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The Scriptorium

Turning

Naomi shows us the nature of repentance. Ruth 1.6, 7

To Moab and Back: Ruth 1 (3)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 137.4, 5
How shall we sing the LORD’s song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!

Sing Psalm 137.4, 5

(The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak)
How can we sing, exalt Your Name, or praises bring amid our shame?
If we forget Your Church's fame, O Lord, then let our hands grow lame.

Read Ruth 1.6, 7

Preparation
1. What did Naomi hear about God’s people?

2. What did she do then?

Meditation
Word reached Naomi that the famine had lifted in the region around Bethlehem; the report was that God had “visited” His people and blessed them with food, just as He had promised. That word, “visited,” is significant, for it recalls the “numbering” of the people of Israel in the wilderness, when every tent was “visited”, and every inhabitant accounted for by name. Again, God is still in the background, continuing to be faithful to His promises and to care for His faithful people.

Naomi’s decision to return is a type or symbol of repentance, without which there can be no redemption or renewal. In deciding to return to Judah (v. 1), she demonstrated a renewed longing for her home, for the promises of God, and a desire to leave behind the place and pain of her family’s sojourn beyond the pale of faith.

This is the first mention of God’s active Presence in our story. We see it in two ways: In His blessing on the faithful in Bethlehem (“House of Bread”), and in sending His Word to Naomi, still wandering in sin and separation from Him. Here we observe the power of God’s Word to draw His chosen ones to Himself, in His way and time. Naomi’s daughters-in-law were attached to her, and followed as she led in making her return to the Lord. Let us not underestimate the powerful effects our repentance can have on those closest to us.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
She heard. She went. And her two daughters-in-law with her.  At this point they were all heading to Bethlehem for bread. They all knew where the blessings of God were to be found. Their hearts were set on some sort of “repentance”.

“Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins” (Mk. 1.5). These people, too, had a sort of “repentance”. But most of them lacked a change of heart. Within three years, these same people were calling for the crucifixion of Jesus!

A little water on the outside cannot clean up the mess inside. All three women were on their way to blessing, but only two finished the course. Yes, true repentance does have life-changing and powerful effects on those around us.

Reflection
1. What is repentance? Who needs to repent? To what does repentance lead?

2. What does it mean to say that God “visited” His people? Does He still do this? Explain.

3. Paul wrote that the goodness of God leads us to repentance (Rom. 2.4). Why is this so? What’s the message in this for our witness to the Lord?

This is the first mention of God’s name in the story. God Himself is at the center of the book. This verse illustrates the mercy of the Lord, who supported even His disobedient people with food. He visited His people both for blessing, as in this verse, and for discipline (Ex. 20:5). Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Notes on Ruth 1.6

Lord, thank You for “visiting” me each day! Turn my heart always to You so that I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 137.1-6
This is a difficult psalm to pray, for it calls out from the depths of anguish, resentment, and sorrow. But the verses selected here can remind us that this world is not our home, and one day we will all be together with the Lord. Use these words to turn your heart toward the heavenly Jerusalem, and the new world which is coming.

Sing Psalm 137.1-6

(The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak)
We sit beside the waters deep in broken pride, to mourn and weep
for Zion's woes and all our sin: How great our foes, without, within!

No songs have we of joy to sing. Our enemy, to taunt and sting,
bids us rejoice, as they oppress: We have no voice to praise or bless.

How can we sing, exalt Your Name, or praises bring amid our shame?
If we forget Your Church's fame, O Lord, then let our hands grow lame.

If ever praise forsake my tongue, if Zion's ways no more be sung,
if greater joy by me be found, my lips destroy, no more to sound.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the Deuteronomy series by clicking here. And check out our current ReVision series on encouragement.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel: Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV, John R. Franke, ed, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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