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Barley Harvest: An Atmospheric Shift!

๐’ฎ๐’ธ๐“‡๐’พ๐“…๐“‰๐“Š๐“‡๐‘’: Ruth 1: 22, "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."

๐’ข๐‘œ๐‘œ๐’น ๐ธ๐“‹๐‘’๐“ƒ๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐“‰๐‘œ ๐’ด๐‘œ๐“Š,

It's been a long time but I am elated to be writing again! As I worshipped, prayed, and studied tonight, I had no idea the Holy Spirit of God would choose this night, for the Spirit of Writing to return! And yet, here it is! So let's jump in.

Let's take a look at Ruth, Chapter 1. Though the Book of Ruth is familiar to most and is often quoted in sermons and bible studies, God showed me something new in the old. First, as we start at the beginning of the book, the Word tells us that in the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. Due to a famine in the land, a man, his wife, and their two sons went to live in the country of Moab (Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah). There names were: Elimelech (Husband), Naomi (Wife), Mahlon (Son 1), and Chillion (Son 2).

The family went to live in Moab where they remained. Later, Naomi's husband Elimelech dies and she's left with her two sons. The sons take Moabite women as wives. This is where Orpah (listed first) and Ruth comes in. After ten years, the two sons die. Naomi has survived her husband and sons.

This is where the story develops! Look at verses 6-10. While in Moab, Naomi heard that the Lord had come to the aid of His people by providing food for them. So Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth prepared to return to (Naomi's) home, as they started on the road that would lead to Judah. However, Naomi encourages her daughters in-law to return to the home of their mothers. She tells them they were kind to their dead husbands and to her. Naomi admonishes them to find rest in the home of another husband. Naomi kissed Orpha and Ruth goodbye, as they wept aloud; but what threw Naomi off was the daughters in-law expressing to return with her. Again, Naomi encourages them to return to their homes. At verse 14, Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye and left. Naomi advised Ruth once more to follow in the path of Orpah where she would be going back to her "gods" (notice the little g). But Ruth hit different!

I want to actually insert the next scriptures here because these words from Ruth are game-changers. Read Ruth 1: 16 and 17 ESV. It says, 16 "And 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. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you." Eventually, Naomi realized Ruth's determination and no longer urged her to stay.

WOW!! I had to ask myself, what kind of character did Naomi display for both of her daughters in-law to beg to stay with her? Even though one left, both asked to stay with her. Like seriously! I would love to know the kind of fruits Naomi exhibited to be such a beautiful model of Godliness.

So Lady Monica, where does a shift in the atmosphere start to take place? I'm so glad you asked! Let me show you!

Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem, and now we can see the pain and grievance that Naomi carried. After all, Naomi lost not only her husband, but both of her sons. Then, we see the women of Bethlehem become excited upon Naomi's arrival. (This still says so much about her character and reputation). But at verse 20, Naomi told the women to call me Mara (which means bitter) verses Naomi (which means pleasant). Naomi states that Almighty has dealt bitterly with her. But nonetheless, Naomi returns with Ruth and arrived safely in Bethlehem, as the barley harvest was beginning.

Was Naomi grieving the loss of her husband? Yes!

Was Naomi broken? Absolutely!

Did Naomi experience a level of bitterness? Sure did!

Did she have every reason to be upset? Yup!

Was God still with her? Of course!

Do you want to know my favorite part of Ruth chapter 1? It's the very last verse at 22 (b)... "arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning".... in the midst of Naomi's pain, there was yet a transition starting to occur. Chapter 1 closes with the slightest hope. Verse 22 shows us how light begins to penetrate darkness.

If you look at the seasons, notice none of the four seasons end abruptly. Observe how Summer doesn't end abruptly; but instead, Fall transitions in slowly. The temperature don't jump from 99 degrees Fahrenheit to 39 degrees overnight, then suddenly, it's Fall and Winter! No. It's a gradual shift in the atmosphere. Summer nights become cooler. The humidity lessens. Rain becomes less frequent. And some days, it may even spike back to the 90's. But eventually, the transition starts.

It's so hard to see the other side of grief and pain when you're still in the rain. My sister Kim & I went to college about four hours away from our home town. Our father Joseph would tell us, if it starts to storm do not stop. You can slow down. You can put your flashers on. You can even turn your wipers up to the highest level, but just don't stop. The first time he told us that, we asked him why. Daddy replied, "because you'll never make it out of the worst part." And after traveling back and forth, we understood precisely. God is our umbrella, our rain shoes, and our rain jackets in the storms. He's our protection and He is with us.

Although death and loss may not look exactly like Naomi's and Ruth's, grievances come in many forms. In life we experience loss of loved ones, careers, spouses, children, financials, passion and purpose. This first chapter of Ruth reminds us that even in misfortune, miracles and hope are being birthed.

I want to encourage someone reading this blog entry tonight, to go back home to the Father. Come from whatever Moab (idols) symbolizes for you and return to your God given purpose. In the midst of your tears, struggles, hurt, pain, and challenges, turn to the Father. Let God know you will never give up on Him. Tell God how much you love Him and how much you desire to have a relationship with Him. Not religion but true relationship. Naomi had a relationship with God, as evidenced by the women who knew her.

Remember, if you're in a storm, then transition is already happening for you. Do not give up! Don't you dare give up! You are at the brink of your Barley Harvest and in the midst of an Atmospheric Shift! Let me pray for you.

Father God in the name of Jesus, we give You the glory, we give You the praise, and we give You the honor, which is so rightfully due You! Father we thank You for being our yesterday, our today and our tomorrow. Father we're so glad that all power is in Your hands. Father God we thank You for Your Son Jesus the Christ, who died on the cross for our sins (John 3:16). We thank You Father for Your precious Holy Spirit. We ask You Father to forgive us for our sins and to come into our hearts. Father we ask You to heal what has been broken, and restore to us Your joy. Your Word says in Nehemiah 8:10, "the joy of the Lord is our strength." Father we thank You for not leaving us in our dark seasons (Hebrews 13:5). Father we are so grateful for the shift that has come to relieve us from the last season. We thank you Father that even in the midst of tragedy, it was all strategy (Romans 8:28). We love you Lord and we bless Your holy name! In Jesus name. Amen.


๐ฟ๐’ถ๐’น๐“Ž ๐‘€๐‘œ๐“ƒ๐’พ๐’ธ๐’ถ


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