Summary: Part one of series on Ruth
GODS HAND IN OUR SUFFERING
Redeeming Ruth, Part 1
Today we begin a six-week study in the Book of Ruth,
If you’ve got a Bible,
you can turn to Ruth, Chapter 1 [pew bible page 179]
Many people believe
Ruth is not only the finest short story in all of scripture,
but one of the finest stories in all of ancient literature.
So today we’re gonna do things a little bit differently…
it’ll feel a little more like storytime,
than it would normally.
It starts out:
“In the days when the Judges ruled”
This gives us our historical timeline.
The period of the Judges is roughly
1200BC to about 1020 BC,
It’s the time between the death of Joshua
to the coronation of Saul as the King in Israel.
The reason its called the period of Judges,
because there was no king or government in Israel,
instead there were a series of judges
who decided disputes between people,
and acted as the final authority.
You can read all about this period,
in the Book of Judges in the bible.
And if you do read it,
you’ll find that the time of the Judges,
is one of the most dark,
unfortunate periods in all of Israel’s history.
The people of Israel were surrounded
as we are today,
by many non-Christians,
And rather than becoming
a witness and example
to these other nations,
the people of Israel were constantly
turning away from God,
doing their own thing,
giving in to various temptations,
especially sexual temptations.
it actually sounds very much like our society today.
“In the days when the Judges ruled, there was a famine in the land.”
It leads us to wonder if the famine was actually
God’s judgment on his people,
because almost every time
famine is mentioned in scripture,
its connected with God’s discipline…
His people refuse to obey him,
so he refuses to feed them.
Of course, nowadays we don’t have famines in the US,
because we’re wealthy,
instead we have recessions,
and high unemployment,
but we still need to recognize that
our daily bread doesn’t come from Kroger,
it ultimately comes from God,
and he can take away what he gives.
“In the days when the Judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.”
Here’s a quiz for you bible experts.
What does Bethlehem, literally mean?
(House of Bread.)
You’re going to see several little ironies
throughout this book.
The first is is that in the House of Bread,
people are starving to death.
This is like somebody saying,
yeah, I work for WonderBread Company,
but all the employees there are hungry.
But there’s a famine in the House of Bread.
And this man is left with a decision,
“Do I stay with my family in Bethlehem,
where there is famine
Or do I move to Moab.” [map]
Moab is some 50 miles away, to the east,
and he decides,
“I’m going to Moab.”
And again it appears that this famine is discipline from God
because 50 miles away in Moab,