17th May 2017

Ruth: Week 2 (Wednesday, May 17 2017)

 

Though only four chapters in length, the Book of Ruth has long been recognised - even by those who don’t believe the Bible - as a literary masterpiece. But for all its literary beauty and excellence, it is so much more than that. It is, for example, about a loving relationship between a young woman and her mother-in-law. It is also about a young maiden from Moab and the man who loved and redeemed her. It is about a romance that triumphs over racial and religious prejudices. We learn from example that the Book of Ruth is about real, genuine love. This series will also teach us that God has a special place in His Word for women, and for the unique, miraculous role they play in His plan. Perhaps nowhere else in God’s Word is a woman’s strength of character and purity of motive more evident than here. Most importantly, the Book of Ruth is a story of God’s purpose to redeem all those who will put their trust in Him, simply because He loves them.

 

Chapter 1: 6-18

 

v6 Then she heard in Moab that the LORD had given his people help. He was giving food to them. So, she started to go home from Moab. Her sons’ wives went with her. v7 She left the place where she lived. She and her two sons’ wives went on the road to return to the place called Judah.

Verses 6-7 Naomi heard that God had helped his people. News came from Judah. God had provided food there. She still trusted that he looked after his people. She wanted to go back home. Orpah and Ruth started the journey with her. They loved her and they wanted to stay together.

v8 Then Naomi said to her two sons’ wives, ‘Go; return home to your own mothers. You gave kind love to me and to those that died. So I hope that the LORD gives you his kind love. v9 I hope that the LORD will give you rest in the home of a husband.’ Then Naomi kissed them. But they cried.

Verses 8-9 But Orpah and Ruth were from Moab. They were young and they could marry again. Their people would look after them. Naomi was grateful for their kindness and she blessed them. This showed that she trusted God. And she spoke about him. She prayed to him to look after Ruth and Orpah too.

v10 They said to Naomi, ‘No, we will not go home. We will go with you to your people.’ v11 But Naomi said, ‘My daughters, go home. Why are you coming with me? I will not have more sons to become your husbands. v12 Go, my daughters, go home. I am too old to have a husband. I could say that there is hope for me. I could say, “I will have a husband tonight and I will have sons.” v13 But even so would you wait until they were men? Would you not have husbands until then? No, my daughters. What the LORD has done is more bitter for me than for you. The LORD is against me.’ v14 Then they cried aloud again. Orpah kissed her husband’s mother, but Ruth held on to Naomi.

Verses 10-14 Both Ruth and Orpah still wanted to stay with Naomi. But Naomi wanted what was best for them. She could not give them new husbands. They needed to marry for security. So, Naomi tried to persuade them to go back to their families in Moab. At last, Orpah agreed, although it made her sad.

v15 ‘Look’, said Naomi, ‘your sister-in-law is going back to her family and to her gods. Go back with her.’

v16-17 But Ruth said,

          Do not ask me to leave you or not to follow you.

          Where you go, I will go. And where you stay, I will stay.

          Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.

          Where you die, I will die. And there they will bury me.

          I want the LORD to hurt me if anything except death makes us separate.

v18 Then Naomi knew that Ruth wanted to go with her. So, she did not argue any more.

Verses 15-18 Ruth understood the practical wisdom of Naomi’s advice. However, her love for Naomi and her wish to obey God made her strong. She would be loyal to him and to Naomi. She was ready to give up everything else. ‘Where you go, I will go. And where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God’, she said. Ruth chose to belong to Naomi’s people and to worship Naomi’s God. The book now becomes Ruth’s story.


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