Summary: In a time of famine, Elimelech and his family run from God to the land of God’s enemies, and pay a steep price as they do what seems right in God’s eyes. How will we respond in the time of our own “famines?”

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Walking in the Wilderness - Ruth 1:1-5 - January 20, 2013

Series: From Heartache to Hope – The Redemption of Ruth - #1

Some years ago I was given, as a gift, a copy of the New Testament. I truly appreciate the thought that went into that gift, and the heart with which it was given, but as I flipped through the pages of that Bible I found myself a little discouraged just the same. Now don’t misunderstand me here; there was nothing wrong with the Bible itself. It was beautifully bound, of a good size to fit in a pocket, useful to take with me when I did visitations or travelled, the only problem was, that being just the New Testament, I was missing out on a good portion of God’s word.

And that wouldn’t faze many people today – after all, it’s in the New Testament, that we find the record of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But friends, if we aren’t getting into all of God’s word, then we are missing out on some of what God has chosen to reveal to us about Himself. There is a verse in the New Testament book of Romans that reads like this: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4, NIV84)

When Paul refers to “everything that was written in the past,” he’s speaking about the books that make up the Old Testament, and he’s saying that God has a purpose for us even in these books. They are there for our instruction, for our encouragement, and so that we might have hope in the present day. And so it was that awhile back we took a number of weeks and looked at the life and times of the prophet Elijah. This morning we are going to return to the Old Testament for a bit as we look at the life and times of another individual whose story may speak to where we are at today, and whose testimony out of the darkness of heartache and despair, may both encourage us, and bring forth new hope in our hearts as we see God at work.

We are going to look into the life and times of a woman named Ruth, and we find her story in the book that bears her name. So turn with me, if you will, to the book of Ruth, and we are going to begin reading in verse 1. If you’re not sure where to look, you’ll find the book of Ruth close to the beginning of your Bibles – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and then finally, the book of Ruth.

At just 85 verses, this book is one of the shorter books of Scripture. You can easily read it in less than 15 minutes. And I would encourage you to take the time to read through this book at least once a week during the course of this series. It’s a book that’s been called one of the most beautiful short stories ever written, and it is acknowledged as one of the greatest pieces of literature to find it’s way into our hearts – and this by those who are not necessarily people of faith.

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