Read Ruth 1
Famine in Bethlehem which prompted Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons to move to Moab; death of Elimelech and their two sons; return of Naomi and Ruth to Bethlehem; Ruth gleans in Boaz's field; marriage of Boaz and Ruth. (Their son, Obed, was the father of Jesse, King David's father.)
Why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? (Ruth. 1:21).
All Israel knew that Moses had warned that failure to serve, honor, and worship the Lord would result in famine. If ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these Commandments. . . . ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you. . . . and I will make your heaven as iron (yielding no rain) (Lev. 26:14-19). But there is no evidence that the people in Bethlehem repented or prayed for rain.
Because of the famine in the promised land, Elimelech and his family left Bethlehem in search of a more prosperous country. They decided to cross the Jordan River and sojourn in the heathen land of Moab — a people upon whom God had pronounced a curse (Num. 25:1-3; Amos 2:1-3).
What seemed to have begun as a temporary sojourn became permanent, for they dwelled there about ten years (Ruth 1:1-4). During that time their sons married Moabite women.
Elimelech (whose name means "my God is King") and his sons never again enjoyed the promised land. All three of them died and were buried in Moab. God was no longer King of this family that failed to trust God for "bread" in Bethlehem. Naomi (whose name means "pleasantness") was left empty with nothing worth living for.
Bitter over all the disappointments, heartaches, and deaths, Naomi returned to Bethlehem. Her reason for returning was not because of any repentance for leaving the promised land, but she had heard that Bethlehem was again prosperous.
It appeared to Naomi that the Lord is gone out against me (1:13), but it was actually the divine providence of God. Little could she realize that Ruth, the Moabitess, would be in the ancestry of the Messiah as the great-grandmother of King David.
The Book of Ruth should give the most despondent, defeated person confidence to return to God and trust Him. In our most bitter experiences, God is seeking to bring forth Christ in our life.
We have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will (Eph. 1:11).
Thought for Today:
Why are so many people so prone to blame God for their problems?
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, near 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 Government Officials: Sen. Mark Begich (AK), Rep. Dennis A. Cardoza (CA), Rep. Barney Frank (MA), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (MA) and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (VT) • Country: Zimbabwe (11.2 million) in south-central Africa • Major languages: English and Shona • Limited religious freedom • 59% Christian; 35% Traditional; 2% Muslim; 4% nonreligious/other • Prayer Suggestion: Go to God in prayer with boldness and seek His grace and mercy (Heb. 4:16).
Optional Reading: Acts 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 2:16