April 8 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“…Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried…”
~Ruth 1:16-17

The book of Ruth gives us a glimpse into the everyday lives of Israelites during the period of the judges (note verse 1:1). It is a story of loss, of coming home, of undying friendship, of love, of God’s care for an Israelite woman named Naomi and her Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth. It is a story that tells us that God has not abandoned His people and that not all people have abandoned God, even in these dark times.

The book opens with a brief family history, but the story really begins when the Moabitess Ruth clings to her mother-in-law Naomi and utters her now famous promise of faithfulness (Ruth 1:16-17). Naomi is returning to Israel heartbroken and destitute so Ruth’s decision to remain at her side means sharing in her poverty. It is the younger woman who goes to work in the barley fields picking up leftover grain behind the harvesters.

The young foreigner working in Boaz’s field captures his attention. (There are many women working in the field.) Maybe it is her work ethic that intrigues him or some kindness she shows to the person next to her. Perhaps he simply finds her attractive. When Boaz says, “Who does that young woman belong to?”, one can imagine him asking with great personal interest (v. 2:5)! Perhaps its love at first sight!

God blesses Ruth with a husband, a man who is godly, kind, and wealthy. God provides for Ruth and Naomi in the most unexpected way, and Naomi’s bitterness is turned into blessing. But neither the story nor the blessings end at the wedding. Ruth has a son, Obed, who is the father of Jesse. Jesse’s son is David, the great king of Israel. From him comes the line of the Messiah, Jesus, the eternal King.

God blessed Naomi in her bitterness. He blessed Ruth in a strange land. He blessed Boaz with a loyal and beautiful wife. He blessed the nation with a king. He blessed all of us with the Messiah. Was it coincidence that a boy met a girl reaping in his field? God providentially brought together a Moabite woman and an Israelite bachelor to provide for His people in amazing ways. And He is still at work blessing His people through circumstances that seem coincidental but are, in fact, providential. If you have been blessed, bless the Lord! If life is hard right now, trust in the One who controls all things. The field in which you are working may yet yield a bountiful harvest of good things!

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.