The Mystery of History

The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, ‘A son has been born to Naomi.’ They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:17

History matters. Your history matters.

You are who you are, to some significant degree, because of who your parents were, who your grandparents were, and so on. Inevitably, you and I are products of our lineages—and as a result, we are living proof of God’s providence, which has brought us to this place in this moment. 

As Ruth gave birth to Obed, Naomi’s grandson, she could not have known what the narrator tells the reader: Obed would be the grandfather of the great King David—and, therefore, he would be the ancestor of Jesus. But God knew, of course; and so here we see God’s redemptive plan at work. Ruth and her family were neither held in the grip of blind forces nor swept along on a sea of chance. The birth of Obed was yet another reminder that God cares, God rules, and God provides, and that He is always at work behind the scenes of human choices and the twists and turns of life, working out His purposes. 

This is the mystery of all of history: that God has stitched together all of the elements of our past, separate and distinct as they are, to nudge and guide us to who and where we are right now. Before our infant hearts could ever conceive what was happening, God was graciously, mercifully providing for us—in mothers who fed us, in family friends who looked after us, or in grandparents who came around us. 

Since you were conceived, God has guarded and guided you, through even the darkest days. You and I are not random collections of molecules. We are divine creations, and God is caring for each of us. Not only that but we are divinely redeemed. From the very beginning, God has worked through individuals and families, putting together a people that are His very own. From Genesis all the way to Revelation, we get glimpses of this redemptive, eternal purpose. The very engrafting of Ruth, a Moabitess, into this redeemed family testifies of God’s sovereign, comprehensive mercy, in which He used her unlikely marriage to Boaz to produce the lineage for King David and Christ Jesus. 

Examples like that of Ruth should strengthen our faith in what God can do. They should embolden us to say to our friends and neighbors that the glories and tragedies that happen in our nation, the joys and sorrows in our own lives, and the pains and disappointments of family life find their ultimate meaning not in human history or personal biography but as a part of God’s plan. He has made Himself known as loving and holy, personal and infinite, Creator and Redeemer, Sustainer and Ruler. He has brought us into the great story of redemption—the only story that will last eternally. 

This is good news! This is food for our souls when days get dark and doubts get real. This is assurance that God will never quit on us. This brings meaning to life.

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.

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