Elimelech thought now that God does not bless him in Bethlehem he could do it in Moab. Mistake. All he gathered was sorrow and pre-matured death. Though Naomi was put in a situation that was not in her making, immediately as she made an about turn, God was there by her corner. Due to Naomi’s selflessness, Ruth, became somebody. We should know that God could still bless us even here in Cameroon. Whether we are in a hole or in the heart of the Saharan desert, God could still bring us water. God does not fail.
Water and be watered (v 8-14)
Now Naomi was a widow not of her making. That is; she was not veuve joyeuse. A lady had asked me one time if there are any loopholes for divorce and remarriage. Said actually there is only one: abandonment. But I added a rejoinder that, “if your husband dies you are free to marry”. Then she said “well I guess, he just have to die”. I don’t know if the poor man is still alive.
There was nothing worse than being a widow. After the leper came the widow. Everyone exploited you. Her only redemption could come from the levirate injunction “If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. “ 6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. 7 And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. 8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; 9 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.” (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).
Unfortunately too for Naomi, she did not have any relatives in Moab. Therefore, her case was like waiting for a gift on the 32nd of December. She did not have even sons to give to marriage. So her case was again more hopeless. As such, she thought about these girls and asked them to go back to their parents so that they could be free to remarry and save their futures. She would have kept them there to be serving her. But she did not do that because their well-being was more important than hers.
Today we want to go to America and Europe even when we have nothing to do over there. Some leave their teaching jobs here, medical fields only to go and be sweeping gardens and working as night watchmen over there just for the money. No one thinks about the lives they were changing. Elimelech, Naomi and their sons migrated to Moab because of famine in Bethlehem to look for green pastures. After the death of her husband and two sons Naomi decides to come back home asking her daughters in-law to go back. Now think about the name Ruth (friendship) sticks by her side. That is the most important we need. A good friend is better than a bad brother. I am not preaching on friends but know that it was like having someone who can be with you. And we have the hymn that says what a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and grieves to bear. He was a selfless friend who cared for the others than for himself. Are there still faithful friends out there? Are you one?
Today we go and take people’s children that we want them to live with us so that we would help them. Then we use them as house girls and house boys. Some of us even sleep with the house girls and boys. My people, is that what a selfless person would do to another human who needs help? Think of your brother’s child you took saying I was going to help them but who is still living there at home. You send your own kids to college but when he or she is concerned you do not have money. You entertain preachers and make them sing your praises but you cannot send them to school to help them. You want your children to go to America yet your house girl who has been serving you for years is not thought about. Folks, each of them needs help. Give them a future like Naomi gave those two girls a future. Look at what Ruth finally became thanks to a selfless woman. Some of you even take people’s daughters only to go and give to men in America and Europe as sex slaves. You give your children to marriage to unknown people whether they are Christians or not. Just to have someone in America. We need to be selfless.
Illustration (by C.S. Kirkendall, Jr. ):
“Every young student knows of Isaac Newton's famed encounter with a falling apple. Newton discovered and introduced the laws of gravity in the 1600s, which revolutionized astronomical studies. But few know that if it weren't for Edmund Halley, the world might never have learned from Newton. It was Halley who challenged Newton to think through his original notions. Halley corrected Newton's mathematical errors and prepared geometrical figures to support his discoveries. Halley coaxed the hesitant Newton to write his great work, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Halley edited and supervised the publication, and actually financed its printing even though Newton was wealthier and easily could have afforded the printing costs.
Historians call it one of the most selfless examples in the annals of science. Newton began almost immediately to reap the rewards of prominence; Halley received little credit. He did use the principles to predict the orbit and return of the comet that would later bear his name, but only AFTER his death did he receive any acclaim. And because the comet only returns every seventy-six years, the notice is rather infrequent. Halley remained a devoted scientist who didn't care who received the credit as long as the cause was being advanced.
Others have played Halley's role. John the Baptist said of Jesus, "He must become greater; I must become less." Barnabus was content to introduce others to greatness. Many pray to uphold the work of one Christian leader. Such selflessness advances the kingdom”.
I am appealing to all of you to be helpful to someone who truly needs help this week. Pay the tuition of someone you know needs money to go to school. Send that house girl of yours to the place you promised them the day you were talking them. May God bless his word!
Until then, let the Lord be the center of our actions.
Prince and PA Hamilton Ayuk