I’m back and caffeinated and ready to dig deep into the book of Ruth, one of the two books of the Bible named for a woman. So, grab your cup and get ready to enjoy God’s grace.
Ruth is a wonderful story of love and commitment, but honestly, something has always puzzled me…I’ve never understood how a girl could choose another family over her own. Of course, I realize there are many things that play into her choice. Maybe she didn’t come from a loving family. Maybe she had been married off so young, as was often the case, that her husband’s family had become closer to her than her own. Maybe my own experiences growing up in a wonderful family full of God’s love make it hard for me to imagine saying goodbye forever. But, there’s something I’ve never really considered until now…her faith in God.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In fact, let’s take a cue from The Sound of Music and start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.
“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 21:25) There was international strife and upheaval, and not surprisingly, there was famine in the land. Elimelek was in a tight spot, there was no food to feed his wife and sons, so they went off to Moab in search of a better life. However, his decision to go to Moab was in direct violation with God’s instructions (don’t associate with anyone from Moab and don’t seek friendship with them. Deuteronomy 23:3-6)
While there, Elimelek died leaving behind his wife, Naomi and two sons. Those sons married Moabite women and ten years later, the young husbands died. Remember, women depended on men to provide for them, without them, they were left with nothing, destitute. And custom expected daughters-in-law to live with their mother-in-law until they remarried.
Naomi and her daughters-in-law are in quite the jam: what now?