Ruth—Devoted To Duty
Book of Ruth
Chapters 1:1-8, 14-17, 19, 20; 2:1-3, 11, 12
We only spent 4 weeks in our study of the Book of Judges but for the most part we saw disobedience to Jehovah God, the judgment that followed, and then God sending a deliverer. We saw that over and over again this cycle was repeated.
One of the saddest parts of Judges was the statement that “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes”.
But we know this is exactly where the world stands today and this includes America. This is what is called “Religious Humanism”.
But in the midst of all this turmoil we have the little Book of Ruth which serves at least two purposes. The Book of Ruth connects the genealogical of the tribe of Judah to Israel’s greatest king, David and the line to the Messiah.
The Book of Ruth states that the time period was in the time of the Judges and one of the main things we can observe is that God has a plan and the things that happen in this world are under the control and care of Our Sovereign Lord.
We can also see the Holy Ghost decided we needed to see a “Love Story”.
The Holy Ghost decided that we needed to see that the “Grace” of Our Lord extends beyond the national boundaries of Israel.
Some other things we will learn is:
1.) We cannot run away from our problems.
2.) We cannot hide our mistakes nor hide from them.
3.) AND, It is always wrong to blame God because the choices we make don’t work out.
BUT, the greatest lesson in the Book of Ruth is the actions of the “Kinsman Redeemer”!
So let’s begin:
*****Rth 1:1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
Some things we see is that this story takes place in the days of the Judges. In the Book of Judges we did not see many happy days for Israel.
We can also see that the tribe of Judah was in control of this city of Bethlehem.
Bethlehem means: “the house of bread”.
Judah means “praise”.
This little city sounds like a great place to live and a great place to be born. In fact King David was born here but more important King Jesus was born here by the miracle of the “Virgin Birth”. Not just some “young maiden” but an actual “Virgin Birth”!
A famine was most always a sign of God’s judgment. We know that this happened repeatably in the time of the Judges. We also know that the godly had to suffer along with the ungodly.
When trouble comes into our lives we normally do one of of three things.
1.) We endure it and that trial will control our lives.
2.) We run from it and we will miss the opportunity to serve God through it.
3.) Or we learn from our trials and come out better for them.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
*****Rth 1:2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
We have Elimelech which means “God is King”
And Naomi which means “my delight or sweetness”
And Mahlon which means “sickly”
And Chilion which means “wasting away”
From Ephrathites which means “abundance or bearing fruit” same as Bethlehem “the house of bread”
We see a family leaving this wonderful place to go to Moab.
What does God say about Moab:
Psa 108:9 [Moab is my washpot]; over Edom will I cast out my shoe; over Philistia will I triumph.
Moab is God’s wash pot or God’s boiling pot. This does not sound like a good place to live.
In other words this family moved back to the land where they had camped before Joshua had led them into the promised land.
God says this is the place I go to wash my feet!
*****Rth 1:3 And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
The first thing we see is that this move to Moab brings death! If Naomi was still at there place in Bethlehem she would have still had the land that God had given her family but in Moab she had nothing and lived among the enemies of God’s people.
Elimelech had made the wrong decision, he had walked by sight and had not even ask for the council of God.
No matter what our circumstances are when God places us in the “house of bread”, that’s where we should stay until He moves us!
My “house of bread” is right here at Gethsemane Baptist Temple. This where God has placed me. This where I will stay until God moves me!
Elimelech had not walked by “faith”!
Did God punish him? No, it was the decisions he had made that had caused his death!
The Bible says:
Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
*****Rth 1:4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.
These Moabites were descendants of Lot from his incestuous union with his daughters. “They had chosen to be enemies of Israel”.
By the commands of Moses the Jews were forbidden to marry Gentile women and especially those of Moab and Ammon.
It was because of Moabite women that 24,000 Israelites had died in their journey to the Promised Land.
Orpah means “deer or fawn” so she was probably athletic.
Ruth means ” beauty and or personality”. She was beautiful but she was not dumb. Ruth was a very remarkable person and in the end was used of God in the ancestry of Jesus.
*****Rth 1:5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.
At the end of 10 years in God’s “washpot” Naomi was left with only those two “daughter n laws”. Three lonely widows!
Naomi later said:
Rth 1:21 I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
*****Rth 1:6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: [for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread].
The famine was over back in the Promised Land but not for Naomi still in God’s “washpot”.
This report gave Naomi hope enough to return to her homeland. In other words the Lord had visited His people!
We can be sure that the Lord will visit His people Israel again as the Bible promises!
We can also be sure that ancient-oriental societies made no provisions for widows of any age. They had to return to their families or try to find a new husband which was not always very easy. BUT, If Naomi could get back to her homeland she knew God had made some provisions in the Book of Laws for widows. She knew she could at least gather food to eat.
*****Rth 1:7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
Naomi had made the right decision to return to Bethlehem but she had made it for the wrong reason. She was not trying to get closer to Jehovah, she was trying to get closer to food!
Both daughter-n-laws set out with her.
*****Rth 1:8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
It can get confusing as to why Naomi did not want her daughter-n-laws to return with her. To send them back to their old homesteads would be sending them back to pagan gods. Naomi was mad at Jehovah but she still knew He was the God of Israel.
The only thing that makes sense is that Naomi believed she was being punished for what her husband had done. What we know for sure is that Naomi was not broken into repentance but she was very bitter!
Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
And to the New Testament Church, God writes:
Mat 12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
Mat 12:7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, [ye would not have condemned the guiltless].
Naomi was telling these two girls that she hoped the Lord would provide them with better husbands than that of her two sons.
We can see the bitterness in Naomi and she did not want that bitterness to affect the lives of these two girls.
The Bible teaches us:
Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
*****Rth 1:14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
Rth 1:15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
Ruth dearly loved her mother-n-law. Naomi tried her best to convince these two girls that their life would be better served if they went back into their world.
If we can use the word “Type” here we can see that the most important decision we make in our lives is that of salvation. Ruth was making her most important life decision!
Nothing in this world can cause God’s plan to fail but Ruth’s decision that day was a part of the fulfilling of prophecy that the Lord Jesus Christ would be born in Bethlehem.
Orpah turned back but Ruth began this day fulfilling her purpose in the plan of God.
“Once Orpah walked away she was of no use to God”!
We all have some part in God’s plan but we may not realize that purpose until we get to Heaven!
Again, God has chosen the least likely of people to accomplish His will on this Earth!
Ruth passed her first test to see if she could be clay in the potter’s hand!
*****Rth 1:16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Rth 1:17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
What does Ruth say here?
There is no doubt the love she had for Naomi. In fact these same scriptures were used by many of us when we were married.
Ruth confesses her love for Naomi even to the time of her death.
Ruth confesses her “faith” in the True and Living God.
AND, She breaks any ties to the false gods she had known since her childhood.
Mat 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Ruth pledges allegiance to the God of the Bible, the God of Israel and the Creator of this world we live in!
We should point out one thing here:
Deu 23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:
Deu 23:4 Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
We might ask how did Ruth overcome this obstacle God had put in place through the Laws of Moses?
I believe it can be said Ruth got in just like every “Born Again” child of God!
We know that The Law excludes every sinner from God’s family!
BUT, By trusting God’s “Mercy” and accepting God’s “Grace” we can all be welcomed into the family of God but “only by Faith” in the LORD Jesus Christ.
2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
God is still long suffering and not willing that any of us should perish!
God is still a “Whosoever will come” God!
Ruth made her decision to go with Naomi and nothing Naomi said could change her mind.
Ruth said she accepted what Naomi offered her which “was poverty and not riches”.
Ruth said she accepted that she would be identified with God’s people “unashamed” that the hope of Israel was also her hope and is also our hope!
Ruth said Jehovah will be my God.
Ruth said these decisions I make today will be for my entire lifetime.
*****Rth 1:18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
There was nothing that Naomi could say.
You know if you make these same decisions today God will not say anything, He will just write your name in His Book of Life.
*****Rth 1:20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
It had been 10 years since Naomi had left Bethlehem, the “house of bread”. The people of Bethlehem could barely recognize her as those 10 years had taken their toll on Naomi. Naomi had come back different than she had left. She was not that sweet person she had used to be but the trials of life had made her a bitter woman.
We cannot control the circumstances of our lives or those around us BUT we can control how we respond to them!
Naomi blamed it all on The Lord who is never the blame for the choices we make!
Every child of God that goes out full should remain full and also come back even more full!
Naomi may have understood that God does judge the sin in our lives but “He will never kick us out of the family”!
This is His promise!
*****Rth 2:1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
Now we meet the “Kinsman-Redeemer”.
We should be very aware as we proceed in this story of Ruth that Boaz is a “Type of Christ” in the Old Testament.
What are the qualifications of a Kinsman-Redeemer.
1.) There must be a “Blood Relationship”:
Compare to Christ Jesus:
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
2.) There must the ability to redeem, he must have the necessary resources:
Compare to Christ Jesus:
1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
3.) There must a willingness to redeem:
Compare to Christ Jesus:
Joh 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Joh 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Joh 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
Joh 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
1Jn 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
*****Rth 2:2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
No doubt Ruth had heard Naomi say that if we can make it back to Bethlehem we can at least find some food to live on.
SO, What is gleaning?
God had made special arrangements for the poor of the land:
Lev 19:9 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.
Lev 19:10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.
God insisted that Israel make arrangements for the poor of Israel “and for the stranger”.
Lev 23:22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
God had made this a constant reminder to Israel:
Deu 24:19 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
Ruth knew she was poor, a widow, and a stranger. If God’s Word was true then she wanted to go get them some food and was willing to work for it. This was not a handout.
*****Rth 2:3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
Now we can believe that Ruth just happened to find the fields of Boaz “but we miss the providence of God if we do so”.
God is altogether sovereign!
God is not a God of chance!
Any believer that is seeking honestly to know and to do the will of God, especially in relation to the Will of God already revealed in scripture, can feel secure that the circumstances around him or her are the purpose of God.
It’s God’s plan and He wants us all involved in His Plan!
We should never make a plan of our own that goes against the Word of God!
To live by “faith” is to take God at His Word!
To live by “faith” is to know that God is constantly working in our lives!
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
This why we can witness, why we can teach, and why we can preach the “truth” of the Word of God!
Mar 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, [the Lord working with them], and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
*****Rth 2:11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
It is obvious that there was a lot of gossip in Bethlehem.
BUT, It can also be said that if you are a Christian you should stick out in a crowd.
No one had anything bad to say about Ruth.
Ruth had done exactly what Abraham had done:
Gen 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Gen 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
In this sense Ruth is a “type” of the Church.
She will become a Gentile bride to Boaz who is in fact a “type” of Christ.
*****Rth 2:12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
Jesus used a similar scene to teach the disciples the seriousness of witnessing:
Mat 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Mat 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
And rewards will come to all that are obedient to the Lord of the Harvest:
Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Col 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
and we should be aware that these are the things that we are judged for “after” salvation:
2Jn 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
It is Ruth who made the choice to trust in the God of Israel “and she found a loving God of Salvation”:
Psa 36:7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
Psa 36:8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
Psa 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.