Archives for posts with tag: Ruth

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”” (Ruth 1:16–17, ESV)

Naomi has nothing to offer Ruth.  If she travels back to Bethlehem she will in all likelihood not be married; they will live in poverty; they will spend the rest of their days struggling to survive as two widows with no means of support [husband or children].  Ruth fully understands this.  She is willingly entering into [what she thinks is] a life of suffering and deprivation.

In addition Ruth is turning away from her Moabite gods and fully embracing Yahweh, the God of the Israelites.  Is there any better description of this turning in all of the Scriptures than in Ruth’s simple words: Your God [shall be] my God? 

The Bible Knowledge Commentary comments here:

She chose life with Naomi over her family, her national identity, and her religious idolatry. In one of the most beautiful expressions of commitment in all the world’s literature she laced her future to that of Naomi. She confessed allegiance to the people of Israel (your people) and to the God of Israel (your God). Here was a stirring example of a complete break with the past. Like Abraham, Ruth decided to leave her ancestors’ idolatrous land to go to the land of promise. And Ruth did it without the encouragement of a promise. In fact she made her decision despite Naomi’s strenuous encouragement to do otherwise.

Ruth is an amazing woman and we haven’t yet learned how amazing since we’re only at the end of chapter one.  What looks like a choice of self-destruction into a life of deprivation…well, we shall see what God makes of it.

  Ruth 4:17 (HCSB)

The neighbor women said, “A son has been born to Naomi,” and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

     The son had been born to Ruth, but the blessing of having the child fell upon especially Naomi.  Her sons had died, but God had given her another son (Obed) through Ruth.  Naomi’s mara (bitterness) had turned out to be a blessing.  God had dealt very kindly with her.  Indeed, we remember her now for this story and for the reason it is a story—Naomi was the great-great grandmother of David the king!  
     This is the story of a desperate family who felt it necessary to flee famine and lost (apparently) everything.  Of a foreign woman who gave up country, culture, and (apparently) any chance at love.  Of an older man who was well off, except in regards to relationship, wife, and children.  Of God who brought three people together and gave them a great blessing. They are in the line of King David, quintessential servant of God.
     It is a great story.
Ruth 1:22 (HCSB)

So Naomi came back from the land of Moab with her daughter- in- law Ruth the Moabitess. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest. 

     God in his providence has Naomi and Ruth arrive back in Bethlehem at the time of  the barley harvest.  Naomi—who understandably thinks that God has dealt bitterly with her—will not have to wait too long before she begins to get a glimpse of what God might be up to.  Despite appearances, God is dealing kindly with Naomi all through  the book of Ruth.  She will be the great-grandmother of David, and in the line of Messiah.  Great blessing!
     As The Visual Guide to the Bible points out: “Bethlehem became the home of King David and the birthplace of Jesus.  Bethlehem, house of bread and home of shepherds, became the home of the Bread of Life and the Good Shepherd.”
     “The one, true, loving God wove together rain, land, hunger, death, heartache, love, and a baby, revealing to us his character and establishing his plan of rescue.”
     Sometimes God’s blessing comes in strange and unlikely, not to mention unnoticed ways, dear reader.
  Matthew 1: The genealogy 

Five women.  Matthew’s genealogy lists five women and each one has something to hide.  Tamar bore one of Jesus’ ancestors with her father-in-law. Rahab bore one of Christ’s ancestors and she was a harlot.  Ruth bore Obed, she was a Moabite.  Moabites (as a people) were specifically excluded from the tabernacle.  Bathsheba bore Solomon to David.  She was married to Uriah at the time.  David had Uriah killed.  Finally Mary became pregnant with Jesus before she was married.
If you were writing a genealogy of Jesus wouldn’t you go out of your way to gloss over these women?  Matthew seems to go out of his way to emphasize them, and here we see grace at work.  These five women, despite their sin or unfortunate nationality, were all used by God to accomplish the salvation of the world.  Amazing. Unexpected. Just like God.