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The Importance of Naomi - Encouragement Café - July 12, 2017

The Importance of Naomi
By Rebecca Sieg
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16 NIV

The Bible uses many different words to describe God’s love for us, his children. One word we do well to remember is the Hebrew word for love, ‘hesed’, which is most often translated as ‘loving-kindness’.

This is the action word of God’s love for us and our love for other people. This word signals more than just affection, it signals commitment. Hesed love is done beyond obligation and out of kindness and commitment. This is covenant love.

In the book of Ruth, we read of a recently widowed Ruth and her relationship with her mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi has suffered great loss through the death of her husband and her two sons while in a far off land.

She, understandably, is devastated by these losses. When she decides to return to her homeland, she urges her two daughters-in-law to stay behind. She tells them she cannot offer them any additional sons to marry. She reminds them that she is scorned by God and they should go.

Ruth responds, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16 NIV. After hearing this, Naomi relents and allows Ruth to travel with her.

No one, and certainly not Naomi, would have expected Ruth to follow Naomi back. This is hesed love. Love that goes beyond expectation and obligation and demonstrates kindness to another at great personal cost.

The Book of Ruth is full of examples of Ruth’s hesed love for Naomi from her eventual marriage to Boaz to the birth of her child which she gives to Naomi. These extravagant actions demonstrates how far love can go. Through Ruth, we can see how God demonstrates his hesed love for Naomi.

Ruth is God’s great gift to Naomi. Even in Naomi’s despair, when she can’t feel God and doesn’t trust His affection for her, God pulls out all the stops for her. His hesed love does not relent.

God has the same hesed love for each of us. It is not an emotion stirred in the heart of God by our faithfulness or goodness, it is a doing. An active kindness that knits our hearts into His and restores our souls.

We can live in the knowledge that we are loved endlessly and pursued without limits. We can wake each morning knowing that God has committed to love us out of kindness to us and not merit from us.

Likewise, we can demonstrate God’s hesed love to other people. Perhaps we are Ruth, the tool that God will use to remind someone of how great His love for them truly is.

Maybe today is the day we throw away mere obligation and do extravagant acts to show God’s love. Maybe today is the day we throw caution and fear to the wind and live life filled by God’s hesed love so it is spilling out, overflowing.

We can be Ruth because we are loved by God like Naomi.

Just like Naomi, God is pursuing us in ways we can’t fully understand but God’s hesed love gives us security because of His commitment to us.

Just like Ruth, we can demonstrate God’s hesed love to other people by loving recklessly and committing ourselves to them.

Pursue others extravagantly today, just like our Father is doing right now for you.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Remind us of Your hesed love, Your unfailing commitment to us. Lord, help us to be like Ruth and love extravagantly. Give us courage to commit to really love others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

© 2017 by Rebecca Sieg All rights reserved.

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