Ruth (Part 2)

A blessed Sabbath today, Sunday school had a break so I got to attend first service with my parents again.

After worship, Aunty Susie led the congregation to pray The Lord’s Prayer together. It has been a while since I verbalised those verses, and I appreciated that reminder. Your kingdom come – before it happens in our state and nation, Your kingdom come has to happen in each of our hearts. Let my posture and state of mind always be prostrate before You, My Lord and King.

Pastor Mok then continued on the series of Ruth – the second chapter. The story now builds up where Naomi and Ruth, mother and daughter-in-law, both widowed, arrive in Bethlehem.

To back track to the earlier part of the story, Naomi was not only widowed but she also lost her two sons to death. To add to her relational loss, there was a famine in the land. She literally had nothing, except for her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Her daughter-in-law Orpah, parted ways with her but Ruth was adamant to follow her. Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

It was the beginning of the barley harvest in Bethlehem. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”  So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech (Naomi’s deceased husband).

The phrase “happened to come” brings the connotation that it was purely coincidence or luck. Many times in our lives, we will find ourselves meeting such timely “coincidences” and how do we separate which was God’s will and plan or which was purely our own decision and will?

I have to confess that I am one person who is rather kiasi. For the non-Chinese readers out there, here’s the definition from Wikipedia. Ha ha!

Kiasi (Chinese: 驚死, 惊死; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: kiaⁿ-sí) is a Hokkien phrase, literally means afraid of death, to describe the attitude of being overly afraid or timid. Kiasi is commonly compared to Kiasu (literally, fear of losing) and both are commonly used to describe behaviour where Kiasi or Kiasi-ism means to take extreme means to avoid risk and Kiasu or Kiasu-ism means to take extreme means to achieve success. Kiasi is not as popular as kiasu, but is widely used by Hokkien-speaking people in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.

I am always worried about making the wrong decisions. I want to know God’s will (which is good), but there are times when I think God just wants me to use common sense and choose. Within His permissible will, He always gives us freedom to choose. It is my kiasi-ism that holds me back, always afraid to make the wrong decision and expecting God to make His will known to me in clear ways. Pastor said something that helped addressed this silly state that I am in. He said, “Be and do the best you can be with God in mind.

Ah! I feel such a freedom now. As this chapter of my life begins to unfold new ministries, newfound friendships and new experiences, I should stop being so paranoid about making the wrong decisions so long as I put God at the end of the picture. If the picture is one that I believe will bring glory to His name, I shall walk forward in faith. I know that if I am misguided by my thought patterns or decisions, God in His gracious love will redirect me back to His path.

Many times in life, God does not command us where we should work, which church we should worship, whom we should marry. If we desire to obey and honour Him in our decisions, somehow His divine providence will lead us all the way. It is impossible to extricate which outcome came from our decisions, His decisions or “coincidences”.

God directs human affairs to the final revelation of His sovereignty.

When you find yourself at the end of the road, or even at the end of yourself, God’s providence is still at work. Turn to Him.

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