Hey friend! Welcome to episode 2 of the Tending your Soul podcast!
We are seeking to slow down and lean into the Lord through His word using my TEND method and this season we are gleaning from the book of Ruth.
Last week we tended through verse one of Ruth. And today we are going to unfold the truths of Ruth 1:2-5 using the TEND method and let God just press this into our soul like a gardener presses seed into the soil.
The TEND method is an acronym that guides us into intimacy with God through His Word. It helps us slow down and reflect on the truths of Scripture so that we might find refreshment for our soul there.
The TEND method begins with T which stands for take time to pray. So join me as we pause to turn our hearts towards God.
Lord, thank you for the gift of your Word, would you use it to cultivate Christlikeness in us today? Show us the beauty of your Word. Amen.
After the T in TEND is the E, which guides us to examine the scripture. So let’s look carefully at the 4 verses in the narrative.
RUTH 1:2-5 says…
The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives, the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about 10 years, Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the women was left without her 2 sons and her husband.
Wow, such heavy verses of loss and grief! Such a weight of deep sadness here.
In examining these verses, we see each character in our narrative named. Let’s remember as we reflect on these verses that each one of these people were real people who had real struggles and pain. They laughed at jokes, felt lonely and scared at times and loved one another. And the death of each of these 3 men is felt in deep ways by each of the women they left behind, most notably Naomi who loses all 3 in turn.
The names mentioned here are interesting…Elimelech is the father in this family and his name (as I mentioned last week) means “God is king” yet we see him submit more to his own fears and comforts rather than turning to God in the trial of this famine.
Naomi’s name means pleasant, generally in Hebrew culture the name was indicative of the person’s character. Some names were even changed along the way in order to better suit someone’s character.
Their sons’ were named Mahlon and Chilion which come from Hebrew words meaning sickness and failing, so not sure these guys had a great start to life. They may even have been ill as small children and thus leading to their early death.
The dropping of the family around Naomi paints a bit of the picture we see in opening chapters of Job where each trial that he faces seems to come like dominoes falling one right after the other.
As we move through the guidance of the TEND method, we come to N, Notice the lesson. First we want to see what it might be teaching about God.
What seems to stand out as Naomi “is left” with her sons after her husband’s death, and then Naomi “is left without her 2 sons” after their death…what seems to stand out is the truth that what she is left with is God.
People might leave through death or through choices, but God is here. God is with her.
Do you ever feel alone, left, abandoned? God is always present. As we will see through this narrative, God is always there, always working, even when the narrator makes no acknowledgment of God. He is working in every detail, always.
Philippians 1:6 offers us this promise: the apostle Paul says “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
And in Hebrews 13 we are reminded that God has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God is with you, even right now. God sees you, hears you and will not leave you if you are His.
What about the spiritual lesson these verses might be teaching?
What stands out to me is that this family is a family of Bethlehem of Judah, we see this descriptor a couple times and it is meant to stand out to us.
This is a family of the tribe of Judah, of the people of God’s covenant promise.
But isn’t it true that we who belong to the Lord don’t always respond in line with that.
What we choose to do doesn’t always fall in line with whose we are.
We who are in Christ are chosen, holy, beloved, redeemed, forgiven, lavished with grace…according to Ephesians 1. But at times we ACT on fear, greed, selfishness and pride.
Maybe today we need to ask God to remind us, who am I? WHOSE am I? and How does my activity line up or not line up with who God says I am?
So what about you, friend?
In Psalm 139 the great grandson of Ruth prays, “Search me , O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
As we ask God to reveal who we are in him, let’s also be quick to allow Him to search our hearts and ask: Lord, where do I need to repent? What am I thinking, feeling, doing…that is failing to be in line with who you say I am?
Lord, we desire to lean into You over finding our own way to manipulate and solve our trials. Guide us to be women of the Word who allow the You, the Gardener of ou soul, to cut away what needs pruning and fertilize what need nourishing. In jesus’s redeeming name. 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.
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