22) So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.Ruth 1:22 (KJV)
One of the greatest blessings of the Christian life is God’s care for His children. This may seem like an obvious part of the Christian life, however, as time goes by we too often and too easily overlook God’s interactions in our lives.
Thankfully, if we stay close and attuned to Him through obedience and fellowship we can see His working in our lives quite clearly. When we do, we see for ourselves just how magnificently comprehensive His love and care for us truly is.
When we say that God’s care for us is comprehensive we mean that in every detail of our lives God is sovereign, that He is working to make us more like Him, and in turn that He is accomplishing His will for us and His kingdom.
It all starts with a willingness to serve and honor God by following His lead and commands. We must not forget that God is directing our steps and we need to walk with Him by obeying Him. (Prov. 16:9 KJV)
God’s comprehensive care can be seen in the story of Ruth and Naomi. In this, we see first that…
God cares for us even in the most challenging of circumstances.
Naomi and Ruth were both widows living during the time of the judges. Their lives were situated in the midst of both difficult personal and societal circumstances. Yet even in these hard times, God was caring for them both just as He does for all of His children.
His care has been seen in the most desperate times throughout human history and His care never ceases. He is God in the storm and God in the calm.
God cares for us through relationships.
Naomi was a devout follower of God and an example of Godly love towards others. She had such a profound impact on Ruth, who was her daughter-in-law, that Ruth pledged her allegiance to Naomi and to the God she was a beautiful picture of.
This is seen in a famous verse where Ruth vows to Naomi “thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God”. (Ruth 1:16 KJV)
Notice Ruth vowed not just that Naomi’s God would be her God, but that His people would be her people. God cares for us in all our relationships with others. He shows His care in personal relationships, such as between Ruth and Naomi and also among other believers (His people).“He shows His care in personal relationships, such as between Ruth and Naomi and also among other believers (His people).”
Ruth considered the Israelites her family because they were fellow believers. When we accept Jesus as our savior we too can say the same about our local and global church families.
As Christians we now have brothers and sisters in Christ who will help us in times of adversity. (Prov. 17:17 KJV) We are adopted into the family of God. (Eph. 2:19, Rom. 12:5 KJV) We also gain godly mentors and friends who challenge us and teach us ways to be more like Jesus as we witness His working in their lives and His attributes in them. (Prov. 27:17 KJV)
Throughout our lives God places us into contact with other Christians who share the same savior and who’s lives become as important blessing a to ours as ours is to theirs.
While God never leaves or forsakes us (Heb. 13:5 KJV) He also gives us fellow believers to be there with us throughout our lives. His truly is a kingdom of community. Think about the Christians who have influenced you. Someone helped lead you to Christ in the first place and you have no less developed caring friendships throughout His family. Remember where two or more of God’s children are gathered He is in the midst of them. (Matt. 18:20 KJV)
God cares for us by leading us.
Ruth also vowed, “for whither thou goest, I will go”. (Ruth 1:16 KJV) Her devotion to Naomi and God was so great that when Naomi wanted to return to her home in Bethlehem Ruth voluntarily agreed to accompany her.
Ruth through her obedience and willingness to follow God was prepared to go into a land where she was a disliked foreigner (Ruth was a Moabite from Moab). Yet she followed Naomi into that land. That was not easy but she trusted God’s leading.“God leads us into new places as we follow and obey Him.”God leads us into new places as we follow and obey Him. Sometimes its scary. Many times we do not know what the outcome will be. Nevertheless, when opportunities present themselves to serve God and to live our lives for Him, through relocation or into a new job or season of life, we can rest assured that God’s lead is a caring lead.
Many great men and women of faith, throughout the centuries, have found themselves in places they never would have imagined because of God’s hand on their life. What they ultimately realized in these instances is always that God’s plan is best.
We will see later how Bethlehem was right where God wanted Ruth and Naomi to be and how it would prove to be a place of great blessing for both of them.
God cares for us through and in His timing.
While God’s timing and ways are not always our own, we can be assured that when we choose to follow Him by obeying His commands and by taking Him at His word, He will lead us and protect us. This includes things working out in His timing.
God has great plans for all of us and in the midst of our obedience He is working out His plans for good to those who know Him and love Him. (Rom. 8:28 KJV) Included in this is time. God is the God of all time and He is caring for us even when we wake and sleep. (Ps. 3:5 KJV)
Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem during “the beginning of barley harvest”. (Ruth 1:22 KJV) The timing was critical for God’s plan and purposes.
God used the time of the harvest as an opportunity for Ruth to find employment by gleaning the fields. It also resulted in her meeting Boaz whom she would later marry and through whom Naomi’s life would be tremendously blessed, as well.
Ruth herself would become the great-grandmother of King David and she would be included forever in the direct lineage leading to Jesus. (Matt. 1:5 KJV) God’s timing was perfect.
Conclusion – God cares for us through the blessings He bestows.
Ruth and Naomi’s story demonstrates the comprehensiveness of God’s care in the lives of His children. God was central to Ruth and Naomi’s entire lives and so He must be in our own.
As Christians God is our God all of the time, in all places, and among all situations. The Christian life is a transformative life. We are no longer our own. We have a Savior who has taken our life and completely made every part of it new from our relationships, to our beliefs, to our life goals, it is all His. In all of these areas of life, God cares for us.
He cares for us in and through our relationships with others. God leads us and His timing is always perfect. Everything in Ruth and Naomi’s lives was in accordance with God’s plan. The resulting blessings confirmed it (Ruth 4:13-15 KJV) and we too partake in all the blessings inherent in God’s care for us.
We are blessed in that God never leaves us. The Psalmist declared, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”. (Ps. 139:7 KJV)
We are blessed because He provides for our needs. He knows what we need and has commanded us to seek His kingdom first. Then shall all our other needs be provided for. (Matt. 6:32-33 KJV)
Lastly, we are blessed because He will accomplish His will and pleasure (Is. 46:10 KJV) of which the final blessing is the greatest of all…
32) Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.Luke 12:32 (KJV)
As we look forward to that ultimate fulfillment of His care for us, may we walk side by side with Him each day of our lives until His kingdom becomes our reality. Amen.