Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why Dig Deeper?

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1:16

The above verse is one about unconditional love. There is even a new Chris Tomlin song based on this lyrics called, I Will Follow You. It always makes me chuckle when I hear it in weddings, however. I wonder if the bride reciting this verse to her husband,realizes the context of the actual verse. You see, it was said by a daughter-in-law, to her mother-in-law.

Young Ruth had lost her husband. Her sister-in-law (Orpah) and her mother-in-law (Naomi) all lost their husbands too. Naomi told her young daughters-in-law to go back to their own families. It only made sense. The other daughter-in-law returned. But not Ruth. Ruth professed her love to her mother-in-law, and promised to follow her wherever she went.

Before you get the idea that perhaps Ruth had the perfect mother-in-law, listen to this. Naomi told everyone to no longer call her Naomi (meaning pleasant), but to call her Mara (meaning bitter) because her life was so bitter. Would you profess you love to your bitter mother-in-law?

Scripture sometimes has two meanings. The obvious meaning in the passage, and often a deeper spiritual meaning. The literal meaning in the story of Ruth is steadfast love. According to scholars, the deeper meaning Ruth foreshadows the gentiles becoming a part of spiritual Israel, the church; and is a story of redemption. Digging deeper into scripture is important.

First, we get the full meaning of the story, not just one line out of context.

Second, we get to read first hand the message, and not just take the word the person sharing the message. The Bible is the infallible Word of God. But I am very fallible. When I give my opinion on the meaning of a scripture, it is to your benefit to read it in context, and draw your own conclusion.

Finally, the Word of God is alive. What does that mean? That means through the Holy Spirit, you and I can read the same Bible verse and get different impressions for our life. God's truths do not change. However, He will impress different parts of a story on each of us depending on where we are and what we need out of the Scripture.

So next time you read a devotion, hear a sermon, or listen to a commentary, listen to what the person has to say. Then, dig deeper and come to your own conclusions of what God is trying to tell you.

And the next time a bride tells her groom "where you go I'll go" during a wedding, ask her later how she feels about her mother-in-law.



Terry said...

Excellent post! It's extremely important to understand the meaning and context of a verse before we try to apply its meaning to our own lives.

Sue J. said...

And it's important for folks to know that the Holy Spirit is who provides the truest sense of interpretation--taking all that you have read (including study notes/commentaries) and putting it into context with what you are ready to understand. God has truly given us a gift in the Holy Spirit!

Ruth is a wonderful story. Time to read it again :-)

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

great post Kelly! i love that song - I will follow you - when I heard it, it just really spoke to my heart!