Friday, March 23, 2018

The Blessing of Good Friends

But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. "Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me."   Ruth 1:16-17)
The story of Ruth and Naomi and their friendship is the perfect example of Godly friendship.  Naomi’s husband has died and soon after she loses both her sons as well.  That leaves her and her two daughters-in-law.  Naomi tells her daughters-in-law that they are free to go home to their people because she realizes that they are young and can still marry again.  Both her daughters-in law say no at first, but eventually one of them decides to return to her family.  But Ruth refuses to leave Naomi.  She literally says that she will always be wherever Naomi is.  Naomi realizes that Ruth is serious and resolves herself to the fact that she is not leaving.  They relocate to Bethlehem to try to make a life without their husbands.  Naomi was a little bitter towards God because of all that had happened, but Ruth kept her faith and she encouraged Ruth too.
·      Wherever you go – I will go…
Here are two women who have a lot in common.  They have the heavy sorrow of great loss.  They have both lost their husbands and Naomi had also lost two sons.  Their lives have been turned upside down and they are facing the lonely void of life without their husbands.  They are facing having to provide for themselves without a husband.  Now more than ever they need a friend.  Ruth did not have to stay with Naomi.  She was under no obligation.  This was a covenant act of love from her heart.  Sometimes the decisions we make in life help define our character.  This act by Ruth marked her life.  She stayed with her and she followed her guidance because she loved Naomi and trusted her.  She was loyal and committed. 
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.  But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Sometimes we hurt so bad that we just want our friends to go away and leave us alone.  We don’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone.  A good friend will be sensitive to this, but will wait in the wings ready to be available if needed.  Ruth was there for Naomi.  A friend lives with the life of another.  They experience your good times as well as your sorrows.  Because of what they had experienced together, Ruth and Naomi had a special bond.  They grieved together, yet in different ways.  Naomi had lost sons, and Ruth had lost the chance to have children.  They comforted each other.  They worked together to survive and take care of themselves.  Ruth followed Naomi’s wise instruction and was blessed with husband and a child. 
…for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.  Ruth 4:15b   Others around her saw the goodness of Ruth’s character in the way she treated Naomi.  Boaz had heard of Ruth’s devotion to Naomi and had instructed the workers to leave a little extra grain for her to glean. 
Good friends are a gift from God.  He puts them in our lives at just the perfect time.  He knows what we need and He provides.  Remember the blessings that you have and when the rubble of life causes you to forget, look for the treasures in the ashes.

Scripture to Claim:
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man's counsel is sweet to his friend.  Proverbs 27:9

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