Can you see the future that is being built even now in the present?
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. – Isaiah 40:8
From Matthew 1:5&6, in the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, we read,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.
King David is a well-known and important Old Testament figure because God promised to establish his kingdom forever:
And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. – 2 Samuel 7:15
More than three centuries after the death of David, Ezekiel prophesied,
My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. – Ezekiel 37:24
This Messianic prophecy identifies the Messiah as a descendent of David, the significance of which is seen in phrases spoken at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem:
Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! – Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9-10; John 12:13
The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew legally establishes him as the heir to the throne of David. It also honors forever the names of every individual who played a part in contributing to his family line. David is honored, of course, as is his father, Jesse and his grandfather, Obed. But while the emphasis in Biblical genealogies focuses primarily on fathers, special recognition is given to Obed’s mother, Ruth. Why is that?
Ruth was a Moabitess, of which Deuteronomy 23:3 says,
No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the LORD.
Pretty strong words, directed at a group of obscene idolaters who had caused Israel to sin (See Numbers 25:1-18).
But Ruth had turned away from her Moabite gods. When her mother-in-law Naomi left Moab to return to Israel, she told Ruth, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her” (Ruth 1:15). But Ruth said, “…Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16b). This was a total repudiation of her Moabite identity and choosing instead to be Naomi’s daughter.
As a result of Ruth’s faithfulness and devotion to Naomi, Boaz chose to be the kinsman-redeemer and treat Ruth just as if she had been Naomi’s son’s Jewish widow, which led to the birth of Obed. This turn of events was significant enough to be recorded in Scripture, and Ruth’s name was significant enough to be given special attention in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.
But while Naomi was still going through the heart-ache of losing her husband and both of her sons, she could not see the wonderful thing God was doing. She wasn’t aware of God’s directing hand bringing about something good. She was only aware of her personal losses. And she blamed God for what she was suffering.
In Ruth 1:20-21 Naomi said, “…the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty…the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me”.
Aren’t we all tempted to feel that way at times? Matthew 5:45 reminds us,
For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
But for this very reason, God has given us promises:
I will never leave you nor forsake you. – Hebrews 13:5
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
As much as we want to see God’s purposes realized, our walk with the Lord is not one of sight, but of faith. God’s purpose and plan will surely come about, but in his time, according to his sovereign will. So, we must remember that when we suffer, whether in body, in mind or in any of the many ways we suffer, that God is in control. We would do well to remember the words of Joseph in Genesis 50:20:
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Sometimes all we know is that we are struggling against one problem or another. And at those times we need to remember that above it all, God is working out his glorious plan. High above our storm a bright and beautiful light is shining.
For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:4- 7