Choice of Faith

Even with the death of 75% of Naomi’s family, I still feel a great relief to be out of the book of Judges! At least in the first chapter of Ruth, the deaths seem to be a bit more natural and less gruesome.

But Ruth 1 is a chapter full of choices, and I’m wondering if I have the faith to make choices based on a word from God rather than on my own reasoning (and just what is the difference between reasoning and rationalization, anyway?)

Elimelech reasoned to himself,

“there is a famine in the land God has told us to occupy, but I have a family to feed. I hear the territory God told us NOT to occupy has food. Maybe I’ll head on over there just for a wee visit and get our family some grub.”

Remember, this was during the times of the judges, and we have discovered the theme of those days were:

“Every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

So Elimelech did what was right in his own eyes and took his family to Moab. It only makes sense after all, he has a family to feed, and the place the Lord has led him to is suffering a famine.

And just like the book of Judges, death ended up being a result.

Naomi made a choice to return to the place she left. To go back to Bethlehem, which means the House of Bread. (interesting to note that the Bread of Heaven was born in the House of Bread!). Though she felt bitter, she knew her only hope was to return to where God had told them to lodge.

Orpah made a choice. The reasoning of her mother-in-law (and just what is the difference between reasoning and rationalization, anyway?) convinced Orpah that it would be a death-sentence to follow after Naomi and her God.

Ruth…ah dear Ruth. She made a choice. And oh how I desire to be like Ruth. She made a choice that presented all kinds of problems and barriers and hopelessness. Yet she made a choice to pursue after Naomi’s God.

Come poverty, singleness, permanent widowhood, abuse, hard times, homelessness, barrenness, victim of prejudice or hate…she was committed to Jehovah. It seemed she was walking right into a definite losing situation. It went against all reasoning and rationalizing. It was social suicide. And yet, she seems to have heard the Word of the Lord, and followed after it.

What a choice of faith. As Robert Chapman says,

“To act when your path is clear of difficulties is not faith,
but to act despite the difficulties the Word of God apparently creates for you…this is the kind of faith that pleases God the most.”

What a woman of Faith. What a choice of Faith. And hopefully we will see how God is going to transform this choice of social suicide into something beautiful. If He can trannsform the Cross into the Salvation of Mankind…He can transform our hard trials and circumstances into something shockingly marvelous.

O Lord, my heart trembles at the question, “do you believe in God’s transforming power?” I fear I would rather trust my own reasoning and pretend I don’t hear You, instead of making a choice of faith like Ruth did. I believe, Lord. Help Thou my unbelief.

After reading Judges 17-21, Ruth is like a lovely lily in a stagnant pool. Here, instead of unfaithfulness, is loyalty; and instead of imoorality is purity. Here, instead of battlefields are harvest fields, and isntead of the warrior’s shout is the harvester’s song. We are in for a treat with this book!

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Trinka on January 31, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Interesting way of putting it … doing what appears to be social suicide because God asks it. I think we should re-visit this post when we’re talking over ideas in May.


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