Focus: Book of Ruth
We have all met people like Tina. In her freshman year of college, she was free of her parents and free to make a lot of bad decisions. There were the parties filled with alcohol and there was the wild boyfriend. She was having the time of her life. Then suddenly she was pregnant and the boyfriend dropped her. All the promise of a great life seemed gone. Seeing no place to go but home, she packed her things and hoped they would accept her. Her parents cried, but they embraced her and welcomed her home. Life could be rebuilt with their love. Ruth is the story of a heavenly Father who embraces a lost family and gives them a future. It shows that our loving Father is always ready to help repair and renew lives.
A series of mistakes Ruth 1:1 - Our story begins with a famine. A man decides to go to a heathen nation with his wife and two children rather than trust that God. He goes to a place where God is not worshiped. This was the first mistake for they abandon God and seek to make things work in their own way. The second mistake is that the sons both take pagan wives. Here was a family that wasn’t just going to live for a little while in this pagan land, but was settling in and living without God.
The courage to return to God Ruth 1:6 God comes to the aid of His people in Judah, but not to the disobedient family in Moab. Those who have left the Lord behind only hear of his blessings but never experience them. The answer is to repent and return. Sadly, Naomi goes home but really doesn’t get it. Her desire was to go home for food and not for God. She will be in the right place for blessing, but she has much to learn and sins to confess.
Giving God the opportunity to help Ruth 2:2 Oddly, it is a pagan woman Ruth who throws herself on God’s mercy. Jewish law said that the poor could glean fields already harvested. It was one of God’s programs for the feeding of the poor. She took the promise of God at His word and gave God an opportunity to work in her life by living in His law and trusting in His mercy. She was not lazy nor proud. She was hardworking and humble and God was more than ready to act.
A new future Ruth 4:17 A son was born named Obed. The child would be able to claim the farmland of Naomi’s husband and would provide food and shelter for Naomi and Ruth. The child would be part of God’s plan to change the world as Obed would have a grandson named King David and a descendant named Jesus. There is no limit to what God can do if people will live with faith. God can take people whose lives are shattered and lift them to places of honor and great joy.
The bible is filled with people who would seem beyond help. There is the thief on the cross, Saul who imprisons Christians and even a tax collector named Matthew. Every one of them seems beyond reclamation, but God lifts them all up because all of them called on Him in faith and changed their lives. We all know people who think that they cannot be reclaimed. They think that God is against them and that the roof would cave in if they walked through these doors. Yet, the story of Ruth shows that God can and would like to reclaim them all. As we read this story, we can get all caught up in the love story of Ruth and Boaz, but that is not the point of the book of Ruth. It is a story of the lost being remade by a loving Father. There is no reason for people to live without hope.