Ruth1:1-4 (1) "Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. (2). And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. (3) And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. (4) And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years."
There is a lot of symbolism in the book of Ruth from a Theological point of view. Ruth represents the Gentiles who will enter into the covenant of God. Naomi and her husband and sons represent the Israelites who have wander away from God’s will. Boaz is the type (pattern) of the coming Christ who would be the kinsman-redeemer to God's people of any descent or background.
From of spiritual perspective the book of Ruth is more than a story of Naomi's transformation from despair to happiness, emptiness to fullness. The book of Ruth is more than the selflessness and sacrifices of Ruth and Boaz. This book should be a witness of our own testimony in finding, unmerited favor, grace, and salvation through the true kinsmen-redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Many of us whether Hebrew or Gentile, should be able to identify with Naomi and her husband Elimelech. They left their home in Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread” because of famine. They didn’t just leave the area, but they left territory of Israel. They left the land that God gave to them as an inheritance and generational blessing.
Many of us have left a place where we once were blessed. We left because we were dissatisfied and unfulfilled, feeling emotionally fatigue and spiritually deplenished. Many of us leave Church, a place of employment or a relationship because of this. God does sever us in His time from certain relationships, location, and churches for a reason. However, when we leave because we are angry or offended we left for the wrong reason, and failed to allow God to finish in us what he wanted to accomplish. We think we our running away from a bad situation, when we are really running from ourselves and from God.
Although it doesn’t say Naomi and her family ran from Bethlehem, it does say they went and dwelt in Moab. A place God never called his people to dwell, a land of strange custom, and idols. The descendants of Moab are the children of Lot and his daughters, conceived through incest. They settle in Moab and allowed their sons to intermarry. Moab represents the world. Naomi husband dies soon after arriving in Moab. However, Naomi and her sons stay in Moab for ten years. If her sons had not died, and had children, we would never have the book of Ruth.
Naomi sons do die without leaving an heir and the wives Orpah and Ruth are widows, without any means of support. Another word there is no bread in their house. God will not, He cannot bless our disobedience. I have learned over the years that God will not bless our mess, but He will fix it if we allow Him.
Ruth 1:6-8 “(6) Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. (7). Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. (8) And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.”
Naomi hears in the land of Moab that there is bread in her land of the Israelites. As they reached the borders of Judah she tell her two daughters in laws to leave and return to their land and people. Ruth and Orpah are not obligated to go with her, because there is nothing left that she can do or give them, especially sons.
Ruth 1:14. “And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.”
Orpah decides to go back and return to Moab a place of familiarity and possibilities. Naomi tells Ruth that Orpah has returned to her people and her gods. Orpah represents those who say they are Christians, but they are not fully committed to following God, or keeping His Word. When things get hard they go back into the world, and their ungodly ways.
Ruth 1:16-17 “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:17. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”
Ruth has made her decision, to forsake all and follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God that she has heard so much about, and chooses to trust and lean on in good and hard times. She was willing to let go of the comfort and familiarity of home, to move forward with reckless spiritual abandonment to God. Ruth like many of us desire more than just existing, she was trusting in the living God to give her purpose and destiny. Yet, far to many of us our afraid to let go and trust God, for fear of loosing control. Sadly like Orpah, whose name means stiff neck, we still want to be in control of our lives instead of letting God be in control.…To be continued.