Today's prompt is from the book of Ruth. If you aren't familiar with it, I suggest you take a peak because it's a 4 chapter book that is so beautiful and rich with God's grace and provision. Ruth is actually a matriarch of Christ's human genealogy but she wasn't born into the Israelite Nation so how did she become part of God's Story?
It begins with a man named Elimelek and his wife Naomi who lived in Bethlehem (does that town name ring a bell??). There was a famine so they moved to Moab (an enemy nation land) to live. They married off their two sons to Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Soon all the men died and Naomi was left with her daughters-in-law. She decided she wanted to go back to Bethlehem to her people. She told the women to go back to their families and find new husbands to take care of them. Orpah left but Ruth was determined to stay with her mother-in-law. She says some beautiful words:
"Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me."
Ruth 1: 16-17
Ruth was willingly accepted Naomi's God which meant leaving behind all her gods and people. This woman showed amazing sacrificial love, a trademark that we will see again in her descendant ;)
When Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem, Naomi tells everyone:
"Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter."
Ruth 1: 20b
Naomi has renamed herself because of her circumstances. She no longer wants to be called the name given to her by her parents (most likely influenced by God) but she wants to cast that aside for a name that describes how she is feeling about her life. She is bitter. She has lost her husband and sons. Who is going to take care of her?
How often do we cast off our names for something better? A nickname or pet name? While these can all be nice and good, our parents chose our name for a reason. God knit us together in our mother's womb and knew our name before we were born. He also calls us by many names: Beloved, Child, and Forgiven to name a few. None of which are dependent on our good deeds or circumstance but God's Love for us!
This prompt timing is nicely after I spent a few days at Creation Fest NorthEast where Matthew West performed. He wrote a song called "Hello My Name Is". Below is the video if you aren't familiar or would like to refresh.
Basically the song is about replacing all the names that we give ourselves with the names that God has given us. Most importantly Child of the One True King! So what are some names that you have called yourself that don't reflect your true character?
Me personally, a few years ago before I gave my life to Christ, I named myself as slutty and rebellious. Often times I was proud of that name but deep down I wanted to be different but didn't know how to be. Then I found Jesus' love and forgiveness. Now I have erased that name and put on a new name tag, one filled with positive names that won't change based on my circumstances. The world gives us names usually based on our appearance that will change but God names us based on His never changing love.
So think about the names you give yourself, erase them and ask God to reveal some names that He calls you!
ps Finish reading Ruth to find out how the beautiful story ends!