Thursday, January 18, 2024

God of Coming Home

At the beginning of the book of Ruth, we see the matriarch, Naomi, moving to Moab to escape the wasteland that Israel has become. In that part of the world, it's natural that some seasons are better than others, and Israel was in a tough season. So it seemed the only thing to do was to take a field trip to better pastures. 

But just six verses into the book, "word comes to Moab" that God has blessed Israel and restored its lushness and all is well, so Naomi decides to go home. 

Now, this raises an interesting question: how, exactly, did word come to Moab?

Maybe Naomi had some distant relatives who stayed behind to try to ride out the tough season, and now that things were growing again, they sent word to her to tell her that she could come home. 

Maybe Moab was starting to enter its own tough season, and now, it was the people of Moab who were looking around for better pastures and found what they were looking for in Israel. 

Maybe someone just happened to be traveling through, carrying a sack full of the best that Israel had to offer to try to trade it for something that fancied his heart. 

Maybe someone from Moab went on a little vacation to visit someone special to them and came back talking about the complete reversal of fortunes taking place in Israel, how the entire landscape seemed to have just come to life since the last time they made the trip. 

There are all kinds of ways that word travels - even more in our highly-connected digital age. But one truth remains the same: 

God doesn't do something beautiful without word getting out. God doesn't do something good without the world hearing about it. 

Think about how many stories you've heard about persons who would never tell their own story, who wouldn't want the attention. It doesn't matter that they don't go around talking about it; someone else does. Somewhere, there is a witness, someone you might not even realize is paying attention to your story, and when they see what God is doing, they can't help but talk about it. 

It's the nurse who watches the miracle on the cancer ward and tells a friend, who tells a friend, who tells a friend. It's the addict who watches a friend get clean and can't help but tell the other addicts that so-and-so really did it; maybe it really is possible. It's the poor widow whose oil doesn't run out. It's the father whose child is set free from a demon. It's the woman at the well who has one conversation and suddenly, the whole town knows the Messiah is among them. 

It's one person spreading one word, whether it's their word or not, because it's God's word and He wants the whole world to know. 

He wants the whole world to know that it's safe now to come home.

And He'll carry that word anywhere - and everywhere - through whatever means possible until all of His people hear it. 

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