Summary: This part 1 of a series on the life of Ruth. The theme is how God providentially moves in the lives of those who commit to Him.
RUTH: QUITTING IS NOT AN OPTION
By Pastor Ralph Juthman
Illustration- Ladies/Men Answer this Question, what is the title of your favotite movie, TV show or book ( other than the Bible).
There are obvious differences. Personally, I like movies/tv shows and books that contain lots of action. If there is not a heart stopping car chase or something blowing up, then it really does not interest me much.
Romance novels or movies are particularly uninteresting to me. However, once in a while a story comes around that piques my interest.
IN the Bible there are two books that many men overlook because of heir content. Ruth and Song of Solomon might be considered by some men to be irrelevant for their macho image.
Yet, this small four chapter book, is more than a fairy tale or romantic novel. It was written by the prophet Samuel, and details the events that occurred during the time of the judges.
Many bed time stories begin with “Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a far away land, in a beautiful palace, there lived a beautiful princess.”
While it was written a long time ago, in a far away land it did not involve a castle, princess or Prince charming. The story of Ruth is a glimpse into the lives of ordinary, though godly people, during one of the most turbulent time of Israel’s history. Someone has described it as ‘an oasis of faithfulness in an age marked by idolatry and unfaithfulness.”( Ryrie Study Bible Notes)
The book of Ruth has been called "the most beautiful short story in the world." It deals with ordinary people living in difficult times. Ruth is also a story of God’s invisible hand weaving Himself through the circumstances, events a seasons of people like you and me.
Theologians call this, PROVINENCE; it’s the story of how God providentially guides and blesses all who trust Him
The word Providence: means God orchestrates everything to accomplish His purpose. It is voiced in the verse from Romans 8:28 that encourages us,
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who[b] have been called according to his purpose.
Our journey begins in Chapter 1 where we discover,
1. In the Darkest times God is in Control: ( Read 1-5)
It must not have been easy living in those days. These were dark days for Isreal, when ‘everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” ( Judges 21:25). But even during dark and dreadful days, God has his people who continue to follow Him.
God had set aside two people, a husband and wife to be lights in a very dark time.
The man’s name was Eleimelech, or ‘God is my King”. Can you imagine living everyday, and whenever someone called your name it was a testimony and reminder that God was still Lord, even in troublesome times?
Then there was Naomi or Beautiful One. Her name suggests both inner as well as outer beauty. His was a woman who had the goods. Not only would she turn heads when she walked into a room, but her inner character shown through like a bright beacon of light in a corrupt world.
So, you have Elmelech, God is my King, and Naomi, beautiful one together. During dark and troublesome times that is what you want to know. God is Lord, and he gives strength to live with goddly character.
However, even a godly couple like Elimelech and Naomi could not avoid times of trouble. Take their children for instance. Eleimelech and Naomi had two sons. Their names were Mahlon which literally means ‘puny’ and Chilon or ‘Pining”. I will refer to them as ‘Skinny’ and “Stinky”
The Bible says that “…there was a famine in the land.” The Lord had given Isreal a clear promise, If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: 3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
However, if they chose to disregard God’s laws, then … all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: 16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. 17 Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. 18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. 19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
As a result of ISreals rebellion, the entire nation had fallen under the judgement of God. Famine had devastated the land, and Naomi and Elimelech were not exempt. Even though they had lived righteous lives, they could not avoid the famine which plagued the land.