Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Widow's Story: Naomi's Prayer

Ruth 1:6-15
As Naomi and her daughters-in-law began their fifty mile walk out of Moab, she realized what life would be like in Bethlehem for Orpah and Ruth. They might be social outcasts. Chances of marriage were slim. They would live in poverty. Naomi would eventually die; Orpah and Ruth would be stranded. Naomi carried these thoughts along the path to Bethlehem until she reached a point where it was too far for herself to turn around, but still close enough for the younger Orpah and Ruth to turn back before nightfall.

Her thoughts battled one against the other: she couldn’t let the girls come along, yet the journey was far more dangerous without them. Finally, love won over her worries. "Go back," she commanded. Risking  her own life and happiness, she determined to go on alone. We seldom pause to understand what a strong, wise and loving woman Naomi must have been, but Orpah and Ruth knew. I believe that’s one reason they followed her.

Naomi couched her orders for them with a prayer:
May the LORD show kindness to you . . .
May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest . . .

Imagine that a godly older woman puts a hand on your shoulder and utters these words over you. Isn’t that your heart’s desire—kindness and rest? We cannot summon, will, or somehow acquire either one.

Our survival and prosperity are totally dependent upon God’s kindness.

Our souls long for rest that is beyond our own provision.

Kindness and rest . . . that was my prayer for myself, and that's my prayer for you today.

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