2019 Advent Devotional – Day 4


Matthew 1:5b – Jesus’ ancestry leading up to King David

And Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.

Loyalty- Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

The unexpected, even undesirable, elements of Jesus’ genealogy continue with the inclusion of a third woman in this list: Ruth. Apart from being female, Ruth should have no place in an Israelite’s family history because she was a Moabite, a member of a nation who were sworn enemies of the people of Israel. Ruth had married into an Israelite family, but found her circumstances and prospects in ruins when her husband and her brother-in-law both died.

At this point, the easy option would have been to cut her losses, return to her own family, and start again. But Ruth was driven by an immense loyalty to her mother-in-law, Naomi (herself also a widow) and this guided her actions at every step. She accompanied Naomi home to Bethlehem and provided for them both by ‘gleaning,’ gathering left-behind grain from fields after they had been harvested. In the course of events, Ruth agreed to Naomi’s plans to arrange to have a kinsman, Boaz, marry her.

Ruth’s loyalty—impeccable in its constancy—is all the more remarkable for its counterintuitive nature. She was an immigrant, an outcast, and a widow. She had no standing of her own and no one to protect her. And yet she demonstrated exceptional trust in the love and mercy of Naomi, unshakeable in her belief that staying with Naomi was the right thing to do. God’s love and mercy can be equally counterintuitive—particularly if we can be honest to ourselves about how often we fall short of God’s teachings. Yet God is also blessedly unshakeable in God’s desire to love us and accompany us on our journey through life; and resolute to extend mercy to all who crave it. A promise kept by the birth of the one who would prove that love.

* See the Book of Ruth for the full account of Ruth

Faithful God,
You promise to love me dearly and to keep me close to you; to forgive my sins and extend your mercy to me. Thank you for your loyalty, for the faithfulness you show to me, and for your unending grace. Thank you for keeping your promise and staying with me throughout the tumult of life. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2020.

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