The news is frightening. Some don’t watch it. I don’t very often, but once in awhile I get a sound bite from a radio station or Google News pops up on my phone, and I can’t resist. And sometimes tragedy in the news hits way too close to home.
That’s what happened recently. My youngest son attends UNCC where a fatal shooting occurred on campus last week. Before I heard anything about it, Drew had texted that he was home from class and okay. I had no idea how bad it was until we saw the news. My heart broke for those families.
This violence followed the bombings of churches in Sri Lanka on Easter and another attack at a Jewish Synagogue in California.
Light in a Dark World
It’s times like these when I’m reminded I don’t belong here. We don’t belong here, but there is hope. The National Day of Prayer was May 2. If you’re like me, it wasn’t on your radar either, but doing a little research I discovered that it happens every year on the first Thursday of the month of May. (I’m putting it on my calendar for next year.) This year’s theme was “Love one another.” I can’t think of a more appropriate theme for our country and world. Of course, Jesus commanded this a long time ago.
The President invited a last minute addition. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of the Poway Synagogue had faced the gunman who killed one of their members. He spoke with his arm in a sling and hands bandaged from the wounds he suffered, and he proclaimed that we overcome darkness with light. We must be the light.
Naomi Was a Light in a Land She didn’t Belong
We’ve started our online study on the book of Ruth. This is week 2. In this lesson we discover that a very Godly family did the unthinkable. They moved from Bethlehem to a terrible place called Moab. A famine caused their move, but it was nonetheless a very desperate, dangerous move to a terrible place where the people worshiped the god Chemosh and sacrificed children to him.
“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab” (Ruth 1:1).
Living Where You Don’t Belong
Ruth 1:1 tells us that the family planned to live there “for a while.” They didn’t plan on staying. How many times has that happened to you? Maybe it wasn’t a move, maybe a job or a relationship or a habit. “Just for a little while,” but the little while has turned into a long time.
Their move turned into a ten year transplant. But the words translated as “for a while” are the Hebrew word goor (guwr). This word means more than living someplace for awhile. It means to “live as foreigners.”
If you live someplace goor or “as a foreigner,” you keep your heritage. You keep our language, your customs, your faith. As a believer of the one true God, you live as a light in a dark world. I believe Naomi was a light in a place where she didn’t belong.
We Belong to a Different World
I think Naomi made a difference in that awful place called Moab because of the way her daughter-in-laws loved her, especially Ruth. Last week we saw how God provided the ga’al, a redeemer. He redeemed Naomi and Ruth, but he also redeemed their move to the forbidden city. (I talk about that on my LIVE teaching.)
This week I hope we discover from this one little Hebrew word that this Jewish family lived their lives in such a way, their faith in a way, that others came to know their God.
Our Bite of Bread Bible plan this week (if you aren’t using the study guide) is about living in this world as foreigners, people of faith, people of hope, and sons and daughters of light.
Bite of Bread Reading Plan
The scriptures and prompts below are available in printable/downloadable form for your quiet time convenience. Come dig deep with us. Here’s the preview:
Ruth 1: 1: In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.
Prompt: “Live for awhile” has been translated from goor. This word not only means to live somewhere for a short time, but it also means to live as a foreigner. What does that mean to you? How do we live goor here?
John 15: 18-19: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
Prompt: Why does the world hate followers of Christ (according to this verse)? How does this affect your perspective on your view of how Christians are treated?
Philippians 3: 18-19: For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
Prompt: Oh man, this one is a doozey. I do not want to be part of this crowd. I don’t want my stomach or appetite to be my god! Where is their mind set? Where is your mind set? Write a prayer asking the Lord to help you keep an eternal perspective in everything.
Philippians 3: 20: But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Prompt: Write down how you feel different from the world. Now picture yourself as a citizen of heaven. What does that look like?
Philippians 3:21: . . . who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Prompt: This is such an amazing promise. One day we will live in heaven with bodies like Christ had when he resurrected from the dead. Write down dome things you remember about His body after He resurrected. You may need to do some more digging.
Bringing the treasure home to our hearts
At the end of each lesson of the Book of Ruth Key Word study, we answer a question that brings the truth we’ve studied from our head to our hearts. Here is this week’s heart question:
Have you felt goor (like you don’t belong) in a place where you lived? Do you feel that way about this world? How do you cope with this foreign-ness?
Leave a comment below and encourage others with your ways of being light in this dark world. AND don’t forget to join us on Facebook Wednesday night at 7:30 ET as we continue our online Book of Ruth Bible study. Just follow me on Facebook!
PS. Here is last week’s LIVE lesson. Be encouraged!