Famine; Elimelech and Naomi move down from Bethlehem to Moab; Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem; marriage of Boaz and Ruth.
Verses for Today:
The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust (Ruth 2:12).
Bethlehem, in the land of promise, was experiencing a severe famine. Israel knew: If . . . ye will not do all My Commandments. . . . your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits (Lev. 26:15,20).
Perhaps, while standing in their unproductive fields in the Judean hills, Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their sons Mahlon and Chilion looked down on the fertile, prosperous valley of Moab and decided to abandon their God-given inheritance in Bethlehem to sojourn in the country of Moab (Ruth 1:1-2), a place God had cursed (Num. 24:17; Amos 2:1-3). What they thought would be a temporary stay from starvation extended to about 10 years (Ruth 1:1-14).
However, unforeseen tragedy struck in the idol-worshiping country of Moab. Elimelech died, then his sons ignored their Covenant relationship with God and married Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah. Later, Mahlon and Chilion also died (1:3-5). The three childless widows were left without a means of support. Then she (Naomi) arose with her daughters in law. . . . and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah (1:6-7).
Soon Orpah returned back unto her people, and unto her gods (1:15). But Ruth had forsaken the gods of Moab and confessed her loyalty to the God of Israel by saying to Naomi: Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God (1:16).
Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem where Ruth married Boaz. Ruth became the mother of Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David (4:17). The Book of Ruth highlights our Lord's lovingkindness to Gentiles in selecting a Moabite woman to become the great-grandmother of King David. Ruth is one of three Gentile women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus (Matt. 1:3,5-6). This account shows the love of God for all lost mankind.
He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly . . . But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God (Rom. 2:28-29).
Thought for Today:
Faithfulness allows us to be used by God. By remaining faithful and obedient, we keep ourselves in a position to be His servants as well as to receive His blessings.
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 =astir, 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 International Broadcasts sponsored by Dr. John A. Hash • Staff: Mike Moore • Government Officials: Sen. Mark Begich (AK), Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA), Rep. Barney Frank (MA), Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) • Country: Cote d'Ivoire (16 million) in western Africa • Major languages: French and over 60 native dialects • Religious freedom • 40% animist; 25% Muslim; 10% Roman Catholic; 5% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that the Lord will enable you to comfort and encourage others (II Cor. 1:3-4).
Optional Reading: Acts 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11