Down, But Not Out


The Florida State Seminoles were down but not out. At one point in the National Championship game, they trailed 21-3 to the Auburn Tigers.  They were losing and looking bad doing it.  So I stopped watching. I didn’t want to watch the Heisman Trophy winner get beat up and beat down. Go figure. But a dramatic comeback was in the making. Jameis Winston threw a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left to give Florida State a stunning 34-31 victory over Auburn.  

The Heisman Trophy winner and his No. 1 ranked team were down but not out. Winston, who arguably had his worst game of the season, managed to go 6-of-7 passing for 77 yards on the game-winning 80-yard drive. In the biggest game of the season, down by four with 1:19 left, the star freshman quarterback put together the drive of his life, and the Seminoles proved they could take a punch and win a championship

The game was a thrilling, down-to-the-wire classic.

Another thrilling, down to the wire classic was played out with a Biblical “Heisman Trophy” winner: a woman named Ruth. Ruth was poor, a foreigner, and a woman, and all this counted against her, but she was helped by an older woman to overcome the difficulties she faced. Ruth had the good sense to listen to the advice given to her by Naomi, and the older woman was rewarded by Ruth’s unfaltering loyalty. Her story illustrates the triumph of courage and ingenuity over adverse circumstances. She has special significance for Christians: in the gospel of Matthew, four women appear in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:2-17), and Ruth was one of the four.[1]

Ruth was down but not out. God loved Ruth and Naomi. He knew what was going on in their lives. Naomi voiced her grief over the death of her husband and sons but never stopped trusting Him to do something about her situation. Ruth’s relationship with God started the same way most relationships with Him do. She came to know and value someone who knew Him well. That someone was Naomi. These women were not only God’s provision to each other but also a way for Him to make Himself known through their lives.[2]

Ruth was willing to forgo everything — her future in Moab, her people, her gods and even her ancestral burial plot — to be joined with Naomi. Yet as we remember Ruth, as we acknowledge and strive to emulate her devotion, her loyalty, her total commitment, let us not forget that other remarkable woman, Naomi. As F.B. Huey, Jr., explains, “Naomi’s consistent living must have so impressed her daughter-in-law to cause her to abandon her homeland and her gods.”[3] What sort of woman was this Naomi, to inspire such affection in a daughter-in-law? What relationship with God must she have had to cause Ruth to forsake the gods of Moab and worship Naomi’s God alone? 

Naomi’s devotion begs this question; what kind of relationship do you have with God? Is it  strong enough to inspire others to get to know the God you serve as well?

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