March 31, 2006

Read Ruth 1

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 . . . ye 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 fertile 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 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 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 to her earthly securities, back unto her people, and unto 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: 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 loving-kindness 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 (Matthew 1:3,5-6). These historical facts illustrate the love of God for all lost 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).

Word Studies:

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.

Christ Revealed:

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 unto them. . . I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger (John 6:32-35).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Dr. & Mrs. John A. Hash · Government Officials: Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA), Rep. Barney Frank (MA), Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA), Rep. James Marshall (GA), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) · Country: Nigeria (114 million) in western Africa · Major languages: English and Hausa · Government permits all types of religious activity · 36% Muslim; 19% Protestant; 15% animist; 7% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice over and pray for those who share the Good News (Nahum 1:15).

Optional Reading: Acts 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Ruth 1:16