by Verena Johnson
Click here to download your printable verse to carry with you today.
May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge (Ruth 2:12b).
I love the story of Ruth. Ruth is a young widow who leaves everything she has ever known to accompany her mother-in-law, Naomi, back to her homeland. Naomi thought she had lost everything, but she gained a devoted companion and carer in Ruth. God’s hand was already at work in Naomi’s life.
Naomi doesn’t see it, of course; she has lost all hope. All she can see is her losses. ‘I went away full, but I came back empty’. She is very bitter and blames God for everything, ‘The Lord has afflicted me, the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me’. She even changes her name to Mara, which means ‘bitter’!
Even though Naomi is no advertisement for her God, Ruth declares, ‘Your people will be my people and your God my God’.
This Moabite foreigner takes refuge under the wings of the God of Israel that Naomi had written off and was so upset with. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Naomi’s God becomes Ruth’s God. Ruth is like a ray of hope and light in the dark cloud of bitterness enveloping Naomi.
Enter Boaz – a relative Naomi had obviously forgotten. This godly man brings another ray of hope and light into Naomi’s darkness, one she actually notices. God is at work again.
Boaz asks God to repay and reward Ruth for what she has done, and God does. To cut a long story short, God blesses Ruth and Naomi so greatly and obviously that even Naomi has to see it and acknowledge it. Finally, her bitterness is banished.
Bitterness is subtle and insidious. It grows in us bit by bit until its darkness envelops us if we let it. Bitterness can blind us to anything good and rob us of all hope. Bitterness can also lead us to blame God and turn away from him instead of turning to him.
God wants us to turn to him and give him our bitterness. If we take refuge under his wings, we will see rays of hope and light from God that will break through and banish any darkness. We will see his hand and be reminded that he is still at work. Under his loving wings, there is comfort, peace and healing.
Loving God, thank you that you keep loving us even if we’re bitter or we blame you. Thank you that we can find refuge under your wings. Thank you for the comfort, peace and healing we find there. Amen.