10th May 2017

Ruth: Week 1 (May 10 2017)

 

If someone asked you to name an example of romance in the Bible, what would come to your mind? Jacob and Rachel? Isaac and Rebekah? Perhaps the greatest romance in all of Scripture is found in the book of Ruth. This story of a young, bereaved Moabite woman, her widowed Jewish mother-in-law, and their journey together from poverty to redemption, has captivated Bible readers for generations. But have we really seen in the story of Ruth the wonderful, deeper, life-changing truths that lie therein? Just as God provided a “kinsman redeemer” for Ruth, He has provided One for us as well. It is the story of God’s redemptive plan for all who will place their trust in Him. Features 12 lessons over six weeks: Hope in Hopeless Times Running Away From Trouble Three Steps Back to God Decision Determines Destiny Going Home When God Leads The Right Time and the Right Place The Midnight Meeting Waiting on God A Worthy Redeemer The Blessing of a Baby Ruth and the Messiah. Available from www.davidjeremiah.org

 

The book of Ruth is a beautiful story. The events in it happened over 3000 years ago. Because it is about ordinary people, this story can help us today. This story is about an ordinary family whose members suffered many losses but God went on looking after them. Then he gave them new gifts to make them glad.

We do not know who wrote Ruth. Perhaps it was a familiar story that a scribe wrote down after King David’s death. In chapter 4 verses 18-22, there is a list of people who were born into Ruth’s family. This includes King David. He was a very great king, an ancestor of Jesus.

Chapter 1

v1 There was a famine in the country. It happened in the days when the judges ruled the people. A man from Bethlehem in Judah went to stay in the country called Moab. His wife and his two sons went with him. v2 The man’s name was Elimelech and his wife’s name was Naomi. His two sons’ names were Mahlon and Kilion. They were all Ephrathites. They went from Bethlehem in Judah and they came to live in Moab.

Verses 1-2 These verses introduce the story. The events happened in the time of the judges, before there was a king ruling Israel’s people. Judah was an area in the south and west of Israel. Moab was on the opposite side of the Dead Sea and was a separate state.

Bethlehem was a large town. The local area usually produced plenty of food. Then there was a famine (a time when crops did not grow well and so there was not enough food). Elimelech and his family wanted security. They left home to look for food elsewhere. They came to a country where the people did not worship God.

Elimelech was from Ephrath. This probably meant that he belonged to one of the chief families in Bethlehem. (‘Ephrath’ is an old name for Bethlehem – see Micah 5:2.) He took his wife Naomi and his two sons Mahlon and Kilion. They planned to stay in Moab only for a short time.

The names in this story are important. Elimelech means ‘My God is king’. Naomi means ‘pleasant’. What had happened in Naomi’s life did not match her name. In Ruth 1:20, Naomi realised that. Mahlon and Kilion seem to come from two other words. Those words mean to be sick and to become weak and die. These names show the sad events to come.

v3 But Elimelech died. He was Naomi’s husband. Naomi and her two sons remained. v4 The two sons married women from Moab. The name of one was Orpah and the name of the second was Ruth. Naomi’s family stayed there for about 10 years. v5 Then Mahlon and Kilion died also. The woman now remained without her children or her husband.


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