Warnings & Responses

Early in the pandemic, my son and I went for a walk.  I asked him what his thoughts and feelings were in regards to the COVID sickness and its escalating consequences.  With no hesitation, he announced the pandemic was a warning and not a punishment.  He went on to explain that God wanted his children to consider their ways in light of His Word.  I do not think it is a coincidence the Holy Spirit has led the Anderson household to the Book of Ruth and its truths during this time of uncertainty.  (Pause for Thought:  “If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over.  And I will bring the sword on you to avenge the breaking of the covenant.  When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands.  When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight.  You will eat, but you will not be satisfied.”—Leviticus 26:23-26   What’s your opinion in regards to the pandemic?  Is it a circumstance of nature, mankind, the Lord?  How have you been responding to the pandemic in behavior and attitude?  Have you any peace?)
In the first chapter of Ruth, we understand a famine, one of the Lord’s ways of warning his people as described in Leviticus, was upon the land affecting Naomi and her family.  The family left for Moab; a country reviled by the Lord for it incestuous and self-indulgent origin, further leaving the promises of God behind.  All but Naomi and her two Moabite daughters-in-law would survive after ten years of living in Moab.  Ruth knew about the Lord and his promises to Naomi and her people, so she refused to live in Moab.  She wanted to be part of the promise.   (Pause for Thought:  “Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.  For he wounds but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.  From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you.”—Job 5:17-19   How have you considered God’s ways during the pandemic?  Have you thought them relevant or irrelevant?  How have you advised yourself?  Others?  To what effect?)
When Ruth returned with Naomi to Bethlehem, she met Boaz.  Boaz had stayed in the land steadfast on the promises of God.  He knew the famine that had gripped the land was the Lord’s way of calling and disciplining His children.  Boaz’s understanding of God’s ways caused him to not only trust in God’s words, but also to apply them to everything he did in his life.  The evidence is in the facts of Boaz expanding his fields, leaving food for the foreigner, and becoming the kinsman redeemer of Naomi’s family.  He not only heard but practiced God’s words to Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous.  Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.”  Ultimately, Ruth and Boaz would literally make the way for Jesus’ first coming (see Mathew Chapter 1).  Read the Old Testament Book of Ruth.    (Pause for Thought:  “Hold on to what you have until I come.  To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father.  I will also give that one the morning star.  Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”—Revelation 2:25-29  What is the Father asking you to do right now?  Is he asking you to be decisive, like Ruth, and turn away from false promises and hopes, and enter into His truth and His ways of living?  Is he asking you, like Boaz, to be disciplined and steadfast in His will, so you may benefit others and pave the way for Jesus’ 2nd coming?  What will you do?)