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March 22 Today’s Reading: — Judges 21-Ruth 3
Naomi was a woman of remarkable faith. We do not know much about her husband, or her sons, but Naomi was a believer. She left Bethlehem with her husband. And she stayed in Moab after Elimelech died. Yet, her heart was never in Moab. As Lot’s wife looked back to Sodom with regret, so Elimelech’s wife looked back to Bethlehem with regret; but her’s was the regret of a believing heart. It appears that, by one means or another, all the time she was in Moab she kept up with what was going on in Bethlehem (v. 6). She maintained correspondence with Bethlehem.
Here is a work of providence. The providence of God was at work for Naomi. The Lord God always deals with his children as a wise and loving father (Hebrews 12:5-12). Because he loved Naomi, the Lord would not allow Naomi to stay in Moab. He would not permit her to continue there, away from Bethlehem, away from his people, away from his worship. But to get her back he had to deal with her in a very trying way. First, the Lord killed her husband. Then, he killed both of her sons. He made Moab bitter to her.
Thank God for those painful, bitter thorn hedges that force us to return to him, when we would forsake him (Hosea 2:6-7).
Here is a work of the word. The Lord caused this chosen one to hear the good report of his grace toward his people. Naomi “heard in Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.” When Naomi heard what God had done for his people, she believed the message and arose to return to Bethlehem.
“Faith cometh by hearing!” — By some means or another, God got the good news to Naomi that he had visited his people and given them bread. This is the way God saves sinners. He sends a preacher to proclaim the good news of his rich, free, abundant grace. The Lord has visited and redeemed his people. The Bread of Life has come down from heaven. Whenever God brings deliverance to his chosen, he causes them to hear the good news of his accomplishments of grace (Romans 10:17). He never by passes the use of means, the means he has ordained for the salvation of his people.
Here is a believer’s work of faith. — “Wherefore she went forth out of the place!” There can never be reconciliation with God without separation from the world. Those who eat at the Father’s table have to leave the hog troughs of the world. You cannot serve God and mammon. A choice must be made. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve!” Naomi had made her choice, and so must we (2 Corinthians 6:17; 1 John 2:15). She was determined to leave Moab and return to Israel. She was willing to leave her dearest and nearest relatives. Naomi was a true believer. She knew from whence she had fallen. She knew what she had lost. She remembered how blessed things had been in Bethlehem. And she was determined to return. She counted no cost too great.
Those who truly believe the gospel of God are controlled in their lives by things not seen (2 Corinthians 4:18-5:1; Hebrews 11:13-16). Spirit of God, control my heart, my thoughts, my life, all the days of my life in this world. Give me grace to live, hour by hour and day by day, by faith in Christ my Lord, to the glory of God.