A few weeks ago, on the first Sunday of the year, I had the privilege of preaching a sermon on the book of Ruth at Fairhaven Mennonite Church. In the sermon's first moments, I began by lifting a scarf over my head, and delivering a dramatic monologue from the perspective of Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law. (Which made one guy think I believed I should only speak in church with my head covered. True story.) The sermon contains:
- Naomi, whom scholars call the female "Job"
- clinical depression
- homelessness, hunger, great loss and marginalization
- a faithful woman who felt God was her enemy!
Most of all, though, it's a story of reversal: God's hesed (Hebrew word for loyal love) follows his people, no matter what comes. Grab your Bible, turn to the book of Ruth, and enjoy!
[audio mp3="http://suzanneburden.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Naomisstory.mp3"][/audio] See the amazing painting "Whither Though Goest" here. Be sure to check out The Gospel of Ruth—Kindle edition only $3.99— a fantastic resource by Carolyn Custis James that I consulted in my study. You won't regret this surprising look at how God raises up his daughters alongside their brothers to build His Kingdom.
Your turn: Can you relate to Naomi's story of bitter disappointment or surprising reversal? How are you tracing God's hesed—or lovingkindness—toward you these days?
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