Famine; Elimelech and Naomi move down from Bethlehem to Moab; Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem; marriage of Boaz and Ruth.
A severe famine existed in Bethlehem. Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons left Bethlehem, which means "house of bread." They went to Moab in search of food and a better life. During the next 10 years Naomi's life was filled with bitterness, for it was during this time in Moab that she buried her husband and her two sons. In the meantime, Bethlehem became prosperous so Naomi decided to return. Naomi's daughter-in-law Ruth pleaded with her: Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God (Ruth 1:16).
Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem where Boaz, a type of Christ, assumed the right of “kinsman-redeemer.” He purchased the inheritance of Naomi and took Ruth as his wife. Ruth became the mother of Obed . . . the father of Jesse, the father of David (4:17).
The Book of Ruth highlights the loving-kindness of our Lord toward the Gentiles in selecting Ruth, a Moabite woman, to become the great-grandmother of King David. For the third time (first through Tamar, then Rahab, and now Ruth), God united both Jew and Gentile in the ancestry of David and of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah (Matt. 1:3,5; Luke 3:32-33). There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. . . . and heirs according to the promise (Gal. 3:28-29).
The thrilling conclusion is that, out of our most miserable failures, God will work something beautiful when we put our lives in His hands. Ruth's love for Naomi and for God overcame all the hostilities that existed between the Moabites and the Jews (Deut. 23:3-4), and she became an ancestress of Christ.
Her story should give encouragement and hope to the most despondent, helpless, defeated person. One may be discouraged and know that he has left "his Bethlehem" and gone into the land of sin and there buried all hope, but God can always bring something beautiful out of the most miserable circumstance when we turn to Him with our whole heart.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Cor. 7:1).
Thought for Today:
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:10).
Through Bethlehem (Ruth 2:4; 4:11), which means "House of Bread." Jesus, the Bread of Life, satisfies the spiritual hunger of all who come to Him. Then Jesus said unto them . . . I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger (John 6:32-35).
1:1 sojourn temporarily live; 1:16 Intreat ask; 1:19 moved stirred, concerned; 2:2 glean gather leftover; corn grain; 2:8 fast by close to; 2:9 touch molest, annoy; 2:14 sufficed satisfied; 2:15 reproach hinder; 2:16 of purpose deliberately; 2:19 where wroughtest thou where did you find so much; 2:20 kinsmen hear relatives who had the right to redeem; 3:3 raiment best attire; 3:4 mark notice; 3:8 afraid startled; 3:15 vail cloak, shawl; 3:18 finished the thing made good his promise; 4:4 advertise give you notice; 4:5 of the hand of from; 4:6 mar mine own inheritance endanger my heirs; 4:7 changing transferring ownership of land.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Dr. John A. Hash • Government Officials: Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA), Rep. Jim Marshall (GA), Rep. Barney Frank (MA), Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) • Staff: Rick Hash • Country: Bhutan (2 million) in the eastern Himalayas of central Asia • Major languages: Tibetan and Nepalese dialects • Public worship, evangelism, and proselytization are illegal • 50-70% Buddhist; 24-45% Hindu; 5% Muslim; 1% Protestant/Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that the Lord protects you and provides your needs (Phil. 4:4).
Optional Reading: Acts 1
Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 4:15