Ruth 1 -2 part 1

 

The book of Ruth is a story about how a gentile women not only loves her mother-in-law but falls in love with her God and how this love is rewarded by God. According to verse 1 the story of Ruth occurs during the time of Judges and some date the book around 1200 BC. It interesting to find such a wonderful story that happened during the dark times of the Judges. There are only 2 books in the Bible that bare a womanís name Ruth and Esther. Ruth is about a gentile women who marries a Jew and becomes part of the bloodline of Jesus and Esther is a Jew who marries a gentile.

 

Some of the key words for this book are love, faith, rest and redemption.

 

In chapter 1-2 Ruthís love for God and His people is shown

In chapter 3-4 Ruthís love is rewarded.

 

The over all theme of the book is that if a person loves God and put their trust in them they will be redeemed and enter into his rest.

 

Now that we have taking a very brief overview of this book lets get into the text itself.

 

Ruth 1:1 Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.2 The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion -- Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there.

 

So the great famine occurs and apparently this famine was not happening in Moab. Elimelech makes the decision to pack and leave the promise land to live in the midst of the sinners at Moab. I just wonder if really thought about consequences of his decision and what effect this move would have on his family. Instead of faith in God that a way would provided for his family he took matters into his own hands and headed to Moab.

 

3 Then Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons.4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years.5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had visited His people by giving them bread. Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.

 

Elimelech dies and his 2 sons die 10 years later. Obviously his sons were influenced by the people of Moab as his sons married these foreign women which God prohibited under the law of Moses. All of this came about because he went into a far country that was full of people worshiping false Godís. As we see in verse 6 that God did take care of his people and that their was bread in the land now. If Elimelech had just waited longer and had trusted more in God his family would not have been in this difficult situation. So Naomi had a decision to make. She could either stay in Moab where she no longer had support or she could return back to her people. Well, we she decides to go back to her people.

 

Ruth 1:8 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go, return each to her mother's house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.9 "The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband." Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.10 And they said to her, "Surely we will return with you to your people."11 But Naomi said, "Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?12 "Turn back, my daughters, go -- for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons,13 "would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me!"

 

Now it was customary that these daughter-in-lawís would stay with Naomi but she is telling they donít have to do that in fact she letsthem know that if they follow her back to her people that they probably will not find a husband. This made these 2 ladies very sad which shows how much they had come to love Naomi.

 

Ruth 1:14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.15 And she said, "Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law."

 

So Orpah made her decision to return back to the her home and to their Godís. In a spiritual way this shows us that we all have a choice on which pathway we choose to go. Even though Orpah loved Naomi she decided to go back to her people and to her Gods. We can only wonder about Orpahís fate because this is last time we hear of her. I canít help but wonder how much her life would had changed if she had choose to go with Naomi. But Ruth clung to Namoi and she is going to refuse to go away. Notice her beautiful words in:

 

16 But Ruth said: "Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.17 Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me."18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.

 

Sometimesthese words are found in songs while others speak these at weddings. I think everyone here can appreciate the beauty and the depth of these words. I think it would be safe to say that Naomi had such an impact on Ruth by the way she lived her life and treated those around her that not only did Ruth Love Naomi she had fallen in love with God almighty. Ruth had made up her mind that no matter what faced her in the future she would remain with Naomi and with her people. It know it couldnít have been an easy decision to leave her family and her home behind. Her sister wasnít willing to do this but Ruth had counted the cost and decided it that it was worth it. We also see that she was willing to give up her Godís that she was brought up around because she apparently understood that Naomiís God was the only true God. When Ruth seen how determined she was she didnít say another Word.

 

We can learn a great lesson from Ruth that we can apply to us today. We need to have this same dedication and commitment to God. Not allowing anything to separate us from serving him. Being stubborn in the sense thatwe can stop the mouthsof those who try to cause to fall away from God. We must learn to count the cost of discipleship and love God enough to follow through which means even putting him first over your family.Just as Jesus says in:

 

Matthew 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

 

Ruth 1: 19 Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem. And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, "Is this Naomi?"20 But she said to them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.21 "I went out full, and the LORD has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?"22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Now they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

 

Here we see that the city was excited that Naomi had came back very similar to God is excited when the sinner comes back. Notice Naomi doesnít feel worthy to have them call her her name because it means ďpleasantĒ instead she wants them to call her Mara which means ďbitterĒ. Now is very similar to the story of prodigal son because he to left his father house full but while he was in far country lost all he had and came back to his fathers empty with just a shirt on his back not feeling worthy to be his son. The same thing happens to us today while we are faithful to God we are full but when we leave and go our own way we will lose the fullness that we had and if we choose to come back to God we do so empty handed.

 

Ruth 2:1 There was a relative of Naomi's husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter."3 Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, "The LORD be with you!" And they answered him, "The LORD bless you!"5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, "Whose young woman is this?"6 So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, "It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab.7 "And she said, 'Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house."8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, "You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women.9 "Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn."

 

Boaz was a very wealthy man and we can see from the scriptures we just read that he had genuine interest in the poor and in Godís Law.

 

Leviticus 19:9 ' When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.10 'And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

 

Not only was Ruth poor she was a stranger as well. We also see from our text the Ruth catches the eye of Boaz so much so that he inquires of who she is and he wants her to glean only from his vineyard and to stay close to his young women. Notice Ruthís response:

 

Ruth 2:10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, "Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?"11 And Boaz answered and said to her, "It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.12 "The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge."13 Then she said, "Let me find favor in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants."

 

You see Ruthís love and dedication to Naomi and to God has been made known. Boaz was ready to show the same kind of kindness that he had shown to Naomi and he evenspeaks a great blessing over her because she was willing to walk away from her family and those false Gods to take refuge under Godís wings and so begins the relationship of Boaz and Ruth.

 

Ruth 2:14 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, "Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar." So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.15 And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her.16 "Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her."

 

Now Ruth was working hard outin field so that she Naomi could have food to eat. Well, at meal time Boaz invites Ruth to take a break and eat with him andshe does. You also notice that she keeps some of the food back so that she could give some if it to Namoi later. But as soon as she finished she goes right back to work. But we begin to see that Boaz is starting to take a real interest in Ruth as he tells his reapers to purposely drip some of the grains from the bundles for Ruth. This would make Ruthís job a little bit easier. Throughout this story we see that Boaz is doing everything in his power to provide protection for Ruth. This is one of the reason he wanted her stay in his field because apparently it wasnít that safe for a women to be alone in the field with these other men. We see the providence of God at work here through Boaz.

 

Ruth 2:17 ††So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.

 

Ruth certainly wasnít afraid of work as she worked all the way into the evening. Now an ephah of barley is somewhere between 4to 7 gallons this was due to fact that different vessels of varying sizes were made which were considered to hold an ephah. This would be enough barley to feed to 2 people for about 5 days. But Ruth had done much more than provide food for them she had won the favor of Boaz which will eventually lead to her and Naomiís benefit.

 

Ruth 2:18 Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied.19 And her mother-in-law said to her, "Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you." So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, "The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz."

 

Now it was up to Ruth to provide for them at this time and Naomi was excited that Ruth had came back with food and she was very interested in whoshowed her such favor. The same questions thatNaomi ask here are good questions for us to ask ourselves in regards to the harvest of sinners that are in the world.

 

"Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work?

 

Notice what Jesus says in:

Matthew 9: 37 "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.38 "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

 

We can see that Ruth understood that simple principle that you have to go to work in thefield if you are going to have the chance harvest the crop. We need understand this principle as well. We can only a chance of harvesting sinner if we go into the field and work for the Lord.

 

20 Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!" And Naomi said to her, "This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives."21 Ruth the Moabitess said, "He also said to me, 'You shall stay close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.' "22 And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field."23 So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.

 

As we can seethis was great news because Naomi husband was related to this man which will play a big part in development of relationship between Boaz and Ruth. This story so far has shown us that if we will truly love God and remain faithful to him he will make sure that we are taken care through his providence. I want to end this lesson with the words of Paul.

 

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

 

 

 

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