Thursday, January 12, 2012

Something's coming.... something good

"the hair of his head began to grow"
Judges 16:22

"Now they came to Bethlehem 
at the beginning of the barley harvest"
Ruth 1:22

I've just finished studying the Book of Judges, and have moved into the Book of Ruth.  So the past several days, I've come across these two verses.  They are very alike to me, and I love the message they send.  So I wanted to share it with you. 

The first is from the story of Samson.  I'm sure you know it well.   That powerful, mighty, strong ~ well, okay, weak, judge ~ Samson.  We know the story so well, we can't even say "Samson" without thinking "and Delilah" in our minds, right?  He was indeed powerful in terms of muscle, but he was oh, so weak when it came to the fair sex.  And so he gave in to her feminine wiles, and told her the secret of his strength.  And for eleven hundred pieces of silver, she shaved his head and gave him over to the lords of the Philistines.  They put out his eyes, bound him with bronze fetters, and put him to work in prison, grinding grain. 

But the hair of his head began to grow again 
after it had been shaven. 

The first chapter of Ruth is a rather painful one.  It tells of Ruth, but also her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Both had been widowed, and Naomi had lost not only her husband, but her two sons as well.  So she made the decision to return from her temporary home in Moab, to Bethlehem.  And Ruth chose to come with her, speaking those beautiful words, "Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God."

They arrived in Bethlehem, and the townspeople gathered around them:  "Is this really Naomi?"  But Naomi wanted to be called "Mara," which means "bitter," for that's how she felt.  That the Lord had afflicted her, emptied her of all she loved.   They didn't know how they were going to live, what was going to become of them.

And they came to Bethlehem 
at the beginning of the barley harvest. 

And here's what I love about these two verses:  hope.   Can you hear it?  Do you sense that something is about to happen?  God is doing something.  And that something is going to be wonderful.   In each case, that sentence of hope sets in motion what will change the course of their lives. 

Samson fell, and fell hard.  But when we fall, even while we are still down, God is setting in motion the circumstances to raise us up.  Samson's hair was beginning to grow.

Naomi and Ruth were alone, but for each other.  They had come to Bethlehem because the famine that afflicted that region was over.  They were hungry ~ for food, and for a new start in life.  And they arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Author Madeleine L'Engle wrote, "The last step in any journey is the first step of the next."  

Are you ready?

~ "Behold, I am doing a new thing!  
Now it shall spring forth; do you not see it?  
I am making a road in the wilderness, 
and rivers in the desert." ~
Isaiah 43:19

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