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July 9

Ruth 1, 11-14

Something to read

But Naomi said, `Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband.

Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.'

Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. 
New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

If you listen to the stories of the children who live on the streets of the world’s cities you will often hear that when their Dad died, income dried up, so Mum sent them out to beg on the streets. If that doesn’t work, they turn to crime or even prostitution… this is survival in a very harsh world. 

We catch a similar scene in today’s reading. Naomi’s two widowed daughters-in-law want to return to Bethlehem with her - perhaps it is because they had been through so much together that there was a sense of security. They had been managing in the short term; remaining in Moab may be a bad decision.

However, Naomi is wise and is concerned for their well-being. She knows that she cannot provide for them long term and tells them so (v12-13).

I must admit I identify with her feelings when she says the Lord is against her (v13). 

But look further…
Orpah kissed Naomi and stayed in Moab.
Orpah is heard no more.
Ruth ‘clung to her’ and went to Bethlehem.
Ruth becomes the grandmother of King David.

Have there been times in your life when a dark moment has turned around completely? The truth is, we struggle with the short-term pain, and are not privileged to see God’s long-term view of our lives.

Something to do

A Chinese proverb says, ‘Women hold up half the sky’. Write down your thoughts on why women are so often denied equality with men who, I suppose, hold up the other half of the sky.

Something to pray

Lord I pray for women who today are subjected to humiliation,
I pray for governments and agencies who are working for respect and dignity for all,
Lord hear my prayer.

Lord I pray for women of the world who are denied equality,
I pray for those who are working to bring them equality,
Lord hear my prayer.

Amen.

Today's contributor is the Rev Frazer Hawkes, a retired Methodist minister.

 

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