Hey friend! Welcome to episode 5 of the Tending your Soul podcast! I’m Mariel and I’m grateful you’re joining me in the garden today as we tend our soul by the Word of God using 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.
We have been meeting 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 1:11-14. Here we encounter Naomi and her 2 daughters in law who are all 3 widowed. Naomi has gotten word that the Lord has brought a harvest of barley to Bethlehem and thus she is returning. Her daughters in law are seeking to go with her. And in these verses we hear her response to them.
When we TEND through we begin with take time to pray so join me now before the Throne of Grace:
Lord, Thank you for the gift of your word. Would you tend it now into our souls by your Spirit and let it bring forth fruit for your glory in our life. Amen.
Okay friend, so as we tend our soul we then move to Examine the Scripture. So let’s slow down and lean into these verses in Ruth. Chapter 1: 11-14 says
“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do that. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the LORD lives; I will redeem you. Lie down until morning.” So she lay at his feet until morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that a woman came to the threshing floor.”
Some repeated words seem to stand out as we examine these verses, we see that twice she encourages them to TURN BACK. The Hebrew word for turn back or return is used over 12 times in this chapter alone!
It’s a word that frequently refers to returning to God. So though she is using it here for the daughters to return to their homes and their false gods, the ribbon of returning to God runs through this chapter intentionally. God is calling them, and us to return to Him, continually drawing them.
Also we can see that Naomi says a lot of ME/I language here: Go with ME, Have I yet, MY womb, I’m too old, bitter to ME…
Her focus seems to be more on herself and her own abilities than on the Lord and what He might be doing here.
When we slow down and examine the words of the text, the Holy Spirit begins to gently whisper through the Words a clarity that only He can offer. This is the seed of the word being pressed into our soul.
So as we move to then Notice the lessons here, we can see that there is an example to not follow…Naomi’s focus on self teaches us that we are not to be focused on our own abilities. At times we fail to invite others to follow us to Jesus bc we wrongly think that it’s all based on us and our ability.
We might refrain from sharing the gospel because we don’t feel equipped. Or we might keep from mentoring, teaching, discipling because our eyes are on our own ability and not on the God who is calling us to the task.
Naomi points out her own WHYS of the reasons the daughters should not follow her but never once points out the provision of the Lord in Bethlehem that she had heard about and which initially motivated her return!
So then as we consider this lesson, and as we remind ourselves of the provision of God and how He is the Source and Provider of all things…it prompts me to ask myself, am I focused on what I can/can’t do when God calls me to action or am I focused on what God can do?
Or maybe the better question is: how can I focus not on my own abilities but on God’s abilities in any given circumstance?
As I consider the launching of my sons, I can so easily fall into fear for my sons futures bc well, what can I do….but I miss the ability God has and His sovereignty in their lives.
Or when I consider the call of God on my life to tasks far beyond me (like a podcast!), rather than focus on my inability to figure out tech and details that it all requires…the focus ought to shift towards the ability of God and He has so faithfully brought people and programs that have been so useful and helpful to guide me.
He equips the called, every time. Bc it’s not based on US, it’s based on Him. And He, friend, is so able.
So what about you?
Is there a trial, a calling, a fearful circumstance, maybe evangelism, that God is guiding you towards that has you considering your own abilities or inabilities?
Are you rehearsing your limitations or God’s unlimited strength? Tell God where you are with this.
Pause now, ask Him to reveal to you where you’re more focused on self than on Him and as the hymn says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in light of his glory and grace.”
Lord, we thank you that despite our limitations, you call us and use us and thus equip us for each task so that we might lean on you and glorify you as we do. Reveal to us the area where we are are self focused and draw us near to look full in your wonderful face and have your perspective rather than our own. In jesus name. amen.
As we walk through the TEND method in this podcast, I want to let you know I have released a TEND journal for you so you might keep tending your soul by the Word of God. Tending through the Word is available now on Amazon.
And if you’re looking to further cultivate intimacy with Jesus, get your free guide, Tools for Tending your Soul on my website at marieldavenport.com
Until next time, keep tending your soul by the Word.