Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, move from Judah during a great famine in the plains of Moab. They have two sons who marry Moabite women, but the sons die before their wives bare any children. And, to make matters worse, Naomi’s husband dies soon thereafter. So, three women with no husbands needing to survive in challenging times and a difficult environment make for a tough situation. Naomi decides to return to Judah because the famine has ended. But this commandment of the Lord hangs over her; it was part of the Blessing and Curse that both Moses and Joshua enjoined the people. “No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, not even in the tenth generation” (Duet 23:3). Naomi dissuades her two daughters-in-law not to follow her. One submits, but the other who bears the name Ruth, decides she will follow her mother-in law back to Judah.
If we go all the way back to Genesis in the eleventh chapter, God is beginning to call the “human race” back to Himself, beginning with Abraham. The Israelites were supposed to be “the salt”, “the city on the hill”, “a light” (Matthew 5:13-16). God chose Israel to bring Christ through her and he chose the weakest most insignificant nation to carry out this task. Having breathed upon this earth you are well aware; the adventures, which God has in store for us, are hardly ever seen so clearly at the outset. Ruth tells Naomi, as she decides to follow her back to Judea, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God “(Ruth 1:16). It is hard not to think that this statement is what God was trying to get us to see in the Old Testament’s story of Ruth, and still trying to get us to see today.
The story gets a little messy some might say. What family story isn’t? Naomi is blessed through the life of Ruth and we come to find out that Ruth becomes the great grandmother of King David! Go figure? Like Oswald Chambers wrote: “How God uses, whom He chooses.”
Oh, how important it is for us to “Love the Lord thy God.” That there would be no other gods before Him; that we could follow His laws and His statutes and serve him constantly. Oh Lord, I am so thankful for your Grace that you have given us through your Son, Jesus, because I am a shipwrecked soul without it. Ain’t it so!