Today we enter the eighth book of the Bible, one of the shortest of the Old Testament. I want to remind and encourage you that reading through the Bible is a long journey, testing our intellect, emotions, and stamina. There will be moments when your heart just isn’t in it, and others when you can’t wait to turn the page. Stick with it!
After the intensity of Judges, the book of Ruth provides both respite and perspective. Set in the days when the Judges ruled, it tells the story of a family from Bethlehem – Elimelech and Naomi – who seek refuge from famine in the land of Moab. The death of Elimelech, and then of their two married sons, sets in motion a plot around Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth.
The tragedy is multilayered. Naomi is widowed, and in this foreign land her only “family” is two Moabite women – neither of whom now have any reason to look after her. She is completely disinherited, and without husbands her daughters-in-law will live, and die, without standing or provision. Naomi returns home, “empty,” but for Ruth, who promises “…where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
The story is too brilliant to talk over, so my comments will be brief. Pay attention throughout to the characters’ awareness of the LORD’s presence and impact. Listen for the descriptions of character, both by the author and through the dialogue. And drink in chapter 2: as the pace slows to recount the day when Ruth’s and Naomi’s fortunes begin to turn.
Our verse for this week is John 3:35: The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.
Ruth 1 and 2. Now let’s read it!
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.