Ruth 1 & 2

Picture the two women arriving in Bethlehem. Travel stained and weary, Naomi aged and bent. The ten years in Moab had made its mark on Naomi. The experience in Moab had been bitter. She went out full, but had lost everything in Moab.

As they entered into Bethlehem the city was moved. They thought of the once charming and pleasant Naomi. They remembered the happy, winsome, pleasant wife of the elegant Elimelech.

Now looking at this worn and aged woman they asked, Is this really Naomi?

v. 20—“Call me not Naomi, call me Mara.” Mara means “bitter.”

This is the testimony of believers who turn their backs on God.

Note the testimony of Naomi. “The Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”

Beloved take this exhortation to heart. God will deal bitterly with an erring child. Not in anger, but in the hope and expectation of recovery.

v. 21—“I went out full.”

In God’s presence there is fullness. No saint of God can dwell in the presence of God and be empty.

Barnabas was full of the Holy Spirit. Stephen was full of faith. Dorcus was full of good works. The seven deacons were full of wisdom.

In Bethlehem, Naomi was full. She left loaded with God’s blessings, she came home a pauper.

The prodigal son had the same experience. “The Lord hath brought me home again.”

How gracious God is. She attributed his return home to the Lord.

Notice the tragic expression “empty.” How expressive! How instructive!

It was home. But the inevitable end of ten years away from God is emptiness.

Naomi’s testimony is clear:

1. The Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

2. The Lord has testified against me.

3. The Almighty hath afflicted me.

This should serve as a warning to any back-slidden Christians.

Ruth 2

From this point Ruth takes the prominent place over Naomi. This illustrates the point that a backslider, ever after he returns, seldom rises to the heights of spirituality. Examples: Moses, Elijah, Peter, Barnabas.

Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem “in the beginning of barley harvest.” A time of blessing and rejoicing. It is always so with the one who returns to the Lord. Better days were ahead for the now humbled and chastened Naomi.

As a Moabitess, Ruth was particularly odious to the Jews. A Moabite was not permitted under any circumstances to enter the fellowship of the congregation of God—Deuteronomy 23:3. Ruth would have been voted the most unlikely woman to succeed. But “Grace” triumphed over law, heaped over every obstacle, overcame every difficulty.

Ruth the Moabitess became the bride of Boaz and the restorer of life to Naomi. Ruth means “satisfied.” She sought the Lord and in seeking Him was blessed by Him.

v. 6-7—Note that Naomi arose and with her two daughters-in-law began her journey from Moab to Bethlehem.

Note the principle “Separation always precedes sanctification.”

The evil world must be given up if we would know the joy of the Lord’s presence. The swine troughs and hog pens must be forsaken if we would sit at the Father’s table and enjoy the Savior’s love.

v. 8—“Go return to your mother’s house.”

Naomi the backslider was not restored in her own soul. Therefore she could be of no help to others. There had been no confession of sin. She had lost her first love and zeal. She had no desire to retrieve her daughter-in-law from idolatrous Moab.

Instead of inviting and encouraging them to come with her to Canaan and to accept her God, she discouraged them. Poor Orpah, under duress, went back into the world.

A backslider is one of the most effective tools of Satan in discouraging others to come to Christ.

Naomi’s second outburst was much stronger and more convincing than the first. See verses 11-13. Orpah succumbed and returned to her people and her gods.

v. 14—Ruth’s great decision. “Ruth clung to her.”

Ruth’s decision was made in the face of tremendous difficulties.

1. Her past was against her. She was trained to worship gods.

2. Naomi seemed against her. She pled with her to return.

3. The future was against her—self-exiled.

Despite these she decided in favor of Canaan and God.

Consider the outcome.

The kinsman who failed to follow the law of Moses and redeem. Naomi and Ruth, because of self interest, have not even mentioned his name in the story. But Ruth, who gave up all to follow Naomi’s God, eventually rests in the lap of luxury an dlove, and her name is numbered even to this day.

“Wither thou goest I will go.”

This is one of the many faith decisions mentioned in the Scriptures. Those who made this decision of faith were always well rewarded by God.

Verses 16-17 contain one of the most precious rubies in Ruth. It is a classic in literature, and one of the most touching. It is the sincere outpouring of a heart captivated and determined to follow the true God.

The two statements which to me are very significant are “thy people shall be my people and thy God my God.”

There is a divine principle stated here.

1. Ruth realized to the fullest extent that she was renouncing her past life and affiliations and from henceforth she would worship and serve the God of Naomi Hebrews, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

2. She decided to make God’s holy people her people also.

These two principles are still as important today. Those who would receive the blessing of God must make Him Lord of their life, must separate themselves from worldly companions and fellowship with God’s people. This is where many a sincere soul has been shipwrecked. They have held on to old friendships rather than make new ones among God’s people.

To ensure God’s blessing on our lives, and spiritual progress in divine things there must be complete detachment from all worldly friendships and a complete attachment to Jesus Christ.

Then there must be a realignment of one’s self with the people of God.

Note now the phrase, “The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death part you and me.” This means, “May a severe judgment fall on me if I am not true to my vow.”

v. 1—At this point we are introduced to Boaz. He was Naomi’s kinsman. This means that under a provision of God, made for widows, he was obligated to redeem Elimelech’s property and to raise children to the one who had died “without a name in Israel.”

Boaz is a beautiful type of Christ our Redeemer. Boaz was mighty and wealthy. He came from Bethlehem.

v. 2—“Let me now go to the field and glean ears of corn.” This was a question of life and death for herself and Naomi. As believers it is necessary to “glean ears of corn” from God’s Word to survive spiritually.

v. 3—“She happened to come to a portion of the field belonging to Boaz.”

This was not a coincidence, it was the leading of the Lord. World shaking events often hinge upon apparently insignificant incidents.

1. The sleepless night of a king ends in the salvation of a nation. Esther 6:1.

2. The selling of Joseph to the Ishmaelites, resulted in the saving of the world.

3. The capture of the little Jewish maid ends in the cleansing of Naaman.

4. Rebekah was at the well when Abraham’s servant arrived, the result of this was her marriage to Isaac.

5. The Samaritan woman came to the well when Jesus was there, the result a harvest of souls.

Ruth entered the harvest field of Boaz, it ended in a happy marriage, a little baby, a great King, and finally a great Savior.

Boaz took Ruth and she bore Obed. Obed had a son called Jesse. Jesse had a son called David. This was the royal line from which our Lord came.

No circumstance in our life is unimportant. Each incident is a part of God’s place. Isaiah 55:8, 9.

v. 5—“Whose damsel is this?”

it is interesting to note that the mighty, wealthy Boaz should take notice of a poor, weak, helpless stranger. Boaz is a type of the Lord and gives us a perfect picture of His marvelous grace towards the weakest and most insignificant of His people. Examples: David Livingston, Mary Slessar, D.L. Moody, David Brainard, William Carey, Moses, David, Gideon.

Ruth going to work in Boaz’ field was God’s plan to bring them together. It was the beginning of the romance.

v. 7—Note Ruth’s diligence. “She hath continued from morning until now.” The last phrase can be interpreted, “She hath not rested even a little.”

The early church was credited with “continuing steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine.”

Paul urges Timothy to “continue”…in the doctrine…in supplications and prayers…in the things he had learned. To be diligent in every aspect of our Christian life will bring the approval of men and the blessing of God. Ruth is an example of this.

Notice now Boaz’ protection and provision for Ruth—v. 8-9. “Go not to glean in another field.” “Do not leave my field.” “Abide close by my maiden.” Boaz also provided for her safety and her sustenance.

v. 10—Notice Ruth’s prostration. “She fell on her face and bowed herself down.” This speaks of worship. Compare the woman who was a sinner and the leper who returned to thank the Lord for his healing.

v. 11-12—Boaz commends Ruth for her sacrifice and faithfulness and prays for God’s blessing upon her.

v. 14—Communion. He reached her parched corn. Corn is the food of the Promised Land. Leeks, onions and garlic was the food of Egypt. Manna was the food for the wilderness.

Think how Ruth must have felt about all this. He reached her parched corn and “she was satisfied.” She also had sufficient leftover to satisfy Naomi too.

v. 15—Despite these favors Ruth’s efforts to glean did not slacken. Boaz again rewarded her efforts by leaving “handfuls on purpose” for her. Reproach her not.

v. 17—The result of her day’s work gleaning in the field was that she had sufficient food to last Naomi and herself for five days. She beat out what she had gleaned. We must beat out what we glean from the Word.

v. 19—On his return, Naomi asked her “Where hast thou gleaned today?” Ask the same question.

The manna had to be gathered every morning. So we must glean every day from the Word.

v. 20—Ruth is told of the relationship of Boaz.

v. 22—Naomi’s counsel, “It is good.”

v. 23—Ruth continued to glean until the crops were harvested.

Ruth’s sacrifice was beginning to pay off. She had left her own people to follow an old woman through the desert, infested with robbers and wild beasts. Now she is sitting at the table with Boaz eating corn. What a transformation. The story does not end here.

Boaz charges his young men not to remind her that she was a Moabitess, a poor pauper, an unclean Gentile, a widow, a dependent outside the elite house of Israel. “Reproach her not.” Compare or own situation. Praise God.