Because of our man-centered viewpoint, we tend to view God through a distorted lens. Often times, we’ll lament, “Why isn’t God working in my life?” This is actually the wrong question. The right question would be, “How is God working in my life and why can’t I see it?”
There is a truth here; that God is ALWAYS working in me to produce Christ-likeness – even when I can’t see it.
As Naomi trudged back to Bethlehem (The city of Bread) with Ruth happily in tow, they just happened to arrive at the beginning of barley harvest.
“So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.” Ruth 1:22
There is a wonderful scene to behold here which mirrors our truth: God does not leave his people in famine forever, and He is always working in our lives.
This is where watching God move his hand in His perfect providence is awesome.
Let’s ask a series of questions:
What is Ruth’s and Naomi’s biggest and immediate needs?
Food. They had no source of income, so they were dependent on the Jewish welfare system (which will be explained in the next chapter). This need was met by the barley harvest.
What were God’s people’s needs right now?
Historically, they were in the period of the judges, a time where everyone does that which is right in his own eyes, regardless of whether it be God’s will or not. They need a king, but not just any king. They need a king after God’s own heart. And through the barley harvest Ruth meets Boaz, and through their line David is born.
Why is David significant? Because his lineage points forward to Jesus Christ.
So it is through the barley harvest that we get to Jesus. And what does Jesus have to say about himself?
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” John 6:35
So you see, just like God’s perfect providence answered Ruth and Naomi’s biggest needs, they didn’t even realize that God was working.
And just like God’s perfect providence was going to answer the needs of the country, they too didn’t even realize that God was working.
In our own lives, there are times when discouragement can come in a severe way.
It is in times like these where we hold on the to the promises of God and believe that He is working in me to produce Christ-likeness whether I can see it or not.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:28-29
Ryan King is pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Westville.