Hey friend! Welcome to episode 3 of the Tending your Soul podcast!
Join me here in the garden and let’s let God tend our soul by His Word through my TEND method.
The TEND method is a 4 step acronym to guide us to cultivate a deeper intimacy with God through His Word. Let’s walk together through these 4 steps as we unfold the beauty in Ruth 1: 6-7.
The TEND method acronym begins with T which stands for take time to pray. So let’s pause and turn our hearts towards the Lord as we lean into His Word. Would you pray with me?
Lord, what a gift your word is for us. Thank you for this truth that you offer us so we might know you better and grow in intimacy with You. Would you tend this word into our soul today as we lean in and seek to tether our hearts to your word. Amen.
If you missed the previous verses we have tended through, I invite you to listen to episodes 1 and 2.
But for now, let’s lean into these next 2 verses as we move from T in TEND to E which stands for Examine the Scripture. When we examine the Scripture we want to slowly read or write down the words of the verse in order to let the Holy Spirit of God press them like seed in soil into our heart and mind.
Ruth 1:6-7 says:
Then she (speaking of Naomi) arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters in law and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
As we seek to examine these verses, let’s pay attention to the action happening, the verbs and the subject of those verbs.
So verse 6 starts this transition from the great loss of her sons and her husband to THEN SHE AROSE… isn’t that interesting? It’s like her line in the sand. The original Hebrew word here implies a getting up from a long sickness or a deep mourning.
And isn’t it interesting that her getting up from that was to return from the country of Moab? That word return is used over 10 times in this first chapter in one form or another. And it is a word that embodies returning to the Lord in particular.
So she arises from her dark, distant place and deliberately turns back towards the Lord.
Have you ever been there?
In a season maybe of darkness, sin, distance from God and drew the line in the sand to turn back, repent and just go with God?
Oh how He longs to draw us back to Himself!
Like the prodigal son’s father, He runs out to greet us and throw His arms around us to welcome us back in regardless how far we strayed. His grace is so sufficient!
When we TEND through a verse or verses, we Take time to pray, then we Examine the Scripture and then we Notice the Lessons.
God’s Word is first and foremost about God. So when we notice the lesson, we want to start with what is this teaching us about God?
We see characteristics of the Lord here in verse 6 because the Scripture says “The LORD visited His people and given them food.” What does this tell us about the attributes of God? He is LORD, this name of God is referring to His covenant name, Yahweh. This is His memorial name given through Moses to His people. It is His Promise Keeper name that holds Him to His people.
So we see here, God keeps covenant with His people.
We also see that He visited His people, this is a word that encapsulates the idea of attending to the needs of. And how do we see Him do that? The verse says He gave them food.
God is a giver, provider, our provision and source for sustenance.
Do you see that? He provides what His people need and He holds Himself to it through unbreakable covenant.
Not only then do we notice what is being taught about God in particular but is there a lesson here that is being taught? A Sin to confess? A promise to claim? An action to do? A command to obey? An example to follow or not to follow?
The overall lesson that stood out to me in these 2 verses was that sometimes trials/ sin that seem to take us far from God, lead us to the desperation to return to Him. The beauty of it all is that when we feel so far, it’s not Him who moved but us.
Naomi had sojourned all the way to Moab, for far longer than she originally expected, and after the loss and pain she endured, we drew the line in the sand to arise and return to the Lord.
Isaiah 30:18 offers this promise to the rebellious people of God during Isaiah’s time and echos even now for us who are His: The LORD waits/longs to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.
In that same chapter, God offers this invitation through Isaiah that seems to be the very thing Naomi is responding to. Isaiah 30:16 says: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
She sought to return, to find rest and comfort in the place of her God’s goodness and provision. Even in her time in the foreign country, she never did forget the faithfulness of God. She knew right where to go when she finally arose.
God redeems even the hardest, darkest things, when we offer them to him and entrust ourselves to Him.
This is not easy, sweet friend. I get it. I have been in dark seasons that kept me from even WANTING to return to the Lord. I felt the shame and distance. But by His grace and by His Spirit in me, there came a point that I could no longer keep from returning. In my sin and shame and guilt and hurt, I arose and returned to the Lord.
And you know what I found?
Not condemnation but grace, healing, and a covering. There are consequences to our sin often times but when we turn back to Him, right in the middle of it, when we arise and return to Him, He will meet us to cover us, love us and grace us back to healing.
So what about you?
Can you relate to Naomi? What would it look like for you to arise and return to the Lord?
Whether you are in a dark season of rebellion or sin. Whether you are in a hard trial that has you bone weary and feeling far from God. Or whether the busyness and distractions of life have just crept in and stolen your time with jesus.
Arise today. And return from that place. For the Lord is your provision. He holds what you and I need.
Hebrews 4:16 invites us in…Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.
Lord, we thank you that You are enough. You are our greatest need. Would you cover us with Your grace as we repent and return to You. Thank you in advance for the refreshment and the rest that returning to You brings. In the healing name of Jesus. Amen.
If you enjoyed this podcast, would you be willing to like and follow? Share it with a friend who might need to be encouraged to tend her soul by the Word today.
For more on the TEND method, I invite you to visit marieldavenport.com and download your free guide to cultivating intimacy with God, Tools for Tend in your Soul.
Keep tending your soul by the Word, friend. Until next time.
Regardless how far we have strayed or how hurt we have been, God is always drawing us back to Himself. Arise and return to Him as we tend the truth of Ruth 1:6-7 into the soul of our soul in this episode of Tending Your Soul Podcast.