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Earthy Spirituality

"The book of Ruth introduces us to an 'earthy spirituality' - earthy in that it deals with ordinary people coping with everyday life, and spirituality in that the characters of the story are alive to God. Life is messy, making theology untidy at times. This is especially true when it seems as if the Almighty has dealt bitterly with us (Ruth 1:20-21). Recall the words of Jesus: "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). The story of Ruth shows us that God is able to undertake and make the necessary provisions to help those in 'trouble' overcome their circumstances. In fact, the story of Ruth is one of a series of biblical sequels to the lesson Abraham and Isaac learned on Mt. Moriah - God is Jehovah Jireh, 'the Lord will provide" (Gen. 22:14). This is why Jesus is able to assure his followers that the heavenly Father is ever ready to provide for us in our daily troubles as we seek his kingdom and his righteousness (Matt. 6:32-34).

"At the same time, we learn that spiritual formation is our work too, as symbolized in Ruth's diligent daily gleaning of grain in the fields of Boaz (2:7). Ruth made a decision to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and by an act of her will she chose to identify with Naomi's God, Yahweh, rather than the gods of her own people (1:16-17). The pattern of obedience seen in Ruth's life is embodied in the statement, "All that you tell me I will do" (3:5). Ruth's example of unswerving obedience is a model for the community of faith."

- From the introduction to Ruth by Andrew E. Hill in The Spiritual Formation Bible (NRSV)


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