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Lessons from Ruth: Day 5

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
Romans 10:14

As you probably know, Ruth and Boaz were married and had a son. Naomi’s empty life and empty lap is filled with the joy of a grandson and the promise of a new generation.

Speaking of generations. Don’t you love biblical genealogies? Me neither. But that is hardly the fault of Scripture; it is we who don’t know the stories behind the names. When we do, we will find some fascinating connections: For example:

Salmon the father of Boaz whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

Notice who Boaz’ mother was? Rahab. Or, as she was known back in her hometown of Jericho, Rahab the harlot. She helped the Hebrew spies who were there to conquer her land, by hiding them in her home. When they asked why she would take such a great risk, she said, “We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites, east of Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God, is God of heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:8-10).

The Old Testament is too often the story of the “chosen people” who chose to turn away from the God who had redeemed them. It is also the story of two women, one a Canaanite prostitute, the other a Moabite widow, who believed the good news of a God of love who can and will perform miracles on behalf of His people.

Countless numbers of the chosen people have lived, died and are forgotten. Two women who responded in faith to that God of love and miracles, are forever remembered in the greatest story ever told.

These are amazing times. We share our neighborhoods and towns with people from all over the world. We may not know their stories, but we know they are seekers-of- something. Perhaps among them is a Rahab or a Ruth. It doesn’t take much: a smile, a “you first,” a loaf of bread to a neighbor, a friendly conversation in the front yard. Then one day, perhaps, an invitation to church.

Our church is in the suburb of a large city and, on any given Sunday, the congregation looks like the little UN. It is thrilling to wonder how we all got here. For many, perhaps, their spiritual journey began with a smile, a friendly conversation or an invitation to church.

Nancy Shirah

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