September 17, 2023

The Beginning of the Road Back

Ruth 1:1-7

She left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

—  Ruth 1:7

What happens when you realize you’re far from home?

Naomi had been away from Bethlehem in the land of Judah for a long time. She and her husband had moved to Moab because of a famine, and their sons had grown up there and married. Naomi also experienced deep grief when her husband and then later her sons died.

Being a widow in those days was very difficult because a household depended on men to provide food, shelter, and support. So when Naomi heard that God had provided food in Bethlehem, she was motivated to go back there.

It can be interesting to see how God works in our lives. Wherever we go, God watches over us. And sometimes, in dire situations, we may be drawn to seek him in renewed ways. In this story, as we learn later, God was drawing Naomi back to Judah because he had a special plan for her family. But Naomi didn’t know that at the time.

Perhaps you’re dealing with some kind of adversity. Maybe it’s the death of a loved one, or the unexpected loss of a job. Maybe it’s some kind of trouble you brought on yourself. Whatever the case, difficult situations can lead us to focus on the goodness of God and how he provides us a spiritual home for us.

Wherever we are, may God help us see that our true home can only be found in him, through the gift of Christ, his Son.

Father, wherever we are, help us to hear of your grace and to know that our home is with you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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