Ruth: When Life Tastes Bitter

Sermon by Derek Thomas on April 21, 1998

Ruth 1:1-2:23

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Ruth 1 and 2

“When Life Tastes Bitter”



Dr. Derek W. H. Thomas

This morning we're going to look together at the Book of Ruth, chapters 1 and 2. Let's read together just now the first chapter.

“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. And a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man's name was Elimelech; his wife's name, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women; one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died; and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

“When she heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of His people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law, she left the place where she had been living, and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go back, each of you, to your mother's home. May the Lord show kindness to you as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.’ Then she kissed them and they wept aloud, and said to her, ‘We will go back with you to your people.’ But Naomi said, ‘Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons who would become your husbands? Return home, my daughters. I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me, even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons, would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord's hand has gone out against me.’ At this they wept again; then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

“‘Look,’ said Naomi, ‘your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.’ But Ruth replied, ‘Don't urge me to leave you, or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go; and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.’ When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

“So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, ‘Can this be Naomi?’ ‘Don't call me Naomi,’ she told them; call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me. The Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.’

“So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.”

Well, thus far, God's holy and inerrant word.

This is not the Book of Romans. It's not the Book of Hebrews. It's not the Book of Revelation, it's not the Sermon on the Mount; but it's a little book tucked away in the Old Testament; and, if you’re not familiar with the Old Testament, perhaps a little difficult to find at first. You can easily turn the pages and miss the Book of Ruth. But it's a book with a singular message, and a message that is relevant to us in every age. In actual fact, as I suggested at the beginning this morning, it's a book with four discrete messages — there are four chapters, after all. And we remind ourselves again this morning that

“All of Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine and reproof and correction and instruction in the way of righteousness, that the man [or woman] of God might be thoroughly furnished unto every good work.”


And what I want to do this morning with you is to ask the question: "What is it about the Book of Ruth that teaches us and instructs us? What is it about the Book of Ruth that corrects us, and chastises us? What is it about the Book of Ruth, that if we take and hide within our hearts, will become the very instrument that God would have to enable us to do those works which He has prepared for us to do from before the foundation of the world?"

Ruth is part of the wider section of Scripture. It's part of the Bible. Well, you didn't need a seminary professor to come tell you that, of course! But let me explain what I mean by that. The Book of Ruth is part of the unfolding message of the Bible; and you realize, the longer you read your Bibles, you become familiar with the way the Bible was written. The story of Jesus and the coming of Jesus, and the story of redemption in terms of His dying for us on the cross took a long time in coming. It came via the types and shadows and preliminaries of the Old Testament, and the Book of Ruth belongs to that period of the types and the shadows and the preliminaries. It's part of the unfolding narrative of how God is determined to save His people, and how He will send His Son, Jesus Christ, in fulfillment of a covenant which He has made to redeem a people for eternity. And every detail of that narrative, every detail of that unfolding purpose of God, ought to fascinate us. This is part of that story.

The Book of Ruth is also a book that peculiarly focuses on the details of divine providence. How detailed God's purposes really are in the day to day affairs of our lives! What happens in the Book of Ruth is as though God were to put the lives of individuals under a microscope. Do you remember, perhaps in your own experience, but perhaps in the experience of your children, the first time you bought a microscope? You know, I was given a microscope as a present — oh, I was 11 or 12 or something — and I was fascinated with it for about three months, and then it went back into its box. And it wasn't a terribly good microscope, but you know, you've got an insect, and you looked at it, and you got some blood and you looked at it and examined it, and so on…and it was fascinating to see that beneath the world that you and I can perceive with our eyes, there appears to be another world as beautiful and fascinating and intricate as this world is. And here in the Book of Ruth, God, as it were, pauses — or, perhaps, causes us to pause — and says to us ‘Stop a minute and look, and examine the details of the lives of particular individuals in the grand scheme of the unfolding of the redemptive purpose of God.’

You remember that beautiful, beautiful hymn that we sometimes sing, by William Cowper,

“God moves in a mysterious way,

His wonders to perform.

He plants His footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.”

And I don't know whether you pause —you know, sometimes we sing the hymns and so on and we don't really think about what we're singing, and sometimes we need to stop and think about what it is that we're singing. And I wonder this morning if you've thought about what it is that William Cowper is saying in that hymn? “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform. He plants His footsteps in the sea…” — that's a strange metaphor, isn't it? What is he trying to convey?

Well, if you try and plant your footstep in the sea, you’re not going to see it. That's one of the characteristics of fluids…water…it doesn't retain its shape. “And He rides upon the storm…” and again, it's a different metaphor, but again it's conveying the same idea that if God is coming in a storm, you can't see Him. All you can see is the storm. And our lives are like that. Sometimes God puts us, as it were, in the crucible of trials and difficulties, and He asks us by faith to discern His hand of providence mysteriously working itself out in the very details of our lives.

It is, I think, instructive that in this Book of Ruth, in this first chapter, we're introduced to the lives of ordinary people. After all, who was Elimelech? And who was Naomi? They were, to all intents and purposes, nobodies. They weren't important people. They weren't people of great importance in Bethlehem. They certainly had some land in Bethlehem, but they were just ordinary people. And sometimes – especially, perhaps, in a church like this one (forgive me, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves) — with all the astonishing gifts and abilities and provision that we have in a church like this, over the world a church like this is not, as it were, in the center of things. Did you understand what I mean? Because God's church is very often comprised of very ordinary people. Not many mighty are called, Paul says. Not many rich. Not many of the nobility. But many, many, of just plain ordinary people.

Ruth, Naomi, Elimelech, Mahlon, Chilion, Orpah…ordinary people that, I figure, otherwise we would know nothing about, if God hadn't paused to tell us of their existence. If God hadn't paused and forced us to look through the microscope at this little family, we would know nothing about them.

Well, let's move on. Let's look at this first chapter, and it divides very nicely into three sections. It divides into three sections according to three stations along the way. There is, in the first place, the journey from Bethlehem to Moab; then, there's the journey from Moab to the crossroads; and then, there's the journey from the crossroads back to Bethlehem again.

I. The journey from Bethlehem to Moab.

Let's look at this first section: the journey from Bethlehem to Moab. What's it saying to us? Let me give you a title…let me give you a heading by which to focus our thoughts. It's saying to us, I think, that the saving purposes of God ordinarily begin in the sovereign and sometimes dark providence in someone else's life. That's a long title! Let me give it to you again: The saving purposes of God ordinarily begin in His sovereign and sometimes dark providences in someone else's life.

There was a famine in the land of Judah, and there was a famine in Bethlehem. And I think that we are meant to understand by that in the opening verse of this chapter that the famine was greater than simply the lack of provision of food. There certainly was a lack of food, but I think that we're meant to dig a little deeper into what the writer of this narrative is trying to convey to us, and he's telling us, I think, that there's a famine in every conceivable sense in Bethlehem. There was a famine of spirituality in Bethlehem. There was a famine of faith; there was a famine of trust in the Lord; there was a famine, as it were, morally and chronologically and sociologically in Bethlehem. And we are told it is in the days when the judges ruled.

Now, you all know, of course, how to summarize the Book of Judges. What's the Book of Judges about, in one sense? They all “did that which was right in their own eyes.” That's the timeframe in which this takes place. This takes place in a timeframe where morally and spiritually things are at a decline. The judgments of God have come down upon Judah and Bethlehem. At the end of the Book of Deuteronomy God had warned that if God's people did not walk in God's ways, the curses of the covenant would come down upon them. Part of those curses would be the effects of famine. It appears that that's what, in part, is taking place here in Judah.

These are warning signs of the displeasure of God, and in such a time as this, God introduces us to this family: Naomi; her husband, Elimelech; and their two children, Mahlon and Chilion. It's a little family of covenant people, a little family of God's people. And instead of turning to the Lord in their distress, which is, I think, what the writer of this chapter intends us to gather, Elimelech's name means, after all, my God is King. And they find themselves in a famine. The first thing that we read of as to what they do is that they flee from Judah and they go to the land of Moab. Moab, you understand, is outside of the covenant structures of the Old Testament dispensation. You could not belong to the covenant people as a Moabite unless you fulfilled certain fairly strict conditions that God had laid down. And to all intents and purposes, the picture that we're meant to gather from this is that the Lord's people were running away from their problems. They were running away from their difficulties. They ran to a place where God would give them no promise. They ran to a place that was considered to be part of a people that were outside of the covenant of God. They were running away from God.

Notice (still in the first verse) that they went to live “for a while” in the country of Moab. That was their intention. And perhaps there's an echo here that the writer is wanting us to capture, that whenever we turn our backs upon the Lord, we intend to do so only for a while. In actual fact, it was ten years before at least Naomi was to return to Bethlehem again. Ten years, as you and I know only too well, is a long time in the life of our pilgrimage and our walk with God.

As soon as they come to the land of Moab, Elimelech dies. We don't know at what stage he died, but we're introduced to the devastating providence, this terrible hardship. He dies and leaves Naomi a widow. We’re also introduced to the fact that Mahlon and Chilion then marry — outside the covenant. They marry these two girls, Orpah and Ruth. And then, the unthinkable happens…her two sons also die. And it's an immense tragedy, isn't it? You put yourself this morning, as some of you perhaps can do so only too well, in the shoes of this woman, Naomi. And she has lost the dearest things that she knew in this world. She's lost her husband and she's lost her two boys. And there's something of an echo, isn't there, of the Book of Job here in Ruth?

Sometimes we have a proverb — I don't know whether you use it here in America — but “it never rains but it pours” — you should know it here in America, but…! It never rains but it pours. And sometimes adversity doesn't come, as it were, in isolated units. It seems to come in a deluge, and it seems to come in a storm…just one thing after another. And here is this woman, then, whose life has been turned inside out. And something of the harshness of the providence is underlined for us when eventually (if we can step forward for a minute) she comes back to Bethlehem, you remember, and they call her “Naomi.” She says, “Don't call me Naomi; call me Mara [the Hebrew word for bitter].” Not, you understand that she was bitter in her own heart, but that providence had been bitter, which is something else. Life had been bitter. Life had been like a grapefruit for her. It had been sour. It had been acidic. It had been very, very, difficult.

“Come to Jesus,” people say, “and all your troubles will go away.” Come to Jesus and all your difficulties and problems will vanish away. And, my friends, that is a gospel that is being proclaimed across this land today, but it is a gospel that comes from the pit. It doesn't come from the arms of Jesus. Jesus says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and let him take up a cross and follow Me.” Because if you want to save your life, you will at the same time lose it. And don't be surprised, my dear friends, this morning…do not be surprised if you follow Jesus and you are overtaken by trials, and you are overtaken by difficulties, and you’re overtaken by a storm. Don't be surprised if that cross seems so very hard to carry. Don't be surprised if God brings you, as it were, down into the very dust. Don't be surprised. And remember the story of Naomi, one of God's sweetest children…and God brought such pain and such heartache, such bitterness, into her life. But, as we shall see, Naomi was also given the strength to bear it and to be able to rise above it, and to be able to witness and testify to the grace of God despite it.

We recognize here in this narrative that there is something extraordinarily intense about the providence that has come into the life of Naomi. And one thing in particular needs to be perhaps stressed just now as we think of the life of this woman Naomi as she goes to Moab, and as she has fled from Bethlehem and Judah: that, after all, God is at work in her life, and

“God moves in a mysterious way,

His wonders to perform.

He plants His footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.”

There are aspects of the character of God and that which He does in our lives which are incomprehensible to us. We cannot fathom them. We can never explain them. What we are called upon to do is to trust Him; to trust Him for His grace, and to trust Him for His ongoing love, and to trust Him that He will never leave us, and that He will never forsake us; and, that having begun a good work, He will complete it unto the day of Jesus Christ.


II. The crossroads scene.

Let's move on, in the second place, to the crossroads scene. In verse 6, when “…she heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of His people by providing food for them [this is back, now, in Bethlehem], Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.” Here's Naomi, now, with two women, two Moabite women, Moabitesses…Moabitesses who are outside of the covenant. They are not believers. They worshiped different gods. They worshiped foreign gods, heathen gods. They were idolaters. And the Lord has come to the aid of His people. The Lord has returned blessing to Bethlehem, and they set off, now, to return home…to go back home. They've been in exile. And perhaps from the perspective of Naomi she has begun to realize after ten years that she wasn't in the place where she ought to have been. And home was now where she belonged, and she sets off upon this journey.

And they come to a crossroads, and there is a signpost perhaps…pointing to Bethlehem in one direction and Moab in another direction. And she says to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go back. Go back to your people.’

You know you've got hearts of stone if you’re not moved by this scene. You know, if this was a movie, the director would now pan in on the eyes of Naomi, and there would be tears welling up, and it would be very emotional, and there would be John Williams’1 music playing in the background; it would all be very stirring. And it is a very, very, emotional point. Can you imagine it? You form relationships, and perhaps stronger relationships with your daughters-in-law if your sons have died. They are the only bond that she has with her sons and her family now. And you ask yourself, as I ask myself every time I read this, why does she tell them to go back? Why does she do that?

And of course you have to understand the setting. You have to understand the scenario here. What future did these two Moabitesses have in Bethlehem? What future did they have in Judah? To all intents and purposes, they were heathens. Would they ever find a husband to marry them in Bethlehem? Probably not. And whatever future they had, in terms — they were young women! — whatever future they had lay in Moab, and with their people. And so, from a point of view that one must understand from the Old Testament, wisdom conveyed the sensible course that Naomi should bid them farewell. And she does her best.

Let me try and draw a principle here, a principle that is at work here that I think the narrator of this story intends us to understand. What is Naomi saying to her two daughters-in-law? Naomi, I think, having perhaps been in a backslidden condition, now conveys something of a renewed sense of spirituality, and a renewed sense of her relationship with God, and a new sense of the hand of God upon her life. And Naomi is suggesting, ‘Look, you come with me to Bethlehem, and there are no promises. There are no guarantees for you. You understand that. There are no guarantees of a husband. There are no guarantees of a future. There is no guarantee of a wonderful provision for you in Bethlehem. You can come with me, but if you come, you must understand there are no guarantees.’

And isn't the gospel a little like that? That when you take Christ as your Lord and Savior, He doesn't give you guarantees about this world? He doesn't guarantee that your life will be free from pain or distress, or difficulty or hardship. He hasn't given you a promise that you will live a long and useful life. He doesn't do that. He says you follow Me, and you may well know difficulties, and you may well know trials, and you may well know pain, and you may well know hardship. You follow Me to Bethlehem, Naomi is saying, and there are no guarantees.

You remember how Jesus spoke to that rich young ruler? An evangelist's dream, wasn't it? Here's a young man, and he comes running up to Jesus and says, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” You know, I don't think I've ever had anybody come up and ask me that. You know, you've manufactured a conversation, and you've been sort of…you sometimes feel guilty that you've sort of manufactured a scenario. Of course, you pray that God the Holy Spirit would use you in doing that, but here's a young man, and he comes running up, and he says, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus says to him, you remember, to obey the commandments. And of course he says, “I've obeyed these from my youth up” and so on, but he didn't really understand the Law, so Jesus applied it where it hurts. “Go and sell everything that you have and give it to the poor.” And he wasn't prepared to do that. He wasn't prepared to deny himself that much, because he loved his riches more than he loved God.

And Naomi is drawing out a similar kind of principle here, that if you follow Naomi's God, and if you go to the land where Naomi's God has made certain promises in Judah and Bethlehem, then you must be prepared to deny yourself. So she bids them to go back. Orpah is in her mid-twenties, she's still eligible, all of her life is before her. She does the calculation: if you follow Jehovah, if you follow Yahweh, there are no promises and there are no guarantees. And she chooses the immediate, and she chooses the temporal, and she chooses the this-worldly, and she goes away. She kisses her mother-in-law and bids her farewell, and she's gone. And you never hear anything more about her.

What happened to Orpah? Don't you wonder? What happened to her? Did she find a husband? Did she have children? Did she live long? Did she make it back on her own? Was she killed along the way? All sorts of horrible things…we don't know. We have absolutely no idea, because as far as this book is concerned, the Holy Spirit is unfolding here the story of redemption, and Orpah is not a part of that anymore.

Then there's Ruth. And Ruth comes to express what are perhaps some of the most beautiful words in all the Bible. They are words that you know, I'm sure. Words that you've used, perhaps. Words that convey what it really means to love the Lord and follow Him with all of our hearts. And she says in verses 16 and 17, “Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you; where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if ever anything but death separates you and me. Your people will be my people.”

And that should cause in your minds this morning (as good Presbyterian women) bells to go off! You know, this is a code word, isn't it? This is code language: “Your people will be my people…” and it reminds you of something that God says over and over and over in the Bible. It's like one of those themes – light motifs, if you’re into music or literature, that recurs again and again and again. (My wife tells me off for using this illustration. “Now,” she says, “you know people don't have the interests you have.” And she's right, but it's a good illustration!) And I like, you know — I'm sorry, but I like Wagner's music! It's not church music…I don't like Wagner in church, but I like his music. I know he's got a lot of problems, I know all of that, you know. There are parts of Wagner that I just want to put in a cupboard and shut the door…it's nasty, horrible stuff! But I love his music. And I like The Ring cycle. You know, The Ring cycle lasts about eighteen hours. I've never heard it from beginning to end in one sitting, but every now and then, I’ll — you know, if I'm traveling away somewhere, and I’ll put it on and listen to it. And every now and then, in the course of this extraordinarily complicated story, there's a little tune. And it's played on the horn, and it's a signal that Siegfried is either about to appear, or he's about to sing something, or eventually, he's about to die. And in the course of this opera, Siegfried, of course, appears all the time. It's really about Siegfried, and the horn call is a motif that occurs all the time through the program. When you hear this piece of music, you think, “Oh, Siegfried is about to appear somewhere!”

Well, here's this light motif: “Your people will be my people.” Now, isn't that extraordinary? This is Ruth speaking. This is a heathen Moabitess who is using the code language of covenant theology. (She's read Dr. Duncan's thesis!) And you ask yourself where she heard this. Where has she heard this language? She's using the language of the covenant people of God! Where has she heard this? She has not heard this in Moab. But you know where she's heard it, of course. She's heard it on the lips of her mother-in-law, and that's extraordinary. You know all the horrible jokes, you know, we use…and I use them…about our mother-in-laws. You know…bless them. But here, isn't this a beautiful story? That the one who brings this heathen Moabitess to saving faith and to trust in God is her mother-in-law.

And not just her mother-in-law, but the mother-in-law who has known extraordinary pain, unbelievable tragedy in her life. And what Ruth has heard is not whining and carping and bitter words coming out of her mouth, even though her life has been bitter. But what Ruth has heard is a testimony again and again and again to the God of Israel, covenant God of His people. And Ruth is saying ‘I have seen something in you that I've never seen anywhere else. I've seen something in your life that I've never seen anywhere else. I've seen something in the way that you can cope with unbelievable tragedy, and your life still has purpose and it still has direction, and it still has meaning. And whatever it is you've got, I want it.’ And Ruth is prepared to forsake everything, her entire past; and she's willing to forsake any promise about the future, and to throw everything on Naomi's God and Naomi's people.

She has, in the words of the apostle when he writes to the Thessalonians, turned from idols to serve the living and the true God. And that's a wonderful and a beautiful thing. And I wonder this morning, you mother-in-laws, what is your witness and testimony to your daughters-in-law? And your sons-in-law? Your daughters-in-law, mainly…you know, you love your sons-in-law, but daughters-in-law…sometimes there's a tension.

You know — I know it! I know how you mothers love your sons, and you pamper your sons. You know, you pamper your sons in Mississippi too much! You need to teach them to do dishes, you need to teach them to cook. (I'm glad somebody agrees with me!) You know, when I was about 13 or 14, my mother said to me one day, “I'm going out this afternoon,” she says, “and when I come back, I want dinner on the table. And I want you to bake a cake.” And I had to do it! She left recipe books, and she says there's the kitchen…and I had to do it. It was awful, but I did it!

What's your testimony to your daughters-in-law this morning? Or relations in general? And I wonder this morning, has Naomi got something to teach you this morning about the sweetness of her character? There's more to Naomi. Naomi was a meddler, too! You see that in chapter 3. She did things that you should never do. She put Ruth in circumstances that are unbelievable. I can't believe how close to temptation she put Ruth. Unbelievable! She was a meddler. She couldn't wait on God's providence. She had to do it for herself. She could look into the future, and she could see that perhaps God was going to bring this about, so she got it all into her own hands…but there's something extraordinarily beautiful about her character. She witnessed to her Savior, she witnessed to her Lord.

III. The confession of God's humbling power.

But there's a third thing. We’re back in Bethlehem, and what has happened? What has happened? The women in Bethlehem hear of her coming, and they all come out into the streets. And they haven't seen her for ten years…ten long years. Ten years of grief, and ten years of pain, ten years of tragedy. And tragedy can etch lines in your face. Oh, yes! And it can turn your hair a different color, and the beauty of youth can disappear. And perhaps the writer of this book is saying in a veiled way that she didn't look like the woman she looked when she left ten years ago. And the women noticed it, and they said ‘Oh, my! Look at her! This old, old woman…can this be Naomi?’

And Naomi gives an explanation as to what's happened, and she says, “Don't call me Naomi; call me Mara.” And what she intends to convey by that is that God has humbled her. God has humbled her, as God sometimes does, and brings us down, as it were, into the very dust, that He might be everything, that He might be all in all.

But throughout it all, there is the unfolding of the absolute certainty of God's hand. God has been at work in my life, Naomi is saying. You see, she isn't reacting to pain in an unbelieving way. She's simply acknowledging that God has dealt very bitterly with her. But her trust is still in God. And I wonder this morning, can you discern the signature, the handwriting of God in the life of Naomi? And I wonder perhaps if you can discern that same signature and that same handwriting at work in your life, that in the various twists and turns of pain and hardship and difficulty that you have known, God has been working out His sovereign purposes.

There was, of course, a purpose in it all. And the writer gives us a hint of it in the very last verse. A strange little verse — “They arrived in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.” He's a good writer, of course. It's like a novel, isn't it? Because he wants you, makes you turn the page now. What's the significance of the barley harvest? Well, of course it's because of Boaz. The story is about to unfold, and he gives us a little clue, a little foretaste of it at the end of the chapter.

“God moves in mysterious way,

His wonders to perform.

He plants His footsteps in the sea,

And He rides upon the storm.”

Let's pray together.

Our Father in heaven, we thank You for Your word, and we thank You that at times it speaks in ways that are quite extraordinary to our own needs and our own situation. And we pray just now for anyone here, and perhaps ourselves, who are hurting and who are passing through difficulty and stress; help us to discern the signature of Your providence, and help us to bow in faith, and in humility, and in loving obedience to you, like Naomi did. And we ask it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

1. John Williams – Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones, Fiddler on the Roof, Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, the first three Harry Potter movies Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan





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