Welcome to a great love story
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For a whole month we will be reading a short and beautiful book, the Book of Ruth. This book is quite easy to read, it contains all the elements to make it interesting: a dramatic background and credible, noble characters. It contains situations that, despite the distance that separates us from the story, everything that is told here is easily understood today.
Another element that helps us when reading Ruth is that its protagonists are ordinary people who face difficult situations, and their struggles and frustrations are not hidden from us.
Above all, Ruth is a book that makes us look beyond Naomi's pain, Ruth's loyalty and honor, and Boaz's generosity. It makes us look at the great love story of the Bible: how God rescues a humanity in need of this rescue. And this will make us evaluate the way we live today as God's people.
The book of Ruth is set in a specific time in the history of God's people. They had already entered the promised land and settled there. But not everything was working out well, and it is a dark moment in the history of God's people because "each one did what he thought best" (Judges 21:25). Therefore, to better understand Ruth, we will first read several passages in other books of the Bible that will allow us to understand the context that surrounds this book.
Day 1. Joshua 1: 1-9
Today's reading introduces us to God's people camping on the east bank of the Jordan River. The generation that came out of slavery disobeyed God and did not trust him, so they died in the desert, without reaching the promised land. The current generation was born in the desert and learned to know God. Now they were able to enter the land.
1. God's people are about to enter the promised land. Moses is dead and it is Joshua who is leading them now. What assurance does God give Joshua (v. 5)?
2. What does God ask of Joshua (vv. 7-8)?
3. The task is enormous: to take possession of an entire country. What is God's exhortation to Joshua and all Israel (v. 9)?
Think: Israel are no longer slaves, they have been set free and are about to enter their land, the one that God promised them many centuries ago. They receive assurances, but they are also challenged. One of the things we learn is that liberty requires commitments if we really want to live this freedom. Basically, for us as God's people, freedom means trusting God and obeying him. Although this happened thousands of years ago, we the people of God who live in the third millennium also face a similar challenge: we must also trust God as we face the challenge of going to all the world sharing the good news of Jesus. Is it difficult or easy for you to accept and meet God's challenges?
Ideas for prayer time: Thank God for his faithful company. Ask for his blessing to always trust him.
Prayer for missions and extension. Chilean Book of Common Prayer, page 128
Show us, oh Lord, on this day when we are called to be your witnesses, how we can effectively present the gospel to those who are outside of your promises. May the Holy Spirit fill us with love towards them and make us understand their needs so that our lives and our actions recommend your name and they receive your truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.