The Book of Ruth is a love story, which is a great respite from the Book of Judges. However, we need to remember the most repeated phrases in Judges:
- “The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight and served the images of Baal (Judges 2:11 NLT);”
- “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25 NLT).
This story takes place around 1100-1200 BC. Also, we learn a lot about the lifestyles of people back then. It’s a story of hope. Plus, we get to meet King David’s great grandparents! Let’s dig in…
Ruth 1 – From Israel to Moab
In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him. 2 The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there.
3 Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. 4 The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband.
Points to Ponder
- Bethlehem means “house of bread”, where Jesus, the Bread of Life will be born!
- Elimelech didn’t trust God’s provision and chose to leave the land where God placed him and live in the land of the pagans.
- Elimelech (his name means “God is King”) was an Ephrathite. The prophet Micah wrote, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” (Micah 5:2 NLT)
- Moab (which means “What father?), if you remember from Genesis 19, stem from Lot and his daughters. Lot who chose to live in Sodom, the first sin city, and barely escaped God’s wrath on the sexual immorality that encompassed both Sodom and Gomorrah. So, the Moabites were a culture that rose from sin and stayed there. (Jesus said that the last days would be like the days of Lot. We are there!)
- Moab was also a land of pagans. They worshiped the gods Baal, a storm god, and Chemosh, who required child sacrifices. (Today, that’s abortion!)
- Ruth was raised in that culture, she is a Gentile.
Naomi and Ruth Return
6 Then Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.
8 But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage.” Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept.
10 “No,” they said. “We want to go with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi replied, “Why should you go on with me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? 12 No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? 13 Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters! Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord himself has raised his fist against me.”
14 And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. 15 “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.
19 So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked.
20 “Don’t call me Naomi (which means “pleasant”),” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara (which means “bitter”), for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?”
22 So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest.Ruth 1 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
More Points to Ponder
- Naomi blames God for the situation they were in.
- Apparently, Naomi influenced Ruth enough that she didn’t want to go back to the pagan lifestyle.
- God used Naomi’s troubled life for good.
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.Romans 8:28 NLT
It’s Time to Leave Behind Your Pagan Ways!
Paul also wrote…
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.Ephesians 4:17-24 NLT
Choose Today Whom YOU Will Follow!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.