December 20, 2007

Place of Plenty

Ruth 1

Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him.
Ruth 4:16


Although Bethlehem's history was identified with sorrow, the name actually speaks of blessing. Bethlehem literally means "House of Bread." In the ancient world, where most people eked out a marginal existence, fully satisfying your hunger pangs was rare. But Bethlehem speaks of a community in which stomachs were full and needs were met.

Naomi understood these things. Famine had forced her to flee the town with her husband and two sons. They settled in Moab. But Moab proved to be no promised land. Naomi's husband died there, and so did her two sons. Sucked dry of joy and hope, Naomi returned to Bethlehem empty.

But Naomi didn't return alone. Her daughter-in-law Ruth came with her. And the covenant obedience of a kinsman named Boaz in taking Ruth to be his wife led to the birth of a son who would continue Naomi's family line. The story ends with Naomi holding her grandson, Obed, in her lap. The faithfulness of Boaz and Ruth turned emptiness into fullness.

Have you noticed that when we are faithful to God, we bless not only ourselves but others too? Your commitment to serve God channels love to those in your neighborhood and care to those at your workplace. Loving God always spills over into loving those around us.

Lord, "make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring your love; where there is injury, your pardon, Lord; and where there's doubt, true faith in you." Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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