I camped another night in the Book of Ruth, and this little book continues to take my breath away!
Invisible and Unwelcome
Bone-weary Naomi wanders into Bethlehem with Ruth, her Moabite daughter-in-law. The whole town gathers ‘round the weary pair. The womenfolk whisper, “Can this be Naomi?” “Why, my goodness! Our prodigal has come home!”
But, there is no mention of Ruth—not one single word! There is no cheery welcome for the woman at Naomi’s side. It’s as though Ruth was invisible. She was certainly not welcomed. After all, she was a Moabite!
Nothing but a Tragic Reminder
She was the kind of woman every Israelite mama warned her son never to marry. But there she was, in the middle of Bethlehem, clinging to Naomi, like white on rice—a visible reminder to everyone of Naomi’s tragic journey into Moab.
As I mulled over the thought that Ruth was a visible reminder of Naomi’s tragic journey, suddenly I gasped and had to catch my breath. I thought, Oh my goodness . . . isn’t this the truth for all of us? Everyone I know, including me, has tragic reminders!
A Cover for Our Shame
If the devil had had his way, he would have ended Naomi’s story right there—surrounded and exposed, her tragic reminder on display for all the world to see. And this is where he’d end our stories, too, if he had his way.
But glory to God, this is not where Naomi’s story ends! Oh no. Ruth, a symbol of Naomi’s tragedy, becomes her greatest joy as the kinsman-redeemer draws nigh and covers her tragic reminder with his blanket of love. Ah, be still my heart! Out of the ashes of shame, the kinsman-redeemer’s love is proclaimed.