“The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge” (Ruth 2:12, NKJV).
The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. When I was a child it was a day of anticipation, knowing Mom and Dad would take us outside the city to park in a spot with just the perfect (FREE!) view of the evening’s fireworks. Other families parked on each side of us, and we kids had a ball.
As I got older I came to appreciate the freedoms represented by this great holiday, as well as the price paid by so many to secure those freedoms. I’m among the first to stand at the sound of our National Anthem, proudly placing my hand over my heart and giving thanks that I have been so privileged to be born and raised in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
But who do I thank at that moment? Those who pledged their lives, their fortunes, literally everything they had to establish this country in the beginning? The brave men and women who have fought (many laying down their lives in the process) since the country’s inception to protect our way of life? Yes to all, and gladly so! But ultimately it is the One who hides us under the shadow of His wings, the great and sovereign God of Israel, who mercifully extends His favor and blessing upon us and enables us to live as a free people.
Ruth, a Moabitess and a foreigner in the land of Israel, switched her allegiance from her pagan roots to follow the one true God. She submitted to His authority and trusted in His care. The Lord God of Israel, who is faithful to His Word and His promises, blessed her accordingly.
As we celebrate whatever freedoms we enjoy today, may we not forget that we experience those freedoms only because we have come under His wings for refuge—and that when we reject that refuge and start believing we can secure those freedoms on our own, we will quickly learn otherwise.
May God continue to bless us, wherever we live, as we continue to take refuge in Him!