Bible Pathways - Mar. 31, 2009

March 31

Ruth 1

Highlights In Today's Reading:

The Creator's perfect plan for mankind traces the scarlet thread from the unlikely Rahab in Numbers through David and ultimately to Jesus. The kinsman-redeemer foreshadows redemptive grace through Christ.

Bethlehem means House of Bread. But, in the days when the judges ruled . . . there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons (1:1). That certain man was Elimelech, whose name means: "My God is king." His wife was named Naomi, which means: "Pleasant." From Bethlehem they could look down over the Judean hills and in the distance see Moab, a country that God had cursed (Deut. 23:3-4). It was easy to go downhill to Moab where the people worshiped idols. Soon Elimelech who no longer could say: "My God is King" died there, followed by the deaths of his two sons.

Naomi was heartbroken, discouraged, and bitter over the death of her husband and both her sons. This is a warning to Christians of the sorrows and suffering that follow backsliding or covetousness. But, after 10 years Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem. Ruth willingly left all her friends and loved ones — forsaking her god (probably Chemosh — Num 21:29; I Kings 11:7, 33) and country, saying to Naomi: Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God (Ruth 1:16).

After they arrived in Bethlehem, Ruth immediately went to work among the poorest of the land, gleaning what was left by following the harvesters, in order to support her mother-in-law and herself. Unknown to Ruth, God led her to glean grain in a field owned by Boaz, the kindred of Elimelech (2:3). Ruth's faith in the Lord God and her loyalty and kindness to Naomi were richly rewarded: Boaz . . . said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband. . . . 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 (2:11-12). He later became the husband of Ruth. Boaz was a type of Christ who redeemed us from the power of sin. Ruth's marriage to Boaz led this Gentile from the cursed country of Moab to become an ancestress of Christ (Matt. 1:5).

Our bitter experiences should draw us to the Lord God and bring us to trust Him who loved even a Moabite and who still says: Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28).

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.

Christ Revealed:

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).

Word Studies:

1:1 sojourn =temporarily live; 1:2 continued =stayed; 1:8 the dead =their dead husbands; 1:16 Intreat =ask; 1:18 minded =determined; 1:19 moved =concerned; 2:2 glean =gather leftover; corn =grain; 2:8 fast by =close to; 2:9 touch =molest; 2:12 recompense =reward; 2:14 sufficed =satisfied; 2:15 reproach =do not hinder; 2:16 of purpose =deliberately; 2:19 wroughtest thou =where did you find so much; 2:20 kinsmen =near relative who had the right to redeem; 3:1 rest =security; 3:3 raiment =mantle (loose sleeveless cloak or cape); 3:4 mark =notice; 3:8 afraid =startled; 3:15 veil =cloak; 3:18 thing =make good his promise; 4:3 parcel =section; 4:4 advertise =give you notice; 4:5 of the hand of =from; 4:6 mar =ruin, endanger; 4:7 changing =the exchange of land.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Dr. John A. Hash • Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Officials: Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA), Rep. Barney Frank (MA), Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) • Country: Gabon (1 million) in west-central Africa • Major language: French • Religious freedom • 66% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 3% animism and ancestor worship • Prayer Suggestion: Pray in one accord with other Christians (Acts 1:14).

Optional Reading: Acts 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6