God of the Ordinary
On any given morning as you read, watch, or listen to the news, do you ever find yourself thinking you are very small? Do you ever wonder, “Does God really know who I am or where I am? What interest would He, the Creator of everything, have in me?”
You and I are very ordinary—and we can easily believe that “ordinary” equates to “useless.” Yet Ruth and Naomi’s story reveals something different. In it, we discover the sovereign, providential hand of God working in and through life’s routines. He knows and He cares, He sustains and He provides.
The book of Ruth’s account of God’s provision and care begins with a mistake. Elimelech made the ill-fated decision to leave famished Bethlehem for prospering Moab with his wife Naomi and their two sons—but he and his sons died there.
Whether Elimelech’s motive was one of desperation, discontent, or distrust, Scripture illustrates through his choice that our foolishness cannot set aside God’s providence. Even when we respond to circumstances with the wrong spirit—when figuratively we take ourselves up and out of the land of God’s promise—He can still accomplish His purposes. When we are tempted to fear that God has overlooked our lives because of our mistakes, we can rest in His providence, which is able to work through our biggest—or smallest—missteps.
Have you seen God move in life’s ordinary moments? Have you seen Him at work through your mistakes? Or are you caught in the lie that God only operates in spectacular, extraordinary ways or through our moments of greatest obedience?
When we look only for the extraordinary, we miss God’s glory in the ordinary—in a bowl of apples on the table, a well-prepared meal, a bird singing, a conversation with a friend, the moon shining through a cloudy night sky. When we assume God only works when we are good, we miss God’s grace in working through sinners—through a conversation about Christ with a neighbor, a parent’s repentance to a child after they have spoken impatiently to them, a prayer prayed for someone because anxiety has kept us from sleep. For Ruth and Naomi, the very sight of a barley field, ripe for the harvest, was in one sense a very ordinary view—but in fact it declared God’s provision to them. Mistakes had been made and griefs had been borne, but the barley harvest showed that God knows, cares, sustains, and provides.
God has not changed. Although He has the whole universe to care for, He turns His gaze on you and me, and He says, I know you. Your name is written on the palm of My hand. And as surely as I cared for Naomi and Ruth, I’m looking after you too (see Isaiah 49:16). God is sustaining and guiding His children. Let that knowledge comfort your heart and bring you peace today—however ordinary the day may be.
Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.1
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
19Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.2
21Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.
23Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!3
24And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!4
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