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Monday, August 17, 2009

God's People

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[August 17, 2009]   -- "Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God."- Ruth 1:16

Naomi, a Jew, had been living in the land of Moab with her sons and 2 daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, when her sons died. The women were left with no means to support themselves and no prospects for their future. Naomi decided to return to her people in Judah and the girls followed her some way before she said, rather emphatically, that they should turn back. Orpah follows this command but Ruth refuses and that is when she speaks the line I have quoted for you above. She won't go back! Historically the model of a good Christian women has been one who is demur, deferrential and mostly quiet. A good woman stays home, raises her children and supports her husband. Ironically, most of the women of the Bible, and especially the Old Testament, make their mark by doing the opposite of this. They stand up, stay firm and say, "no!" And that is what Ruth did.

Ruth said no and she followed Naomi to Judah and she married a man named Boaz, which was an extremely unlikely coupling, and the two produced a son, Obad, who had a son Jesse, who had a son...David. That David. Thus Ruth the moabite, Ruth the pagan, Ruth the poor, ragdoll of a girl, Ruth the stubborn is the great grandmother of the greatest king in the history of Israel. And David is eventually begat directly from Ruth's disobedience. I believe, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) concurs, that God wants strong, dignified, thoughtful, locquacious women who boldly go into the world as servants in their own right. Ruth is a bold woman and her boldness produced a memorable life and a great king. What will your boldness bring?

Prayer: Holy God, we thank you for the gifts of women and their tireless service to you through your Church. We pray this day that women in the Church would be lifted up and affirmed and welcomed into leadership. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

[text from file received from Phil Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]


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