Are you a witness of God’s grace? Have you experienced His kindness when all seemed lost? Or when you deserved it the least? This is what Naomi and Ruth experienced this week in our journey through the book of Ruth.
When Naomi’s family moved to Moab, their move wasn’t pleasing to God. Though we could justify this decision because of the famine in the land, Elimelek’s choice to uproot his family and live in a land God forbid, testified his lack of trust of God’s provision.
Some commentators believe Elimelek was a judge of Israel. His name means, “God is my King.” But his actions proved otherwise. As a result, when he moved his family, he moved himself out of the will and cover of God.
I’m Guilty of Getting Ahead of God
It’s so easy to do isn’t it? How many times do we get ahead of God? I’ve been so tempted lately! I’ve wanted to make new plans, start new beginnings, yet the Holy Spirit has gently whispered . . . wait Andy. Trust me. Honestly, as I wait this means I have to keep on doing what I don’t want to do, don’t feel like I can do, and feel hopeless in. I wonder if I jumped ahead of God and am facing the consequences like Elimelek, but if I did, today’s Bite of Bread gives me hope.
Just like their daddy (and me) Naomi’s sons got ahead of God. Rather than returning to Bethlehem, back to Judea, they chose to stay in Moab and marry Moabite women. Was it easier? Did they not want to move, or did they not want to wait on God to bring them home to marry Jewish brides? This was another act of disobedience because Jewish men were forbidden to marry women from Moab.
Side note: (Wouldn’t that be a great title of a book about all the times God proved His faithfulness and grace? Would you have a story to add? Leave a comment!)
This family could have been wiped off the books of Israel but God intervened.
As Naomi found herself widowed, childless, with no heirs. All seemed lost. Naomi returned home bitter, grieving, and hopeless, but that was not the end of her story. She would witness the faithful grace of God in the big things and the little ones.
Bite of Bread Reading Plan Printable
Join me this week as we meditate on this sweet part of Ruth’s story. We always focus on God’s faithful provision of a redeemer, but we often miss the preservation of Mahlon’s name. We read it quickly, and it’s overshadowed by our excitement for Ruth and Boaz, but I have to think that Naomi’s mamma’s heart ached with thanksgiving that at least one son’s name would not be lost. That’s where we start in our reading plan. If you’re following along in my book, we are on page 247.
Monday: Ruth 4: 9-10
Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”
Prompt: What two things stick out to you in these verses? What’s their significance? How was God faithful?
Tuesday: Deuteronomy 19:15
One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Prompt: Why is this a wise law? What’s the significance of more than one witness? How can we apply this to our faith?
Wednesday: Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Prompt: The Hebrew word for “witnesses” is martus. This word means “one who can testify to the truth.” Applying this definition, write down what Jesus told His followers. What will make them witnesses of Jesus? Do you think this applies to us today? What does that look like for us?
Thursday: Revelation 1: 4-5
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spiritsbefore his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood . . .
Prompt: Underline or highlight what speaks to you in this powerful scripture. What was Jesus the faithful witness to, and how did He testify? What does this tell us about our testimony?
Friday: Revelation 1: 6-7
. . . and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
7 “Look, he is coming with the
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
Prompt: I love the hope and promise in this scripture. His blood has freed us from our sins to something greater. What has He saved us to? Are you a part of this glorious kingdom? If so, write a prayer of thanksgiving. If not, or you’re not sure, write a prayer simply telling Jesus you want to be in His kingdom, to serve Him and know Him. My friend, let Him reign to experience eternal peace and purpose. When this happens, you too become a witness.
Recipients and Witnesses of Grace
Oh my friends, like Mahlon we’ve gotten ahead of God, gone our own ways, and we don’t deserve preservation of our names in the book of Life.
The Precious Redeemer bought us back with His life. His blood. He died so we may live and testify of His faithfulness.
Do our daily lives testify of His reality? Oh, may it be so! Remember, it takes the testimony of two or more witnesses. Don’t do this faith alone. Find a church, get into a small group, and be witnesses together of God’s faithful grace.
Share your thoughts! What does this article stir in you?