(The Book of Ruth)
Hope grows from the soil of God’s faithfulness. It has no other reliable source. A seed of hope planted anywhere else will die.
Naomi’s bitterness sprang up from the sting of death, a weed that still threatens to choke out our hope. Left alone by a husband and two sons, she had no earthly hope remaining. All she had were two bereaved daughters-in-law who could no more give her hope than they could raise the dead.
Without hope, without any means of provision, Naomi was sure to follow her husband to the grave.
Her name meant “pleasant,” but she changed it to Mara, a name that means “bitter.” “Call me the bitter one,” she said, “because I’m empty now. God must be against me. I am without hope.”
But God was never against her. Our God gives hope to the bitter. He fills their empty cups from His own storehouse of infinite hope.
He gave Naomi a foreign daughter-in-law who chose to be a conduit of His faithful love. Like God Himself, Ruth told Naomi that she would never leave her. Ruth chose not to plant herself in the thin hope of a new Moabite husband. She knew that hope can only grow from the soil of God’s faithfulness, the One whose promises of life never fail.
And Boaz chose to care for a poor foreign widow and her bitter mother-in-law, despite having nothing to gain.
Ruth is a love story, but it’s not about romance. It is a story of the fierce and unchanging love of God.
Ruth is the story of our great Redeemer God, the One who gives hope because He can raise the dead. You and I are born under the shadow of death’s sting. We plant our hopes in the dead soil of this world, looking for life to grow from all that we can never trust. Spouses, children, jobs, money, fame. Like Naomi, we see our earthly hopes fade and die and call ourselves bitter and hopeless and alone.
We tremble with the fear of death’s sting and we cry out for redemption.
And the God of Ruth and Naomi and Boaz calls back, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will never die.” The one who trusts in Him is never without hope, because His love is unfailing. His power is infinite. Death will lose the battle.
He raises up hope from the ashes of certain death.
Boaz was the father of Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David. From the line of David came Jesus the Messiah, the King of Israel, the One who would live and die and live again. Our Savior would one day make a promise, rooted in the soil of God’s faithfulness, that those who believe in Him will never die.
There is no hopelessness in the presence of God. He makes the bitter pleasant and gives the dead their life.
Hope is rooted in the soil of God’s faithfulness. It has no other reliable source.
His love is stronger than romance. Stronger than even death. It is everlasting and perfect and it never fails.
And death will be swallowed up in victory, beaten by the everlasting love of God. Our bitterness will turn sweet, and our hopelessness will be eclipsed by His eternal hope. And like the very hope of God, those who believe in Jesus will never again have cause to fear the sting of death.
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