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, in the land of promise, was experiencing a severe famine. All Israel knew the Lord's warning: If . . . you will not do all My Commandments. . . . your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits (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 (temporarily live) in the country of Moab (Ruth 1:1-2).
However, unforeseen tragedy struck them in the idol-worshiping country of Moab. 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 (1:3-5). The three childless widows were left without a means of support. Then (Naomi) arose with her daughters in law. . . . and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah (1:6-7).
Soon Orpah returned to her earthly securities, back to her people, and to her 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 by saying to Naomi: Your people shall be my people, and your God my God (1:16).
Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem where Ruth married Boaz and 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 loving-kindness to Gentiles in selecting a Moabite woman who became 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.
For 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 (Romans 2:28-29).
1:20 Mara = bitter; 2:3 her hap was to light = she happened to come; 2:8 fast by = close by; 4:1 the gate = the city's meeting place to transact business; 4:5 thou must buy it also of Ruth = in order to redeem the property, you must take Ruth as your wife.
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. Then Jesus said to them. . . I am the Bread of Life: he that comes to Me shall never hunger (John 6:32-35).
Pray for: The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Dr. & Mrs. John A. Hash · Government Officials: Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA), Rep. Barney Frank (MA), Gov. Angus King, Jr. (ME), Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA), Rep. James Marshall (GA), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) · Country: Thailand (60 million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Thai and English · Limited freedom of Christian ministry; Buddhism is the state religion · 92% Buddhist; 4% Muslim; 2% Chinese folk-religionist; 1% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Pray with a heart of righteousness, keeping the truth of God, and know He will hear your prayers (Isaiah 26:2).
Optional Reading: Acts 1
Memory Verse for the Week: John 3:18