Ruth 1:1-9 (NIV) In the days when the judges ruled,[a] there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. 8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
For the next few weeks, I am going to be studying the book of Ruth. During my trip to The Cove in September with the Proverbs 31 Retreat, one of the speakers introduced me to this wonderful book with so many truths and so much wisdom for all of us. I pray I can reveal to you what The Lord would have you to see.
Ruth is one of only 2 books of the Bible that are named after a women. In my opinion, women should read and pray about what and how The Lord wants me to be like these women. The books author is unknown even though some suggest Samuel, however, we know from scripture that the Bible is “God-Breathed” and the author is irrelevant at this point.
Ruth was a Moabite woman. Moabites lived outside the Promised Land and were forbidden to marry a Canaanite. God uses a Moabite woman to show spiritual character. Israel must have really been bad at this time that He could not find someone else except a Moabite woman.
The Book of Ruth you could say is a modern day soap opera show.
Let’s begin the soap opera.
Ruth’s mother-in-law name was Naomi and her husband was Elimelech. He decided to leave Judah and live a while in Moab because of the famine in the land of Judah. He went with his two sons, Maholon and Kilion.
Well guess what Naomi’s two sons did while in Moab? They both married Moabite women. I’m sure their mother was not real happy, however, we see later how she forgets this theory about marrying Moabites and treats them unselfishly. The other Moabite woman was Orpah not Oprah.
In chapter 1:3-4, Naomi’s husband dies and she is left with two sons and then they marry the Moabite women. I would think from the way this reads the son’s were not married until the father died. Maybe the son’s were sad after their father’s death or maybe they felt with their father dead it was time for them to begin their family. Either way, the son’s marry.
After about 10 years of marriage the sons die. So, Naomi in the last 10 years has moved away from her friends and family she had in Judah, lost her husband, her son’s marry two Moabite women, and then her two son’s die. I’m sure Naomi was in a bad place. I have not lost a husband or a child, but my mother has. She said it is a very hard thing to lose a husband, but losing a child is worse than anything. Naomi had to be sad, upset, worried. She had to feel like the whole world was coming down on her.
Do you feel like this some days? Have you lost your husband or child or both? Are you going through a sickness and feel alone? Are you in a bad place right now?
God is in control.
We will see how God will end up blessing Naomi when she turns to being a Christian not deciding to be evil, when she thinks about others instead of herself.
God is always with us and Naomi’s story will prove this.
Naomi heard that The Lord was coming to the aid of His people and He was providing for them. She decided to set off back to the land of Judah where her family might be and where God was providing for His people.
Now, Naomi tells Ruth and Orpah they should go back to their mother’s home. She knew their family would take care of them. She also said in verse 8-9, “May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Evidently, these daughters were very good to their mother-in-law. They showed her kindness during her tragedies. She was even praying the Lord would grant them another husband. Naomi was sending these ladies back home where they would be safe and taken care of. She wanted these ladies to be happy. Naomi was thinking of them not herself.
Now this must have been tough for her. In these days, widows were taken advantage of, ignored and most of the time poverty stricken. The Law God had passed down through Moses, stated the nearest relative to the dead husband should care for the widow. Naomi was in a strange country – not her own and was not sure if she went back to the land of Judah if any of her family would still be there and alive.
Naomi could have stayed here and prayed her daughter-in-laws would take care of her but she feared for them. She felt they would be safer if they went back to their home. She did not want them to be mistreated because of her and she did not want to be a burden.
Do you think of others feelings when times are tough? Do you worry more about how things will affect you more than someone else? Are you taking care of yourself and not worrying about the people in your life? Are you being a Naomi and thinking of others before yourself?
We will continue the journey in Ruth but for now pray about how you are treating others? Pray and ask God to show you the areas you are being selfish. Ask God to help you not be so selfish.