Ruth

Tuesday Devotional: Ruth 3

Read Ruth 3bible

12Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I.  13Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem.  But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it…”

Sin is not a fun or comfortable word.  It conjures up a collage of negative imagery that most of us would rather not think about.  However, while the consequences of sin or separation from God are terrible, perhaps we can approach the word through another word that most of us are comfortable with.  The word is hunger.

Sin capitalizes on our appetites.  Throughout the day we have a physiological appetite that nourishes our bodies, and a variety of appetites related to our emotions and our personalities.  Sin within us finds a good thin, something we all have a healthy appetite for, and makes it into an ultimate thing that we are starving for.  Over time, left unaddressed, sin creates in us a famished appetite that hunts for satisfaction and pleasure, an unhealthy need for a particular thing.  Appetite does not consider right from wrong, consequences or righteousness.  Sin creates in us an addiction that relates the thing we hunt for to the source of our emptiness and our need to fill it in order to survive.  Sin creates a spirit in us that ignores right and wrong, and ultimately opposes God altogether.

On our own we are not able to control this appetite.  This is not to say that everyone who is not following God is a rabid animal wreaking havoc on villages of innocent people.  However, sin unaddressed creates in a person appetites that have the power to kill or take away the good things in our life.  Sin can destroy a marriage.  A job.  Friendships.  Families.  Sin creates self-righteousness and destroys mercy and grace.  Step by step, sin divides rather than creating harmony.  Submitting our lives, including our appetites, to Jesus as our King and Savior, we are suddenly given the power to not only resist our prior feelings of starvation but we begin to lose our appetite in our old addictions and instead hunger for new things, pure things, Holy things, Godly things.  While sin creates a tolerance for theft, the righteousness of Christ creates a hunger to give away what we have.  While sin feeds a tolerance for dishonesty, the righteousness of Christ creates a hunger to tell the truth.  It is beyond us to always do the right thing, especially when doing the right thing stands in the way of us feeding our appetites.  But as Christ said, “With man this is impossible.  But with God, all things are possible.”

Tuesday Devotional: Ruth 1

bibleRuth 1:15-18

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” 16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

An encounter with the living God must completely and radically transform us. This encounter will contradict nearly everything that we have previously known as “true.” As the living God enters into our lives, “truth” is measured and found only in God Himself. This transforms the entire landscape of our personal life. While the choices we make as we are led by God defy our past rationale, the degree of opposition to our newly found path with God is minimal compared to the degree of danger we now see in the decision to proceed on our own, without God.

Encountering the living God does not add to, assist in or enhance our life. If we believe that, we are sadly confusing an encounter with God with a surge in emotional desperation and the need for temporary gratification. To encounter God as He is and not as we desire Him to be is to lay our lives at the feet of our Father and Creator, demanding only His forgiveness and direction. Once we encounter God through Jesus Christ there is no other way. There is no other name.

If we claim the name of Jesus Christ yet do not completely abandon our plans, desires and direction, we bring shame to the name of Jesus. We simply add to the problems we face daily, problems that Jesus came to heal and eradicate. God does not desire to produce in each of us mere moments of joy, peace and fulfillment. God did not send His son Jesus to die so that we could have temporary respite from our pain and suffering. To approach God in this way is to continue in a life where we remain the ultimate judge of what is and what isn’t true. This ultimately is the biggest lie of all, yet the easiest lie for us to believe. God is truth. To encounter Him is to ultimately find truth. From such an encounter, the only true life is found in Him and the only true life is directed and guided by Him. No other thing can come between.