Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Women's Day (Part 3)

Realizing that Esther was a girl and having to learn along the way, is good reason to re-evaluate what you have been taught so that the application of those lessons in your life can get you out of error and back on the path of righteousness. Esther did not have it all right; however because of the righteous living of her Uncle, she was able to have favor with those who were in authority of her and then be chosen as the queen. Cooking a meal, did not get her there. If food is the way to a man's heart, you chose the wrong man. As
you may have already realized, appetites can change.

The last example I am going to use is popular among female ministers. It is the book of Ruth. The ministerial staff and guest speakers where I use to attend would have such glowing remarks about Ruth and Naomi. They gleaned from the good attributes in the book rather then expounding on some features that did not fare well for them. In so doing, it gives the listener a false sense of direction when trying to apply what was heard into practical living. So let's really break this thing down and get what is really useful from this book allowing the rest of the dross to be just that.

First, let's just please notice how little the Lord or practices of righteousness are used in this book. That in of itself should have the reader and all those ministering from this book doing so gingerly. It begins with Naomi's husband doing away with a direct command of God for the children of Israel to stay in the land. Because there was famine, Naomi's husband decides to do a big move of disobedience (Joshua 1:1-18 AMP). What was Naomi going to do, rebel? That would have been the difference between living and dying for Naomi. She followed along after her husband and brought her two sons as well. So that is disobedient act, number one.

In their travels they came upon a place that seemed habitable; however the people were idol worshipers and considered evil in the sight of God. These people came from the incestuous acts of Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19:30-38 AMP). They were called the Moabites. Naomi's sons grew up in this land and married Morabite women. God told the children of Israel not to marry foreign women (foreign to the things of God) because they would cause for them to turn away from the ways of the Lord and to do things that were not pleasing to God. Naomi's sons grew up in this land and married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. This is disobedient act, number two.

Because of these two disobedient acts there were direct consequences. Naomi's husband died. The Word tells us that her son's married these Moabite women and then they died as well (Ruth 1:1-5 AMP). Here is where a lesson can be taught that I have not heard and possibly others as well. Seeing that when a woman marries, she becomes one with this man, it would be one of those helpful times for a woman to speak up when her husband is hell bent on causing discord in her house. If it is not apart of the culture for the woman to speak, there is nothing the matter in her praying so that God hears her prayers and has mercy on the disobedient acts of her husband (James 5:16 AMP). You don't think this is possible? What about when Abigail hurried and pleaded for the evil acts of her husband, Nebal to David. David had mercy on that man's life (1 Samuel 25:3-32 AMP). Would God have less mercy then His own creation? If you know what the right thing is to do, even if your husband doesn't, you can make change happen through is written.

Now lets see the decision of Naomi and Ruth trying to make some sense of what has happened to them and where should they go from here. Naomi comes to the resolve that she needs to be with her family. She knows of nothing else but from where she came. Orpah thinks the same thing. She doesn't know anything else but where she has lived all her life. The big decision came from Ruth. She has decided to move to a land where she has only heard about by being with her husband and her husband's family. Ruth essentially shows, not what Naomi has taught her but how much she picked up being one with her husband, Naomi's son. He cleaved to his wife and because of that, we see how Ruth responds to her mother-in-law and how she received direction even when she has her own needs and has her own ways of the Moabites (Ruth 1;11-16 AMP).

What are the ways of the Moabites? Well, look at Abram and his family. They were liars and thieves. God was limited in blessing Abram because of his surroundings. His environment was conducive to what he has always known, to lie and steal. Those are not characteristics of God. So when God told Abram to leave his kinfolk and go to a land where God would show him, Abram brought Lot with him (Genesis 12: 1-4 AMP). In those travels, Abram sought how he could keep himself safe. He lied about Sarai being his wife. Notice how he didn't hesitate when Sarai offered her concubine to birth his first child. That's his personality showing. Also see how when he had his son Isaac that when he was grown, he used the same lie as his father. Lot, Abram's nephew, while they lived in Sodom and Gomorrah, he had a separate home where his wife enjoyed that sort of lifestyle. We didn't hear what Lot thought; however, he was one with his wife so how much more different could his opinion have been when his wife turned to look at the city she loved just before turning to salt? The other thing that strikes interesting is the character of his daughters. Why was their thinking so limited where they became afraid that there would be no men on earth and they would never have children? Then the entertainment of that thought branched off into the corrupted solution of having sex with their father after they get him drunk in order to fulfill their need to impulsively have children. This is a synapse of what made up the character of the two groups: the Ammonites and the Moabites. To further the selfishness of the people, see how Abraham realized that peace could not continue with him being with his nephew. Abraham showed him both sides of the land giving Lot the option to choose which ever side he would like to reside. The Word tells us even after all that Abraham did for him and his family, Lot chose the better of the two for himself (Genesis 13:1-14 AMP). This is the root of the feud happening in the Middle East to this day.

Now that you have a basis of what Ruth's normal is, let's also see why she would rather be with Naomi to a place she has never been as opposed to going back with Orpah. Remember, Naomi's family came out there because of the famine in Bethlehem, Judah. Ruth still made up in her mind that's where she wished to be as well. Here is where, the ladies of the church begin all of the accolades for Ruth and being loyal to the only mother figure that Ruth has. Let's get real! Ruth is trying to get the same sort of husband she had and knows if she sticks with Naomi, there are to be more of them. Ruth can't get in there any other way but with Naomi. Its not pretty, but we have already established the type of personality Ruth has been around her whole life. She will show her true self further in the passage.

When Ruth was introduced to Boaz, you wouldn't think that Naomi was at the ready plotting to get her daughter in law married off. The scriptures allows us to read how Naomi was thinking but unless you see closely, you won't notice Ruth showing her Moabite ways. When Naomi told her to stay close to the maidens, you see that Boaz told her to do the same thing. However when she came home to her mother-in-law, she said Boaz told her to stay close to the men. Its almost as if Naomi paused for a moment. She knew her family would never have said such a thing. Why not prove Ruth wrong or better yet, kick her out of the tribe altogether so not to spread those ways among her people? Instead, Naomi says nothing. She corrects her and moves to the next stage of her plan. She cleans Ruth up and tells her where she should go in pursuant of Boaz. Ruth finds Boaz in the silo either passed out or just asleep. Most women would leave but Ruth lays at Boaz's feet. When he wakes up, he knows what would happen if any of the villagers sees her leaving this man's property at that hour. They would assume she is promiscuous and have her stoned to death. But Boaz had to think quickly and have her not to leave empty handed as if she came to borrow a cup of sugar. When she came back to Naomi, she saw that Boaz protected Ruth's honor. Later, we see how Boaz finagles his way in being able to marry Ruth even though he is not the next in line to do so. If you don't believe me, look it up!

The lesson here should be to let young women know if you start scheming to get your own way, that's seed sown for you to keep doing it. Its so much unnecessary work when trusting in God is so much simpler and better. All Naomi needed to do was pray and teach her daughter in law to do the same. I wonder about a ministry who would teach otherwise based on the book of Ruth.

Women's Day is a day where we not only allow honor where honor is due, we also teach about examples in
the scriptures for our young ladies to see what to do and not to do. How did these women fare and where was the root of it all? Esther did well because of the prayers of her Uncle. The Proverbs 31 woman is an extraordinary example of a woman who has her family's best interest to heart, knowing who she is in Christ and making Him first in all things. Ruth is not a woman of nobility. She had a dog-e-dog mentality and if it weren't for Naomi, she would have been killed within the week of their return. It was Naomi who had ears to hear and redirect Ruth's attempts at getting her man any way she can.

Is it different from what you have been taught? More then likely; nevertheless, study the verses for yourself so you can know the truth and it can give you the liberty that is available for us all. Amen?

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