The Unexpected Helper

Bible:

So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:13-17 ESV

Blessed be the Lord!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever. Psalm 28:6-9 ESV

Reflection:

Heidi was only five years old. Her parents were dead and her Aunt Dete was taking care of her. But Dete had a new job and she didn’t want to take care of Heidi anymore. So she hiked up the mountain with her to Heidi’s grandfather. Her grandfather lived alone and everyone thought he was a bad person. The people in the village didn’t think Dete should take Heidi up the mountain to her grandfather. But Heidi’s grandfather was kind to her. He took care of her and gave her a happy life in the mountains. He did good things for Heidi even though no one had expected that he would.

No one would have expected Ruth to be so good to Naomi and to take such good care of her. Ruth was just a young woman, a stranger and a foreigner. But Ruth did everything she could for Naomi. She wouldn’t leave her to go back to her parents. She worked hard in the fields so that Naomi could have food. She married Boaz so that she could continue the family line. When God gave Ruth and Boaz a son, it was almost like he gave a son to Naomi. She knew that her family line would continue. The women in her town said that Ruth was better to Naomi than seven sons. God’s plan reached far into the future. Baby Obed became the grandfather of the great King David, and many years later the promised Savior Jesus was born into that family line.

When Jesus hung on the cross, helpless and dying, it didn’t look as if he could be much help to anyone. It seemed that something must have gone wrong with God’s plan. No one would have expected the promised Savior to die like that. But the cross was the way that God used to help us through Jesus. Jesus’ death won us the forgiveness of our sins and brought us back to God forever. God’s help came from an unexpected place to give us what we needed and bring us into his family.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us Jesus, our Savior, to help us and bless us by dying for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Spyri, Johanna Heidi New York: Harper Collins, 1827.

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A Redeemer

Bible:

Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.” Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” Ruth 4:1-6 ESV

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12 ESV

Reflection:

Edward the Eighth was the king of England, but he had a problem. He was in love with a woman named Wallis Simpson and wanted to marry her. But he couldn’t marry her and stay king, because she was an American and because she had been divorced. It was against the rules for Edward to marry Wallis if he wanted to be the king. If Edward stopped being the king, his brother George was next in line. When Edward decided to marry Wallis and stop being the king, George became the king in his place.

Boaz was not the first person in line in his family to buy back the land that belonged to Naomi and marry Ruth. There was another person in the family who was first in line, and it was this person’s responsibility to take care of it. This relative was willing to buy Naomi’s land, but then he found out that he would also have to marry Ruth. This was a problem for him. Probably he was already married and had sons, and didn’t want things to be mixed up by having another wife and needing to be fair to everyone. So he stepped aside and didn’t become the family’s redeemer. Boaz was next in line, and he took care of things instead.

When we were lost and separated from God, there was only one person who could redeem us and bring us back to God. Jesus was that person. If Jesus had stepped aside and not been our redeemer, there was no one else who could have done it instead. He is the only possible Savior, and he didn’t turn away from us. He came to buy us back for God, and the price was his blood on the cross. Because of Jesus, we are in God’s family again and will be with God now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our Savior and Redeemer. Amen.

Waiting for Help

Bible:

So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’” She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.” Ruth 3:14-18 ESV

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. I Peter 5:6-7 ESV

Reflection:

Do you ever eat in a restaurant? It can be a very nice experience. You don’t have to set the table, or cook the food, or clear the table, or wash the dishes. Servers bring you your food and what you want to drink. You don’t have to get up and go into the kitchen and start cooking, or run and get yourself something to drink. You don’t have to help the servers clear the dishes when you’re done. Usually the food and service in a restaurant is good, but there might be times when the food doesn’t come fast enough, or you ask the server for a refill of your drink, and he or she forgets. That’s when you might start wishing you could take care of things yourself.

Ruth had asked Boaz for help, and now all she could do was wait. It was up to Boaz to take care of things. She went home and told Naomi all about it. Naomi encouraged her to be patient and wait. She trusted Boaz to take care of things as soon as possible. In fact, she was sure that Boaz would take care of things that very day. Ruth and Naomi might have found the waiting a little bit hard that day, even so. They might have wished they could do something about it themselves, but all they could do was wait.

We also sometimes have to wait for things to work out. We do what we can, but then we have to let God take care of things. God might not help us as quickly as we want him to, or in the way we wish. But he does promise that he is near us and will help us at the right time. He tells us we can throw all our worries and concerns to him and let him take care of them. We can be sure that God will do as he promises, because he saw our greatest need. We had turned away from God and were lost, and he sent us Jesus, our Savior, to bring us back to him. Because Jesus died for us, we know we belong to God and that he hears our prayers and will always help us in the way that is best.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for caring for us and helping us with all our problems. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Finding Ruth a Husband

Bible:

Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”

So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.” Ruth 3:1-13 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Reflection:

Some years ago there was a comic strip called Li’l Abner. One of the people in the comic strip was a woman named Sadie Hawkins. Her father was very rich and powerful, but she wasn’t pretty, and no one wanted to marry her. Finally her father proclaimed that there would be a footrace, and that all the bachelors would have to run, because if a woman caught one of them, he would have to marry her. Sadie caught herself a husband, and after that the custom of Sadie Hawkins dances and a Sadie Hawkins Day in November started to happen. It was a time when a girl could ask a boy for a date or invite him to a dance.

It might not seem so unusual now for a woman to ask a man for a date or to marry her, but at that time it was a very strange thing. Back in Ruth’s time it was much more unusual. Usually fathers made arrangements for their daughters to get married, but Ruth didn’t have a father with her to take care of things. Naomi wanted Ruth to have a new husband and a family, so she gave Ruth some advice. Ruth was going to ask Boaz to marry her and to buy back the land that had once belonged to Naomi’s family. Naomi advised Ruth to do it at night, when no one would see or overhear what was happening. Ruth did what Naomi advised her, even though it must have seemed strange and probably embarrassing for her to ask a man to marry her.

God, our Heavenly Father, is the creator and ruler of the universe. He keeps and cares for everything in his creation. It’s strange that he is willing to hear our prayers and that we can come to him with our problems and needs. But we can! Jesus came to die for us so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be God’s children. We never have to wonder if it’s okay to talk to God or if he wants to hear what’s on our mind. We can always be sure that he loves us and listens to us through Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us and hearing our prayers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Sadie Hawkins Day

God at Work

Bible:

And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law. Ruth 2:14-23 ESV

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5 ESV

Reflection:

Some years ago my husband and I were looking for a house in the city. We looked in some neighborhoods that we thought would be nice, but we couldn’t find anything right in these areas. After looking for a little while we found a good house in a different neighborhood. Moving into that house changed our life in many ways. We went to the church in our new neighborhood, and at church we met people who got us interested in adopting our little girl from China, and later in going to live in China for a couple of years. It’s hard to imagine how different our life would have been if we had found a house in a different part of the city. We know God worked through the circumstances to guide us and lead us.

God worked through circumstances in Ruth’s life, also. It might have seemed like it was just a happy coincidence that brought her to glean in Boaz’s field. But it was no accident. God was at work, guiding her and caring for her and Naomi through the kindness and generosity of Boaz. He had a plan for Ruth, and as she worked faithfully to help and care for her mother-in-law, God’s plan unfolded.

God moves through all times and circumstances to bring about his purposes. He moved through history until the right time came to send Jesus, our Savior. Jesus came to this world to bring us back to God by dying on the cross for us. Because of Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we are God’s people. He promises to work in our lives for our good and for his best purposes.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for working your purposes in our lives, and especially for sending us Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Under God’s Shelter

Bible:

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.” Ruth 2:8-13 ESV

When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:33-34 ESV

Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!
For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Psalm 61:4-5 ESV

Reflection:

In the United States on Ellis Island stands the Statue of Liberty. Many immigrants came in to New York’s Harbor by ship in the past, and this statue was a welcome sight for them. They were coming to the United States looking for freedom and safety and a better life. There is a poem written by Emma Lazarus on a tablet at the base of the statue, and the last few lines are the words of Lady Liberty saying:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Ruth had also immigrated to a new country. She came because she had heard about and come to trust in the God of Israel, and wanted to be one of his people. Boaz used the picture of a baby bird coming to shelter under the wings of its mother. Ruth was sheltering under the wings of God, and God had commanded his people to be kind and fair to foreigners who lived among them. Ruth showed her faith in God by her love and care for Naomi, and Boaz had heard how kind she was. He was happy to be kind to her.

We also can come to shelter under God’s wings. Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, and his blood covers our sins. We are the people of God because of Jesus, and God loves and cares for us the way a mother bird takes care of her babies. He covers us with his protection and love, and we can always feel safe in his care.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making us your people and for your love and care. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.htm

The Blessing of Work

Bible:

So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.” Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.” Ruth 1:22-2:7 ESV

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. II Thessalonians 3:6-12 ESV

Reflection:

All around the world, people grow different kinds of grain so they can have food to eat. One kind of grain that people grow is rice, which is especially important in Asia. It takes a lot of work to grow rice. First the rice seeds have to be planted, which sometimes is done in seedbeds. When the rice plants have grown from the seeds, they are transplanted to the rice paddies, which have been tilled and leveled, and then are flooded before the rice is transplanted. The rice will grow in the paddies until it is ready to harvest. Then it is cut down and threshed. Sometimes this is done by machine, but in many parts of Asia it is still done by hand. Finally, the rice is milled so it can be eaten.

When Ruth and Naomi returned to the people of Israel, it was the time of the barley harvest. Harvesting grain is a lot of work. A man named Boaz owned some fields of grain, and he had reapers working for him to get the grain harvested. Ruth had learned about the gleaning laws of God’s people. She was allowed to follow the reapers and pick up whatever grain they dropped. This is how she got food for Naomi and her to eat. Boaz came out and said to his reapers, “The Lord be with you, ” and they said back, “The Lord bless you.” The Lord really had blessed everyone with the growing barley and with work to do. It was through everyone’s work that the needs of Boaz, the reapers and their families, and also Ruth and Naomi were met.

Working for the things we need is a blessing from God. God gives everyone work to do. Sometimes our work is to be a student or a son or a daughter or a friend, but whatever we are, there are also things for us to do. We do these things in order to help each other and take care of each other. Sometimes work doesn’t seem like a blessing, but work is a gift from God. He helps us and provides for us and helps us provide for each other through our work.

Jesus had the most important job there ever was to do. His job was to be our Savior. He went to the cross and died for us so that we could be in God’s family. Because of Jesus’ work for us, we are forgiven for when we fail to do what God wants us to do. God is with us and cares for us through our parents and the work of other people in our community. He also cares for others through us. What a blessing!

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us work to do, and for sending Jesus to be our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/15/gk2/rhythmriceteacher.pdf

Bitter Troubles

Bible:

So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” Ruth1:19-21 ESV

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 ESV

Reflection:

A tornado is a terrible weather catastrophe. It can produce winds up to 300 miles per hour, and the moving wind acts like a giant vacuum cleaner that sucks up trees, animals, and even people that are in its path. Tornados can completely ruin houses and other buildings and leave behind a trail of horrible destruction. But an interesting thing about a tornado is that things that are in its path are destroyed, but things that are nearby might end up being untouched. What is destroyed by a tornado can be completely unpredictable.

Naomi felt as if a tornado had hit her. She had lost so much that it seemed as if her whole life had been destroyed. She even told her friends to call her by a different name, a name that means, “bitter.” She felt bitter against God and thought that he had taken everything away from her. She couldn’t understand why everything had happened the way it did. She didn’t think she deserved all her troubles. Instead, she thought of them as just hitting her like an unpredictable tornado.

We sometimes feel that way too. We don’t always understand why God lets bad things happen to us. We sometimes might feel as if God isn’t in control, and that everything happens to us because we’re just unlucky. Or we might feel as if God has turned against us even though we haven’t done anything to deserve our problems. But God is always working for good in our lives. We might not understand why things happen the way they do, but we can be sure that God knows what’s happening to us, and that he cares. He showed us how much he cares by sending Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus died on the cross to make us God’s children forever, and nothing in the whole universe, not even the worst trouble we can imagine, can take us away from God’s love and forgiveness in Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your wonderful love. Help us to trust you even when our lives seem to be falling apart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.econet.org.uk/weather/tornad.html

An Oath of Allegiance

Bible:

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. Ruth 1:6-18 ESV

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:11-14 ESV

Reflection:

When a person becomes a citizen of the United States, he or she has to swear an oath of allegiance to America. The oath is a promise to be faithful and true to the United States and to serve the country in any way the law requires, even fighting in a war. Here is part of the oath: “I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

Ruth swore an oath of allegiance to her mother-in-law Naomi, and not only to Naomi, but also to Naomi’s people and to Naomi’s God. Ruth did this because she loved Naomi and also because through Naomi she had come to know the true God and his love and blessing for his people. Ruth wanted to be one of God’s people. She didn’t want to go back to her own country and to the false gods she had worshiped. She had found something much better, and she was determined to hang onto what Naomi had showed her.

The same kind of thing has happened to us. We were part of the kingdom of darkness because of our sins. We were under the power of death and the devil, but Jesus came to die on the cross for us. Because of Jesus, God has made us his own children, and we are part of his family and will receive our inheritance of eternal life in heaven. We are now part of the Kingdom of God instead of the kingdom of darkness. Our allegiance is to God our Heavenly Father, and to Jesus, our Savior and King.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing us into your Kingdom through Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/naturalization-test/naturalization-oath-allegiance-united-states-america

Famine and Trouble

Bible:

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. Ruth 1:1-5 ESV

O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord—how long?

Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?

I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes. Psalm 6:1-7 ESV

Reflection:

In the 1800s, a disease struck the potatoes in Ireland. Most of the potato crops died, and since potatoes were the main food of the common Irish people, there was an awful famine. Many Irish people starved to death, and many also immigrated to other countries. Nearly a million Irish people came to the United States. They were trying to survive, but they mostly found life in America to be terribly hard. People who owned buildings divided them into little apartments, often without water. Immigrants lived in very unsanitary conditions and many died of disease.

Naomi had a horribly hard time the way the Irish people did. There was also a famine in Israel at the time Naomi lived. She and her family moved to a foreign country where they could get food. However, her husband died there. Her two sons got married, and then both of them died also. Life seemed terribly sad and hard for Naomi. She wondered if God cared about her and why he let such bad things happen to her.

Sometimes we have very difficult times in our lives too. We might wonder if God cares about us at all, and why he lets these things happen. We can’t always know why God lets things happen they way they do, but we can always be sure that he is with us and that he loves us, even in the worst of times. He came to us in Jesus and suffered sadness and trouble just as we do. Jesus suffered a terrible death on the cross for our sakes. Jesus’ death shows us that God understands our trouble and that he works good things through our problems. Because of Jesus death, we are forgiven children of God, and no trouble can take that away from us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, stay with us through the hard times in our lives and remind us of your love and care. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.