The story of Ruth doesn’t start out talking about Ruth…the context of the story establishes Naomi as the central character. Ironically, Naomi is also the central character in the conclusion of the story in chapter 4.
- part of this is because the story isn’t about any one person, but about the continuation of God’s faithfulness
- what makes this even more incredible is that God’s faithfulness is seen in the nation of Israel and the family of Elimalech DESPITE THE FAILURES AND BAD DECISIONS OF BOTH!
It should be of great comfort for us to see that even when we make bad decisions – like leaving the place we are called by God to be – that the Father does not abandon us.
- but we find out tragically that just because God doesn’t abandon His people, their decisions do have profound consequences
- Elimalech’s decision to take his family to Moab would result in the deaths of three of four members of that family.
- But in the brokenness, in the pain, in the struggle…we are blessed beyond measure to hear that God has not forgotten His people.
- In the wake of so much tragedy, Naomi hears “that the Lord had visited His people and given them food” (Ruth 1:6).
- The beautiful truth shines so brightly: EVEN WHEN WE MAKE DECISIONS THAT GOD DOES NOT AFFIRM, WE FIND OUT THAT HE STILL DOESN’T ABANDON HIS PEOPLE.
- Elimalech left Bethlehem because of a famine, but we seem to see that the famine wasn’t nearly as dangerous to his family as leaving the place God had given them:
- How can we protect ourselves from thinking that other pastures are greener?
- How can we prepare ourselves for the temptation to chase after places that seem better, even though those better places would remove us from God’s plan for our lives?
- Many of us have been through tragedies in our lives, not necessarily as much as Naomi, but we’ve all lost someone, or lost an opportunity that has had a profound impact on our life:
- How does tragedy affect your view of God?
- Are all tragedies avoidable, or are some losses just to be expected in the world in which we live?
- Naomi heard about the goodness of God and His restoration of the crops in Israel while she was still in the fields of Moab:
- How can we keep our hearts and minds open to hear about the work of the Lord? Is the Bible enough?
- Do we need to set up other outlets of information in our lives that help remind us that God is still working?