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The Beginning of the Barley Harvest
Football, Politics and the book of Ruth seem to have dominated my thinking this past week. The Alabama Crimson Tide’s run for their 14th national championship will be all but forgotten (except by the rabid Tide fans) in a couple of years. After the final polling results are counted late Tuesday night (or perhaps early Wednesday morning) plans will immediately begin for the election of 2016. The message of the book of Ruth, however, will be as relevant tomorrow as it is today, as it will be 100 years from now.
I selected the title from Ruth 1:22, “So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.” In my class this morning we talked about the terms coincidence and providence. Coincidence is random events that somehow relate to one another. Providence is God’s work behind the scenes and weaving such events together to accomplish His purposes. The barley harvest was one of those “coincidences” upon which Naomi and Ruth’s entire lives are changed for the better.
Can you think of events in your life that God has used to accomplish his purposes? I think of Steve Awtrey being in just the right place at the right time to demonstrate the love of God to me. My life was forever changed for the better. I think of my oldest son receiving a generous multi-year scholarship from ACU as a Sophomore transfer student that normally (perhaps always) went to Freshman. We could say it was a coincidence except for our constant prayers that we might be able to get our children through college with no debt (that prayer was totally answered through other “coincidences”).
Who knows what events are occurring today in your life that will ultimately be used by God to further his will in this world. It really takes the pressure off to realize that we don’t have to figure out what God is up to in order for us to be a part of his upper story plan. Boaz played such a key role in the book of Ruth, but it appears that he is simply living his life as an Israelite who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. If Boaz knew what God was up to, he might have tried to help him out and ended up “creating an Ishmael”. Instead Boaz just lived as a kind man, generous with what God had blessed him with, and willing to take on additional responsibilities required of him by the law of God. And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, enjoy football as a pastime and keep politics in perspective. But when it comes to the message of the book of Ruth, wake up every day determined to love God first and your neighbor second. Perhaps before you die, God will allow you to see the great amount of good that was accomplished simply because you lived life following the two greatest commandments.