a choice to get Adam and Eve back to eternity with Him somehow, a choice to live in community with the people He created even after they CHOOSE otherwise.
July 4th, 2018 is America’s Independence Day! Happy 4th of July to everyone…. But can we agree that the cost of true freedom is DEPENDENCE Day? Dependence on the cross, dependence on the Savior, and dependence on love and commitment to others needs.