Hey friend! Welcome to episode 4 of the Tending your Soul podcast!
Are you feeling worn out and tangled up in the distractions and noise of the world today? Our souls can feel the weight and wear of all that is going on in our lives, our minds and our world.
Join me here in the garden and let’s let God tend our soul by His Word through my TEND method. My TEND method is a slowed down, reflective, four step method of engaging with God’s word in order to tend it into our soul so as to cultivate intimacy with God.
So as we are leaning into God in the book of Ruth and navigating the seasons of transitions with her in these verses, today we come to our next verses. Ruth 1:8-10.
The TEND method begins with T for Take time to pray. So let’s pause and ask for God to unfold His Word to us.
Father, I thank you for the gift of your word and the light it gives when we lean in to unfold it as Psalm 119:130 tells us. Would you open our understanding and help us to know you better through this Word today? In Jesus name we ask. Amen.
After the T in the TEND method we come to the E which stands for Examine the Scripture. SO if you have a moment to open a bible, I encourage you to do so, if you’re walking the dog, driving or listening while at work or doing chores, just lean in and listen as we go to the word.
Ruth 1:8-10 says:
At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I’m Ruth. Your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” And he said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.”
In these 3 verses we see Naomi bless her daughters in law by the kindness of the Lord. This word translated kindly in the ESV is such a beautiful word in the Hebrew language. It is transliterated HESED and refers to the covenant love of God, it includes His grace, steadfastness and kindness towards His people. And here Naomi, a women of God’s people Israel, is blessing these Moabite women by the hesed of God.
How indicative of her own love for them and of her own intimacy with God to know His desire is to extend His covenant love to all the world. Even in 1100 BC, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever should believe in Him would have eternal life. His Son was coming to die for the sins of even the Moabite woman.
The poetic beauty in this Moabite women would be part of that direct line that would lead to the physical birth of the Son.
So in examining these verses we see the blessing from Naomi and then we see the response of the daughters as they argue with her and press on to stay with her and go with her to her people.
As we move from the E of examining the Scripture, then we come to the N in TEND which stands for Notice the lesson.
This is to ask: What does this teach about God and then what lesson is it teaching?
Throught the hesed that Naomi blesses the daughters with, we certainly see the kindness of God, the steadfast love, as some translations say. God is a covenant keeper and He loves, graces and extends kindness to His people.
Are you needing the reminder, like I often do, that God is kind?
Not just good and loving and powerful and holy…but kind.
Kindness seems to be more of a gentle word of considering the other person. God considers you, He is kind towards you and towards me. Are we willing to notice that in our daily life?
I see the kindness of God towards me when I walk out to the porch in the morning and see the confetti of rose petals that the wind has blown strewn across the porch floor, or when I get a confirming text from my son regarding something I have been praying towards. Personal little touches that tell me God sees me and He is kindly extending His love towards me.
Then as we reflect on these verses, we can consider what lesson might be laced in these words. Is there a sin, a promise, an action, a command or an example for us to notice here?
What I see is that the very hesed Naomi was blessing others with, she was failing to believe for herself.
In the following verses Naomi declares herself basically useless to these girls and claims that the same covenant keeping God has His hand against her.
Isn’t that so often the case though?
We often believe for others what we are failing to believe for ourselves.
We find it easier to believe God loves OTHERS, God hears OTHERS, God is near to OTHERS. But as for ME, I’m unloved, unseen, unheard….
We pray for others often with greater faith than we pray for ourselves or our own family. We feel invisible to God yet we notice the answered prayer and blessing on other’s lives.
Naomi isn’t alone in her assessment, is she?
For me it helps to name the specific thing I believe God for in other’s lives and fail to believe in my own. I had to pause and consider this before the Lord. But I think for me it was to be heard by God. I believe He hears YOU but I don’t easily feel heard by Him….though I see answered prayer!
But it’s more about feeling seen and heard in my many words. He brought this to mind when I reflected on this and it has been SUCH an encouragement to remind my heart, He hears me. And to open my time with Him with the words Jesus Himself prayed in John 11:41 as He raised Lazarus from the dead, “thank you that you always hear me.”
What about you?
What are you believing for others that you fail to believe for yourself?
Do you see God’s kindness on other’s lives greater than you see it on your own?
How can we take hold of His grace and kindness for us?
Naming can be powerful. Can you pause to name what it is for you that you believe for others but are failing to believe for yourself?
Hold that before the Lord. He hears you, my friend, and He hears me. He is attentive to His people. Lean in and receive for yourself the kindness of God.
Lord, thank you that you do hear me, thank you for your kindness towards us. Continue to open our eyes today to your personal kindnesses around us. 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.
Keep tending your soul by the Word, friend. Until next time.
For more on the TEND method and to download your free guide to greater intimacy with God, go to marieldavenport.com.
Get your own copy of Tending through the Word Journal on Amazon.