Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Ruth 1:1-2 (NIV)
In the days when the judges ruled, 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. 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.
Ruth 1:1-2 (MSG)
Once upon a time—it was back in the days when judges led Israel— there was a famine in the land. A man from Bethlehem in Judah left home to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The man’s name was Elimelech; his wife’s name was Naomi; his sons were named Mahlon and Kilion—all Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They all went to the country of Moab and settled there.
“In the days when the judges governed [Israel], there was a famine in the land [of Canaan]. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live temporarily in the country of Moab with his wife and his two sons. 2 The man’s name was Elimelech and his wife’s name was Naomi and his two sons were named Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went to the country of Moab and stayed there.” -AMPLIFIED
The book of Judges ends with these words, “In those days [when the judges governed] there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” -Judges 21:25 (AMP)The book of Ruth begins with these words, “A long time ago, when judges still ruled over Israel and the land was dried up with famine, a man from Bethlehem, which ironically means “place of bread,” left his home in Judah to live as a foreigner in the land of Moab. He traveled with his wife and their two sons.” -(VOICE)
We can see that the story of Ruth takes place during the time of the judges. The book of Ruth is the story of one individuals faithfulness in the midst of a nation’s unfaithfulness. How ironic it was too that Ruth was not even an Israelite, but a Moabite.
The book of Ruth does not speak of the underlying enmity and hatred there actually was between the Israelites and the Moabites. This abhorrence of one another begin back during the Exodus; when the Moabites refused passage through their country to the Israelites. There was also the problem of Balaam and his donkey; when the king of Moab called Balaam to put a curse on Israel; which thankfully he was not able to do. The Israelites themselves invaded the Moabite towns and villages to drive them out and that too was not forgotten, nor forgiven by either side.
We find, at the beginning of our story, that Elimelek and family had left Bethlehem, which means “The House of Bread, because of a famine in the land. (How ironic that “The House of Bread” was experiencing a lack of bread.) The lack of rain in the nation of Israel can be linked back to the unfaithfulness of the people toward God. We have touched on this Scripture time and time again, but God Himself told Solomon truth; “If I shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence and plague among My people, and My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:13(AMP)
“God’s intention was that Israel should be blessed and then be a blessing to the nations. Instead, Israel scorned her Maker, and God’s subsequent affliction of people and land drove many Israelites to seek sustenance from other nations. When God’s people refuse to use the resources God has given them to bless the families of the earth, God may withdraw those blessings from them and bring them by force to face both their own poverty of soul and the needs of the peoples of the earth.” -Precept Austin
Ruth is the main character of the book; with Naomi as her support. Ruth is a great example of how God can take anyone, change their life and use them for His glory. We can see God working out His perfect plan in Ruth’s life because she was willing and obedient.
The key verse of Ruth is this; “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God.” -Ruth 1:16 (AMP)
The major theme of Ruth is the kinsman-redeemer; which is a foreshadowing of Christ’s provision for the sinner. A reminder to us that God the Father sent His one and only son to redeem us from sin; in order that we might be His “kin” or part of His family.
We will find that because of Ruth’s willingness to go with Naomi, her respect and obedience were rewarded. She, in fact, is in the line of Christ; being the grandmother of King David.
God is a reward-er of our obedience. Trust Him and obey!
Lord, help me to listen much and obey quickly when you speak to me. Ruth is a good example of how you are a respecter of no one, but you are willing to use who-so-ever will. I want to be obedient to you. Help me to have the attitude that Ruth had. Thank you also for the gift of your Son so that I was able to be redeemed!