Wherever You Go
Christopher B. Harbin
Ruth 1:1-18; Matthew 5:21-32; Galatians 1:13-24
Commitments today with their corresponding responsibilities do not seem to be taken as seriously as in days past. Society is wont to borrow without paying back what is owed. Marriages tend toward being seen as temporary arrangements. One's word is no longer accepted without some questioning of the faithfulness of the one pronouncing it. It is expected that commitments will be broken and life is planned accordingly. We act as though a commitment were something bad--a prison from which we feel obliged to escape. In a context such as this, what is the reality of our commitments with God?
In the context of ancient Israel, there were very few possibilities for a woman who was widowed. It would be hoped that her sons would provide for her. If not, she would be expected to marry one of her husband's brothers or return to her father's house. For a woman without such options, there was little hope. It was a very similar situation among the nations surrounding Israel, if not the same. For a woman in such a situation, life would be very difficult, because she would have no one to provide for or protect her against those who would abuse her. This was the situation in which Naomi found herself. Well, Naomi's situation was even more complicated, because she was not living in her own country.
Naomi had left Israel with her husband and two sons to live in a foreign land. In Israel, the land was not giving much harvest and the family decided to seek to better their living in the foreign land of Moab. The results were not so good for Naomi. While living among the Moabites, her husband died. After ten years, her sons both married, they also died in turn. Absent the men in her life, Naomi was left at the head of her house with the two daughters-in-law as her responsibility. She was expected to care for them, as well as for herself. She tried for a while, but after he ...
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