The Church today appears to be turning against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no other way to explain the fact that whereas the scriptures admonish us to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8), the majority of the Church is busy declaring themselves the “King’s Kids” and “possessing” whatever it is they can. We have been taught to “confess”, and to “possess”.
Consider this: Jesus lost; the Church is amassing. Jesus willingly let go of fame and material comfort; the Church is demanding these things, and using the crudest methods possible to obtain them. Jesus humbled Himself; the Church is proud and judgmental. What a paradox! And yet the scriptures tell us to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”.
If we are serious in our relationship with God, then we must align ourselves with His Word. We must make sure we are in plain sight so He can take good aim at us, to deal with our pride, and the various degrees of sin in our lives. This leaves little room for us to contemplate the glory of this world.
Hebrews 12:6 says: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth”.
The word “suffering” does not go down well with our pleasure- loving generation. In fact, the Church today is a rationalizing, not a believing one. We wonder aloud: “Why should we suffer?”
But we forget that the ways of God are not our ways. It “pleased” God to “bruise” His Son, and no matter how hard Jesus cried to Him God would not relent. We cannot presume to enter in through an easier door.
The saints of old knew this and they were willing and ready to take up their cross and follow Jesus in the Spirit.
In light of this I wish to end our discussion by pointing out one last aspect of Naomi’s suffering which is so important for us as born-again believers to understand. When Naomi suffered in a strange land, no doubt she actively sought to please God. But it may well be that she did not expect any reward; she just persevered out of obedience and love for her God.
We know that later on God blessed her with Ruth, who bore her Obed. (The Bible declares that Obed was reckoned to be Naomi’s son: “And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David” – Ruth 4:17). Much later, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world – Naomi’s ultimate prize – was born of David’s line.
A belated blessing for Naomi? No. It could not possibly be belated since it is an eternal one.
When we surrender our lives to God, when we lose everything for the sake of Christ, there is no telling the magnitude of the blessing He has in store for us. It is a far greater reward than we could possibly imagine. The scriptures say, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). God does not promise us earthly rewards, for the Bible clearly says these are things “which none of the princes of this world knew” (v.8). I am not suggesting that God is not concerned with our earthly needs. However, we know the princes of this world control all that this world has to offer, and it is utterly foolish for us to try and compete with them. We need to have a different mindset. We should rather look to another reward, a heavenly one, which is of far greater glory than any earthly treasure!
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).
There is no greater treasure than to have Jesus rooted firmly in our hearts and enabling us to walk that righteous and holy walk that is so invaluable in God’s sight.
I am sure we are all called to gain a reward equal to Naomi’s – the fullness of Jesus Christ in our lives – if only we are faithful enough.
Excellent insight on Naomi, the forgotten character in this story.
You bring link between suffering and enduring and today’s Church out very clearly.
I love the bit where Naomi says that “God has afflicted her”… Sounds almost like a strange gospel for the Church today.
True, brother. There are dozens of lessons we could learn from Naomi. Thanks so much for your encouragement Brother Gil.
I applaud you for your deep insights into Naomi AND the cause of suffering as Christ to bring us closer to God and to be a blessing to others. I was happy to see you denounce the “gospel of prosperity” that is preached all over the country and the world. This is such a misleading way to preach Christ and him crucified.
Just yesterday I was discussing one of my favorite Scriptures with our Director of Music Ministry – “I have been crucified with Christ, ot it is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me”. Gal. 2:20
I like your style and plan on reading more.
May you continue to be bllessed!