Do Not Harden Your Heart

“If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from the poor brother.” (Deuteronomy 15:7)

I went to the book of Ruth, and there I found myself interested in a conversation by three women talking (Ruth 1:8).  I stood still because I wanted to see how the conversation was going to end. I heard Naomi saying to her two daughters-in-law: “Go back.” (Ruth1:11). I said to myself this makes sense; Naomi is an old woman and she does not have any more sons to offer as husbands.  She has nothing in this foreign country. And then Naomi confirmed what I was thinking about. This thought was reason and logic.

Surely there was no need or justification for the daughters to go with her since they are not Israelites.  They do not know the tradition of the Israelites and Naomi is not a wealthy woman by where the men of Israel would find attraction to take any of her daughters-in-law as wives. And as I followed the current talk between them I saw Orpah kissing her mother-in-law and returning back to her parent’s house. I said to myself she did the right thing using logic and reason.  What then came to my attention is Ruth did not do the same as Orpah, but insisted to stay with her mother-in-law.  I found myself in front of a scene in which I could not stay silent.  I felt Ruth was being unreasonable; how could she go with a poor old woman who was unable to take care for herself?

I whispered in Ruth’s ear and said: “Think a little bit about what you are intending to do, this old woman is poor and has to be dependent on anyone in which she can rely.  No one can afford this old woman’s expenses.”

Ruth turned to me and said: “Do you not believe in the God of Israel?” I said with confidence: “Of course I believe in the God of Israel.”

She said again: “Did he not tell you if you see your brother in need, you shall not harden your heart?”

I answered: “Yes, He said this, but this commandment is hard just like other commandments that are hard to accomplish.”

She said: “This commandment is not hard nor is any commandment hard, but your heart is hardened and tough. Then she said “Do not stop me from going with her.”  She left me to continue her conversation with her mother in-law with persistence.

I looked down and fled, while I felt sorry for myself and my harden heart. I sighed and prayed that God would give me a softened heart to have pity when I see the needs of my brother and do not to hinder myself.

“And I do not harden my heart later on”