I’ve been studying the book of Ruth lately. Painstakingly slow. I began the beginning of February and I’m still only on chapter 2. I hadn’t planned on studying it, but our pastor began preaching through the short book and I began reading it in preparation for his sermons.
Also I needed to make a graphic for the bulletin cover which necessitated my reading also. But I digress.
The story of Ruth is a wonderful picture of the life of an indwelt Christian. We all know it is the love story of Boaz and Ruth. But it’s also a love story of God and His people. In the first chapter we see ourselves as we really are before Jesus. We’ve fled the freedom of the promised land because of famine and are living exactly where God told us not to live…the Land of Moab. But God begins wooing us out of our sinful state by noticeably blessing those around us. We decide to return and that is where the love story really begins. We come to the realization that He is our Kinsman Redeemer, and He has gone to great lengths to buy us back from captivity and sin.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Chapter 2 dawns with Ruth asking Naomi’s permission to go glean in a field, behind someone in whose sight she would find favor. Naomi obviously gives her permission and off Ruth goes. In gleaning that day she happened (actual Hebrew word means, “her chance chanced upon”) to come to the field owned by Boaz. I’m not going to get into the whole story here because that isn’t the topic or issue for this post.
In this chapter Ruth is continually referred to as “Ruth the Moabitess”, I believe the same holds true in the rest of Scripture. Everywhere she is named the two words, “the Moabitess” follows her name. It struck me as odd this morning. She is constantly referred to by who she was.
I am firmly convinced that she had a complete heart and life change when she left Moab with Naomi. I am sure it wasn’t after she left, but the change started before, while they were all still living in Moab. Before her father-in-law died, before her brother-in-law died, and before her husband died.
But nowhere is that change noted or mentioned. It’s striking to me, Rahab isn’t always known as Rahab the Harlot. But every time we see Ruth, we are reminded that she was an outsider, a non-Israelite. She didn’t fit it, didn’t belong, she wasn’t one of them.
In chapter 2 we also see that she is known for her kindness to Naomi, or what she did. When Boaz asked the servant over the reapers who she was, he was told “She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi…”. He didn’t even say her name, but he did say what she had done. Apparently words got around in those days too. Everyone knew who she was because they knew what she had done.
Why the difference? Is it even important? Why call her by who she was every time? It’s an Identity thing! Her identity was in being from Moab.
Our identity isn’t in WHAT we do, but it’s in WHO we are.
We all struggle with seeing our identity in what we do. We ask people, “What do you do?” instead of asking, “Who are you?” Oh, yeah, we’ll ask someone’s name and then say, “Hilda, what do you do?” We identify with our actions.
I am a writer. I’m an attorney. I’m a CPA. I’m a banker. I’m a bank robber. I’m a teacher. I’m a student. I’m a Momma. I’m a secretary. I’m a bum. I’m a broker. I’m a cop. I’m a store clerk. I’m a librarian. I’m a barbarian.
It’s all what we do. But our actions don’t define us or identify us. We are not what we do.
We pray all the time for Jesus to show us what He wants us to do. We need to stop that. Don’t ask Jesus what He wants you to do. He created you a human BEing not a human DOing.
But also don’t pray to be WHAT Jesus wants you to be. Pray to be WHO Jesus wants you to be. You’re a WHO not a WHAT.
Remember, you are not what you do. Your job, your title, your activities do not define or identify you. Allow Jesus to be your identity, find your identity in Him and allow Him and His life to identify and define you.