A Bit Of Background
At a time when both Moses and Joshua had long since passed from this earth, Israel was led by judges that governed the people since God did not desire for them to have an earthly king, as He was their King. It was during this time that the stubborn nation went through a pitiful cycle of rebellion, slavery and deliverance. This deliverance, wrought by various judges over the years such as Gideon, Samson and Jephthah, would be followed by Israel’s temporary repentance and inevitable sinking right back into sin. With this being the context of our story, we come to our family in today’s spotlight.
A Legacy Of Fleshly Choices
The very first verse of the book has so many choices already made, most of the lesson could come from that one verse alone.
- When famine came to the land of promise, the choice was made to leave God’s blessing in favor of the world.
- When deciding on a destination, a family of God’s people chose to live in Moab, a nation that practiced various types of abominable wickedness, including the burning of infants alive on their altars.
- Moab should never have been an option to exist. Because this family’s ancestor, Abraham, had made the same choice to move to a land of temporal comfort, the Father of Israel acquired many heartaches in the form of servants which would continue to plague the family with poor choices. It was the handmaiden Hagar that Sarah used to “help God” in fulfilling His promise of a son, a choice which produced one of Israel’s enemy nations. It was the mass of servants and livestock that led Lot to choose a land visually appealing, and it was this decision on Lot’s part that led to his fathering the nation of Moab by his own daughter’s perverted deceit.
In verse two and on, we have Elimelech bringing his family to this ungodly society and dwelling among the people, with his two sons taking two wives of this nation. Marrying someone of a different nation isn’t wrong, but marrying someone who is not a follower of the Lord will only bring heartache to both parties. Did Elimelech and his family partake in the heathen practices as well?
Sin Can Make You Say Unbelievable Things
Soon, Elimelech died, but his sons and widow, Naomi, stayed in Moab for another ten years before both of his sons died. This left Naomi alone with her two daughter-in-laws. It was at this time that Naomi decided to go back to Israel, because she had heard there was food in the land once again. Though her daughters wanted to come with her, she not only sent them back to their own families, but in a tainted mindset exemplified in her words to Ruth, “Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods; return thou after thy sister-in-law.”
Ruth Breaks The Chain
Though one daughter-in-law does turn back to her own people, the other does not. You know who this is; Ruth. She determines to go with Naomi, continuing to be good to her. She resolves to make Naomi’s people her people and Naomi’s God her God. And Ruth follows through with this, working in a nearby field, providing for herself and her mother-in-law.
One Good Choice Begets Another
This kindness and faithfulness is noticed by the owner of the field, Boaz. As it turns out, her is a relative of Naomi and soon finds interest in Ruth. It is because of this setting that we get the familiar kinsman account of Boaz and his eventual marriage to Ruth. Because of the loving choice of this selfless Moabitess to be good to Naomi and follow the Lord, she was blessed with a wonderful husband, Boaz the son of Rahab who was saved from Jericho. This Boaz, however, made his own wise choice in following the procedure of the kinsman redeemer. This being that Ruth was to marry the next of kin to her late husband, as detailed in Deut. 25:5-10, unless that man refused. Seeing as there was one individual more closely related than he, Boaz had the character to give this man opportunity to pursue the hand of Ruth in marriage, but the kinsman refused. This allowed Boaz and Ruth to marry, which resulted in their son Obed, who grew up to be the father of Jesse and the grandfather of the man after God’s own heart, David.
Let’s make good choices and be leaders to those behind us making choices.
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