Studies in the Book of Ruth #2 (1.1-18)
During this present time of distress in our world, may this study be a comfort to you as there is no GREATER COMFORT than the words of Almighty God (cf. Isaiah 40:1)!
I. TRIALS (v. 1-2)
“there was a famine in the land” (v. 1) – this is the 4th famine in the Bible
1st famine – Genesis 12:10
2nd famine – Genesis 26:1-4
3rd famine – Genesis 41:56
A. THE PROBLEM – Why famine? It could be due to DISOBEDIENCE! See Deuteronomy 11:10-17. The right response to trials is to TRUST God!
B. THE PLACE – Elimelech (the leader of the family) decides to LEAVE Bethlehem-Judah (interestingly enough Bethlehem means “house of bread”) and settles in Gentile country (Moab). Look at what God says about Moab in Psalm 60:8! See also Deuteronomy 23:3-4.
It is better to be IN God’s will in FAMINE than to be OUT of God’s will and FEASTING!
C. THE PEOPLE – A family is GREATLY affected by the decisions of the husband/father
The “certain man” – Elimelech means “my God is King”
Elimelech’s wife Naomi means “pleasant”
Their son Mahlon – means “sickly”
Their other son Chilion – “wasting, pining away”
II. TRIBULATION (v. 3-15)
*Notice how QUICK, tragedy can strike!
Verse 3 – Elimelech dies
Verse 4 – the two sons take foreign wives
Verse 5 – ten years later… more tragedy as the two sons die
It started with 4 –> Naomi + 3
It is reduced to 3 when Elimelech dies –> Naomi + 2
“Maybe we should GO back to the promised land… nah.”
It grows to 5 as the sons take wives –> Naomi + 4
It is reduced to 3 when the sons die –> Naomi + 2
Naomi came with 3… she left with 2… and they are her daughters-in-law
DOCTRINAL APPLICATION – cf. Jeremiah 30:1-7
Naomi is a type of Israel going through “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Great Tribulation)
Verse 6 – notice that BREAD is present in Judah
*See… TRIALS are just TEMPORARY – they are TESTS from the Lord
Verse 7 – BACK to the land of Canaan, the land of promise – now they are going the RIGHT direction, – all 3 of them!
cf. Luke 15:11-24
Verses 8-9 – even though Naomi is beginning to think straight… she is STILL NOT thinking straight
cf. James 1:8
cf. James 4:8
Verse 10 – these two girls – Orpah and Ruth – they ARE in their right mind!
Verses 11-13 – When you want to go where the Lord wants you to go – there will be someone there to try and talk you out of it – sometimes it is the person that SHOULD be telling you to go ahead and DO what God wants you to do!
Verse 14 – a DECISION is made by Orpah to LISTEN to the counsel of Naomi
cf. Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart…”
*We never hear ANYTHING about Orpah again!
cf. Genesis 19:24-26 – DON’T LOOK BACK – INSTEAD – cf. Hebrews 12:1-2
Verse 15 – the decision is going to affect her for THOUSANDS of years!!!!!
Should I go this way or that way…
WHERE am I going to DWELL?
WHAT could happen if I follow this path… or this one???
WHO am I going to follow?
WHY am I doing this?
III. TRUST (v. 16-18)
Verses 16-18 – probably the greatest verses in the Bible on LOYALTY
*Ruth exhibits great LOYALTY toward Naomi, the Israelites, and God Almighty!
cf. Proverbs 18:24
“STEDFAST” – cf. 1 Corinthians 15:58