I’m so excited to study the book of Ruth with you!!
I think the backstory to this book is so incredibly interesting.
Let’s set the stage…God’s people had been delivered from Egypt into the Promised Land which would flow with milk and honey as long as the people followed God.
But, the people would follow God for a while then cycle into periods of doing what “felt right in their own eyes”. (Hmmm. Sounds like a country I know, but let’s just park that here for right now)
During these four hundred years of moral and spiritual decay, God mercifully provided deliverers for His people, time and time again, in the form of judges (the likes of Gideon and Deborah) rather than kings.
The people would rebel, repent, be restored, only to repeat the same cycle over and over.
During one of the periods when God’s people were going their own way and doing sinful things that felt right to them, God allows a famine to strike the land.
A man named, Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, leave Judah and head back toward Moab.
Don’t miss the fact that they literally left the Promised Land and returned to the wilderness.
There, Elimelech dies. Naomi finds herself a widow in a foreign land. And curiously, rather than return home then, Naomi and her sons stay in Moab for ten years, and the sons marry two Moabite women. (There is some disagreement among scholars over whether marriage to a Moabite was completely forbidden for God’s people or if it brought about consequences related to worship for generations. Remember, the Moabite King Balak had set out to curse the Jewish people. The Moabites descended from Moab who was the son produced by a drunken Lot sleeping with his daughter. Note this example of the Bible not sugarcoating the propensity of human hearts to rebel against God. .)
But back to the book of Ruth —
Next, Naomi’s two sons die; and she, and her daughter-in-laws (one of which is Ruth), are now all childless widows. For the culture of the time, this was the low of the low.
Like many of us, Naomi was affected by the decisions of others-her husband, her culture. Had Gods people not done “what felt right in their own eyes” and brought about famine, her family might not have left the Promised Land in the first place.
And I wonder, had Naomi done those same sinful things the others had done? Did she have regrets over her own sin choices. (I know I have).
At the very least, Naomi, like many of us, was affected by circumstances out of her control. She tragically lost her husband and her sons while alone in a foreign land.
Life seems to have dealt her terrible blow, after terrible blow. How alone she must have felt. How hopeless. Have you felt ever this way? Did you blame God?
But could God bring good from Naomi’s hard things? Even the things she, herself, might have caused?
And if so, can He bring good from your hard things ? Can the Most High redeem what seems impossible to redeem? What about that sin you’d never tell anyone about? Is His mercy that deep? Is His arm that strong?
Oh hold on!! For the book of Ruth isn’t just a story. For what God will bring from this line of hard things will, ultimately, not just save Naomi but will save all who call on the Name of the Lord!
Invite your friends. Read along. Interact in the comment section. As always, I so appreciate your prayers to only write as the Lord would have me. What a Savior!