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Chosen by God

    While God was helping his leaders bring revival to Israel, he was also at work in the country of Moab, a longtime enemy of Israel. During a famine in Israel, an Israelite named Elimelech moved his wife and two sons to Moab, and there Elimelech died. Later, his son Kilion married a young Moabitess named Ruth, and then he also died, leaving Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, as widows.

Ruth said, “Don’t beg me to leave you or to stop following you. Where you go, I will go. Where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. And where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. I ask the LORD to punish me terribly if I do not keep this promise: Not even death will separate us.”
RUTH 1:16-17

“The LORD searches all the earth for people who have given themselves completely to him.”
    The people of Moab worshiped a horrible idol named Chemosh — a hideous-looking fire god. Ruth was likely raised worshiping this idol, but as part of Naomi’s family, she had come to know something of Naomi’s God, the God of Israel. While still grieving over the loss of her husband and sons, Naomi decided to return home to Bethlehem alone, but Ruth refused to leave her; she was determined to stay with this lady she had grown to love. Without concern for her own future, Ruth promised to remain with Naomi, to live among Naomi’s people, and to devote herself to Naomi’s God. After Naomi saw she couldn’t dissuade her, the two of them made the long trek back to Bethlehem.

    As soon as they arrived, Ruth did what she could to provide food for the two of them, gleaning in the fields with others who were in need. Even though she was home, Naomi was sad, but her spirits revived when she discovered that Ruth had attracted the attention of a rich landowner named Boaz, a relative of Naomi. Israelite law required close relatives to provide for widows, so Naomi instructed Ruth to appeal to Boaz for provision. It wasn’t long before wedding plans were made. Ruth’s devotion to Naomi’s people and Naomi’s God was rewarded in her lifetime and blessed future generations as she became the great-grandmother of David, the greatest king in Israel’s history.

Reflection: All people are important to God. We have to go all the way back to Abraham’s nephew, Lot, to connect Ruth with God’s people. The people of Moab were descendants of Lot, but for generations they had forgotten the God of Abraham. Still, when Ruth turned to Naomi’s God, he not only accepted her into his holy nation, he gave her a prominent place in the family’s history.

    God didn’t choose the people of Israel because of their worth; he chose them because he loved them. And he chooses us because he loves us. God always has his eyes open, searching the earth for people who seek to know him.

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About the Author...
Ron Rose is a noted author and Director of Faith in Families. For more details, click here.

Title: "Chosen by God"
Author: Ron Rose
Publication Date: August 29, 2000



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