Ruth 1 vs 3 - 5
Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
I assume that most people have at one time or another read or at least heard the story of Ruth. If not it will take you only a few minutes to read the whole account in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament; it’s just a few pages long. The story begins with human tragedy but not one I suppose that was not so uncommon in an era when life was precarious and health care less than rudimentary. We are told nothing of the circumstances surrounding the death of Naomi’s husband or sons and we can, in most cases, only imagine her pain. She had lost everything but as we will see God was at work even in the heart break and tragedy.
We often think that God works at a plane beyond normal life with all its complications, disappointments and tragedies, the run of the mill joys and sorrows encountered by people in all places at all times. Popular culture backs that up, an example being Bette Midler’s song “God is watching us from a distance” Sorry Bette no! We find in Ruth’s story that God is far from remote or watching with detached interest from a safe distance. In his sovereign power God uses as his instruments the movers and shakers, kings and presidents who are immersed in the world of politics and power, but simultaneously, he concerns himself with the mundane lives of people some like Ruth and Naomi who would have been unknown and probably unremarkable had God not woven his story into their story. The bible reveals to us God’s special concern for the widow and the orphan and those suffering injustice.
That however is not the whole of it, or even the half of it, ultimately God the Son, Jesus by name took on human form and lived among us, by his death opened a way to peace with God, and in the presence of God the Father now he retains human likeness but in glorified form. Paul wrote to Christians in Philippi that when he returns Jesus “will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Phil 3:20-21). That’s the hope of glory, the hope of everyone who believes in Jesus and follows him. “Watching us from a distance”.... come on!