“Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecc. 4:11,12.
When, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” three, Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz, chose to do what was right in the eyes of God, even when hope stood on the brink of despair.
WHEN HOPE SEEMS LOST
God has much to teach us through Naomi concerning hope when we have all but given up. She left Israel during a famine with a husband and two sons. When she left Moab to return to Bethlehem, Naomi left a husband, two sons, and hope in their graves. She shared her testimony with her neighbors.
And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” Ruth 1:20,21.
Naomi believed her hope of bringing Israel’s redeemer king into the world lied buried with her sons. Eyes blinded by circumstances couldn’t see the cord of hope in the daughter-in-law following her to Bethlehem. She felt forsaken.
“For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD…Ps. 31:22-24; Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God…Ps. 42:11; Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” Jer. 17:7.
Praise is hope’s song.
NAOMI’S FIRST CORD OF HOPE
While Israel walked in idolatry without a king, one Gentile woman turned from idolatry to follow the King of kings. Her words stand as a testimony of commitment to Naomi, her people, and her God.
“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God…So they two went until they came to Bethlehem…” Ruth 1:17, 19a.
Ruth’s life reflects her commitment.
“And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. 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…2:11,12.
Our world turns as Naomi’s and Ruth’s, committing themselves to whatever is deemed right inthe ir own eyes. As believers we are not of this world but are seeking a kingdom from above. Here lies our commitment.
“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday…Ps. 37:5,6; For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day…2Tim. 1:12; Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”1Pet. 4:19.
Commitment to the King of kings secures our hope.
NAOMI’S SECOND CORD OF HOPE
He brought hope as a man of integrity, a man who walked in truth.
“And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen…Then said she(Naomi), Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.” Ruth 2:20; 3:18.
Boaz followed the law of redemption found in Leviticus 25:23-28 and Deuteronomy 25:5-10. He would not rest until his kinsman’s inheritance, Naomi, and Ruth were under his care. He would serve as their kinsman redeemer.
“For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth…Ps.26:3; Teach me thy way, O LORD: I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name…Ps. 86:11; Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, not handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”2Cor. 4:1,2.
Integrity and truth are the fruit of our commitment to our faithful God. It is manifested in our daily lives and is a springboard of hope.
NAOMI’S THIRD CORD OF HOPE
“So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life…they called his name Obed; he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” Ruth 4:13-15a, 17b.
The Lord restored Naomi’s hope in the birth of Obed. Little did she know how great the blessing she held. For she held the grandson of Israel’s greatest king, who would be the ancestor of the King of kings. She held the one through whom would be the restorer of life and the sure hope of man.
Hope rests in life and ends in glory.
“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not then do we with patience wait for it…Rom. 8:24,25; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…Col. 1:26,27;
When is it hardest for you to wait patiently for the Lord to act on your behalf?
Have you ever despaired of hope? How was it restored to you?