RUTH, WHO CAME TO GOD FOR HIS PROTECTION
Most people live 70 years and if by reason of strength they live 80 years before they die. However, many people die without discovering the meaning and the purpose about their lives or existence. Suffering with many pains and problems, people die from cancer, accidents or old age. If this is what life is all about, then it would be tragic. Our main purpose in this world is to meet God and to receive His grace. There is no greater blessing than to meet God through a life of afflictions.
In the Old Testament in the book of Ruth, there is a story about a life of a woman who was led to God. Ruth was from a country called Moab that did not know God. We don't know whether there was anyone to love her in Moab. Anyway, she married one of two sons of a man named Elimelech who came to Moab to escape the severe famine in his hometown of Bethlehem. But soon after they got married, Ruth's husband died. In the Bible, it does not state that Ruth bore any children. Ruth became a widow at a young age. At that time Ruth was going through some hardships and was very sad. Ruth did not have anyone who could help her get over her sufferings. But she discovered God through Naomi, her mother-in-law. When Naomi heard that the Lord has provided food for His people, she decided to go back to Bethlehem and Ruth followed her there, and God blessed her.
The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust." (Ruth 2:12) Why did Ruth follow Naomi to Bethlehem? Is it because Ruth wanted to take care of her mother-in-law? Or did she have the desire to serve the Lord? No. Ruth came to Bethlehem in order to take shelter under the wings of God. God was glad that Ruth looked to His grace and gave her His reward and blessing. God guided Ruth to Boaz, a very influential man in Bethlehem. She married him and bore a son named Obed, a grandfather of David who served God. All of Ruth's blessing was caused by her looking for God's protection under the wings of His grace.
Many people have misunderstanding about faith in God. People think that they have to work hard to please God and behave in a certain way to be faithful. Yet these actions keep them apart from God and we can see in their suffering misguided attempts to win God. God does not want people to live in pain and worry. He said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28). God invites us. Just like Ruth, God is happy when people take refuge under His wings. He wants us to receive the spiritual blessings He has already prepared for us.
All people need to be protected under God's wings. But all can not be protected under His wings. Then, who can be protected by God? A person who does not have any problems and has a fulfilling life does not need God's protection. A person who lives in life's sufferings, sins, and has problems beyond his control can be protected by God. Like Ruth, people who have suffered misfortunes can receive God's grace.
In reality, however, all people need to be protected by God. A person who tries to please God with his own will does not know himself very well. And a person who thinks he can live well without God is fooling himself. Anyone who can see his true self can find grace that Ruth found under God's wings; "Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord;" (Ruth 2:13). As a result, because people really don't know themselves, they can't receive God's grace. It is not because they are not in need of God's protection. The Bible talks about us and how much we need God's protection.
YOU WHO WERE DEAD IN TRANSGRESSIONS AND SINS
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." (Ephesians 2:1-3)
The above passage states that we died in our transgressions and sins, and God wants to save us. God does not demand that people who are dead because of transgressions and sins do not commit sins. Most people to not want to sin or would like to commit less sins. But God in the Bible does not feel that way. It is because we have already died in transgressions and sins.