Focal Passages: Ruth 1-2
This book, written during a time of the judges, is a love story between Ruth and Boaz. It happened in a time of apostasy and apathy when sin was rampant. We don’t have to use much imagination wondering what that kind of day was like because it easily describes the current condition of our nation’s culture. Even in darkness or despair, we must not lose heart or hope because God is alive and still on the throne. This book portrays the redemption we have in Christ.
There was a famine in Bethlehem. Elimelech, whose name meant, “My God is king,” made a wicked choice to not trust God. Instead, he and his family moved into Moab, a pagan country and enemy of Israel. The Moabites were people born out of an incestuous relationship of Lot with his daughter.
His decision to move there was motivated by physical food instead of spiritual fortitude. The truth is there are people today that are like he was. The material and physical rather than the spiritual motivates them. However, that is contrary to how a Christian ought to live (Matthew 6:33).
Elimelech also chose to not walk by faith, but sight. How easy it is for us to walk by sight because it is something we can know and understand. However, we have been called to walk by faith (II Corinthians 5:7). Faith is when you believe God in spite of appearances and obey Him in spite of consequences.
Elimelech’s decision to leave Bethlehem for a better life resulted in a bitter life for his wife and daughters-in-law as all three men died in Moab. Like him, people sometimes choose to not grow where God has planted them, but go where they want and it only leads to devastating consequences.
In their disappointment of not having the anticipated health, wealth or happiness they ask, “If there is a God, why do all these terrible things keep happening to me?” In other words, they choose to blame God for the consequences rather than accept responsibility for the choices they’ve made. We must guard against thinking we know better than God does (Proverbs 3:5).
Unlike her father-in-law, Ruth made a wise choice. In choosing God, she made a choice that transformed her life and touched ours. The reason is not only did she become a marvelous picture of redemption and salvation, but also an ancestress of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh. When you consider that Ruth was a young Moabite whose husband’s death left her without a lover or livelihood, her story is even more magnificent.
Despite her mother-in-law’s plea not to, Ruth was resolute in her decision to go with Naomi to Bethlehem. It was there that she met and married a wealthy, noble man named Boaz. He loved Ruth so much that he bought back the lost estate of her deceased husband. It was because of grace that he became her kinsman redeemer. Ruth, a Gentile bride, was safe and secure.
Friend, if you will put your hand of faith in God’s hand of grace, the same God that took a pagan girl from Moab and made her the bride of Boaz from Bethlehem will take sinners like you and me and make us the bride of Christ (Ephesians 2:8). How wonderful it is to know that we’re saved and can never, ever lose our salvation.
Just as Ruth was not in Boaz’s field by accident, those lost people that come into your life are not there by accident. We must go to every mountainside and field in Tennessee sharing this glorious news because more than 3.65 million people are standing there in need of salvation. Let’s go!
— Lancaster is senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Rockwood.