Read Ruth 1 -- 4
In Today 's Reading
Famine; Elimelech and Naomi move from Bethlehem to Moab; Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem; marriage of Boaz and Ruth
Bethlehem, the land of promise was experiencing a severe famine. All Israel knew the Lord's warning: If you reject . . . My commandments. . . . Your land will not yield its produce, and the trees of the land will not bear their fruit (Leviticus 26:15-16,19-20).
Perhaps, while standing in their unproductive fields in the Judean hills, Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their sons Mahlon and Chilion looked down on Moab, where it was reported that all was prosperous. They decided to abandon their God-given inheritance in Bethlehem, and sojourn in the fields of Moab (Ruth 1:1-2).
However, unforeseen tragedy struck in the idol-worshiping country of Moab (1:3-5). Elimelech died, then his sons ignored their covenant relationship with God and married Ruth and Orpah, who were Moabite women. Sometime later, Mahlon and Chilion also died. The three childless widows were left without a means of support. Then she (Naomi) arose, with her daughters-in-law. . . . They went on their way to return to the land of Judah (1:6-7)
Soon Orpah returned to her earthly securities, to her people and to her (pagan) gods (1:15). But Ruth was no longer a Moabite in her heart, for she had forsaken the gods of Moab and confessed her loyalty to the God of Israel, saying to Ruth: Your God will be my God (1:16).
Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem where Ruth married Boaz.
Ruth became the mother of Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David (4:17). The book of Ruth highlights our Lord's loving-kindness 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 (Matthew 1:3,5-6). These historical facts illustrate the love of God for all mankind.
A person is not a Jew who is one outwardly. . . . a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart?by the Spirit, not the letter (Romans 2:28-29).
Through Bethlehem (Ruth 1:1), which means House of Bread; Jesus, the Bread of Life, satisfies the spiritual hunger of all who come to Him. I am the Bread of Life, Jesus told them. No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry (John 6:32-35).
Government Officials: Rep. Barney Frank (MA), Gov. Angus King, Jr. (ME), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) · Country: Turkey (66 million) in Asia Minor and southeastern Europe · Major languages: Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabic · Official resistance to Christian witnessing · 99+% Muslim; .5% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His wonderful blessings (Psalms 150:2).
Optional Reading: Acts 1
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 2:2