Summary: Deciding to 1)Cover up 2) Give up or 3)Stand up in the midst of difficulties.
A firestorm has been brewing as of late over revelations of lavish and questionable spending at eHealth Ontario, a provincial agency tasked with creating electronic health files.
A freedom of information request revealed the agency spent $5-million in untendered contracts in only four months, from its inception in late September, 2008, to January, 2009.
The worst thing to do in an era of ever increasing public accountability is try to cover up or give up responsibility when accountability is required. Whenever we make mistakes if we fail to admit them and take responsibility, the consequences are often much worse.
God had disciplined Naomi for acting in unbelief by leaving Bethlehem and going to Moab. She had lost her husband and her two sons. She, with her two daughter’s in law, were in a desperate situation.
The Book of Ruth places a characteristic emphasis upon the sovereignty of God in human life, and His gracious provision for those who love His law and trust in Him completely. In the ancient world news of events was carried to a large extent by caravan traders, mariners, and other travelers. As a result, ancient peoples were usually well informed about current events (see Num. 21:1; 22:4–5), unless they lived in a remote area of a country such as Egypt. Tidings accordingly reach Moab that the famine has abated in Canaan, an eventuality that is attributed quite properly to the Lord’s compassion for his people. Suddenly her homeland beckons to Naomi, and she clearly feels that she, Orpah, and Ruth will be able to partake in some way of the nation’s prosperity by returning as a family. Once among her own people, Naomi and her daughters-in-law could expect to receive the humane treatment that Israelite law accorded to widows (Deut. 14:29; 16:11; etc.) (Elwell, Walter A.: Evangelical Commentary on the Bible . electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1996, c1989, S. Ru 1:8).
When you find yourself in difficult circumstances because of God’s discipline or because of someone else’s disobedience, you can make one of three decisions. You can decide to 1) Cover Up, which is what Naomi did. You can decide to 2) Give UP, which is what Orpah did, or you can decide to 3) Stand up, and believe God, which is what Ruth did.
1) Covering up in Difficult Circumstances: The testimony of Naomi. Ruth 1:6-10.
Ruth 1:6-7 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
Naomi was a grieving widow, stripped of the earthly joys of husband and family by divine judgment (MacDonald, William ; Farstad, Arthur: Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995, S. Ru 1:6).
• Naomi represents all those who believe God, and after a time of great trial, return to the people of God and the place of blessing.
God visited His faithful people in Bethlehem, but not His disobedient daughter in Moab. The meaning of the fact that the LORD had visited his people and given them food (visited: paqad )is clarified in a beautiful psalm about God’s care (Ps. 65:9–10).
• Given the setting in the days of the judges, this can only mean that God’s people repented and saw his favor restored. The people of Bethlehem had repented an experienced God’s grace and favor. The macro situation of Bethlehem is now being played out in the micro lives of Naomi, Ruth and Orpah.
• (Iain M. Duguid. Esther & Ruth. Reformed Expository Commentary. P&R Press. 2005. p. 136.)
Naomi heard the report that the famine had ended; and when she heard the good news, she decided to return home. There is always “bread enough and to spare” when you are in the Father’s will (Luke 15:17, KJV).
• The Lord God always deals with His children as a wise and loving father (Heb. 12:5-11) Because He loved Naomi, the Lord would not allow her to stay in Moab. He would not permit her to continue there, away from Bethlehem, away from His people, away from His worship (Donald S. Fortner. Discovering Christ in Ruth. Evangelical Press. 1999. p. 27).
• How sad it is when people only hear about God’s blessing, but never experience it, because they are not in the place where God can bless them.
• People often miss the blessing of God because they only seek it when, where and how they want. God often blesses when we don’t expect, when we are willing to minister wherever opportunity arises and in whatever circumstances warrant.