Orpah and Ruth accompany her part of the way. Naomi then chose to return to Israel and encouraged her daughters-in-law to return … Eventually Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem. Lot and his two daughters are now living in a cave. 2 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the NET Bible. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung tightly to her. As the years have gone by, I may have mellowed in the terms I would use to portray Naomi, but my opinion of her has not really changed. When Naomi returns to Bethlehem, she finds most of the residents of the city still living there, and judging by what we are told about Boaz, they appear to have done fairly well. If I have counted correctly, the term is used 48 times in the Old Testament; 9 times in the Pentateuch, 2 times in Ruth, 2 times in the Psalms, 1 time in Isaiah, 2 times in Ezekiel, 1 time in Joel, and 31 times in Job. In her third attempt, she orders Ruth to follow her sister-in-law back home. But here is where the similarity ends. They entered the region of Moab and settled there. A few years later, king Saul will offer the sacrifices, even though he was instructed to wait for Samuel, all because Saul felt this was a crisis that justified setting aside obedience in faith to God’s Word.27. The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 1 (Luke 19:1-10), Bible Storying Series - Teaching The Story Of God Chronologically, Bible Teaching Ideas: The Ten Commandments And Ten Fingers, Ruth: A Story of Redemption -- A Study of the Book of Ruth. Naomi, after so many years, resolved to retrace her steps, and she with her two widowed daughters-in-law "went on the way to return to the land of Judah" (Ruth 1:7). Naomi is not at all like Ruth or Boaz; she is, in fact, a backdrop against which Ruth and Boaz are contrasted. And in good covenant form, she pronounced a curse upon herself if she did otherwise. Upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus, and access the NEW NIV Study Bible Notes, Fully Revised Edition. How wrong Naomi was. One manifestation of God’s mercy, expressed through His sovereignty, is His providential working at times when there appears to be no hope. Naomi and her sons lived in Moab for ten years and then both Mahlon and Kilion died as well, childless. Not only is Naomi unable to provide these women with husbands (and thus with children), God is also dealing harshly with her. If our text tells us anything about God, it is that His ways are not our ways. 1. Copyright © 2019 by Zondervan. “Pay attention to do everything I have told you, and do not even mention the names of other gods– do not let them be heard on your lips” (Exodus 23:13). We need to bear in mind that what is at stake here is the Messianic line, the line which will ultimately bring forth Messiah. His faithfulness to His people and to His covenant is at a time when His people are not faithful to Him and when they are living in disregard for His law. There is no doubt that this is a great honor and privilege for a woman. She persuaded her younger sister to help her get him drunk, and then for both of them to sleep with him to produce offspring for him. The best thing for her to do was to return to Bethlehem and live out the rest of her days, dying “empty” (i.e., childless). Was it at Naomi’s initiative that her sons took Moabite women for wives? The wonder is that God remained faithful to those who so easily abandoned Him. The subject was the Book of Ruth. In our text (as in Judges and everywhere else in Scripture), man looks bad, very bad, and God looks good, very good. Even professing Christians can fall victim to the tyranny of the urgent. A godly Israelite would not only trust in the one true God, Yahweh, they would also know that there are no other gods. It must have been on Naomi’s watch that these two sons married their Moabite wives – Orpah and Ruth. One day after Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem, Ruth went to the fields and gathered all the corn which was left behind by the workers for the poor and widows to collect. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 34:6-7, emphasis mine). 14 In her first attempt, Naomi issues a parting blessing, punctuated by a farewell kiss (verse 9). This she must do by faith. (v. 1) _____ What was God’s provision for widows? But he was not aware that she had sexual relations with him and then got up. 16 But as it is, they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. 1 When Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to commit sexual immorality with the daughters of Moab. 5 Then Naomi’s two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, also died. That strongly suggests that she was still a Moabite at heart, still an idolater at heart. That is precisely what Naomi did with Orpah and Ruth. (R), 15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law(S) is going back to her people and her gods. The New Covenant promises that God will write the law on the hearts of those He has chosen for salvation, whether Jew or Gentile. He is the ancestor of the Moabites of today. And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. Ruth Zuta indicates that Naomi was ashamed of her Gentile daughters-in-law and did not want them to return with her to Bethlehem; even when she allowed Ruth to come back with her, the midrash presents this as irksome for Naomi (Ruth Zuta 1:8, 12). In fact, my study for this sermon has caused me to think of Naomi in even less flattering terms. where did these children come from?’” (Isaiah 49:20-21). So a man from Bethlehem in Judah went to live as a resident foreigner in the region of Moab, along with his wife and two sons. When they entered Bethlehem, the whole village was excited about their arrival. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. Naomi tended to focus only on herself, on her lack of sons to give in marriage, and on her lack of a child to carry on the family line. I remember responding to Nate, “Neither do the rest of us.” Well, if this is true of us, it is certainly true of the Moabites. 17 Wherever you die, I will die – and there I will be buried. 17 See Ruth 4:17, 21-22. Of whose family was Boaz? Surely it fell short of what Ruth’s experience will be. Abraham put the seed at risk when he represented his wife Sarah as his sister, and she ended up (temporarily) in Pharaoh’s29 (and later Abimelech’s)30 harem. 19 So the two of them journeyed together until they arrived in Bethlehem. It has been supplied by the translators. How could Naomi point them in the wrong direction? The closing chapters of the Book of Judges contain some of the most gruesome accounts in all of the Bible – homosexual Benjamites want to rape a guest in their city; a woman is brutally gang raped by these same men; her husband seems more than willing to sacrifice her to save his life, and then he chops her dead body into twelve pieces which he delivers to every part of Israel. Ruth would not only do this until death separated them, she would do so in death. ii. He came alongside Eve as her friend, as someone who was doing her a favor. First 30-days on us! If her daughters-in-law could snag a good (Moabite) husband, bear some children, and have a bountiful harvest they were indeed blessed, at least as Naomi viewed it. In Esther, the people of God were supposed to return to the Promised Land, but they chose instead to dwell in the apparent peace and safety of Persia. For my intense suffering is too much for you to bear. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely,(Y) if even death separates you and me.”(Z) 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. 15 They show that the work of the law is written in their hearts, as their conscience bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or else defend them, 16 on the day when God will judge the secrets of human hearts, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus (Romans 2:12-16, emphasis mine). In the parable we are considering, Boaz represents the Lord Jesus Christ. Both were traveling with Naomi as she made her way toward Israel. Surely you would not remain unmarried all that time! When Naomi saw that Ruth had made up her mind to go with her, she stopped trying to get Ruth to return to her own parent’s home. Mahlon was her husband. Shouldn’t Ruth follow her lead? I can imagine how it alarmed and frightened Naomi when Elimelech died while they were sojourning in Moab. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law(P) goodbye,(Q) but Ruth clung to her. Having started off on a rather negative note, let me hasten to say that the Book of Ruth is a breath of fresh air for those of us who have just come from the Book of Judges. We read of the origin of the Moabites in Genesis 19,3 just after the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And all of this resulted in the near annihilation of one of the twelve tribes (Benjamin) and a conspiracy to acquire wives for the remaining Benjamites in a way that was morally unacceptable. She does not acknowledge sin on her part (and Elimelech’s), and she does not seek to repent. 15 In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. “Can this be Naomi?” they asked (verse 19). Who would want Naomi for a mother-in-law? The more Naomi moans on about how bad things are for her, and how hopeless it would be for Orpah or Ruth to stay with her, the more we see the mighty hand of God working all things for the good of His people, as well as for His glory. She urged her daughters-in-law to return to their mother’s home, with the expectation that the LORD would bless them with security in a marriage to a new12 Moabite husband. Naomi’s sons marry foreign women, Orpah and Ruth. She views God as harsh and uncaring, doling out affliction and trouble in a way that is completely unrelated to her attitudes and actions. (AE) 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. And so Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem, just as the barley harvest started. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the people of the town were excited to see them. 12 For all who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. The danger of practicing pragmatism above principle. 2 Then I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, so that you will exemplify divine blessing. Lot fled with his daughters and was living in a cave. 1Sa 3:17; 14:44; 20:13; 25:22; 2Sa 3:9, 35; 2Sa 19:13; 1Ki 2:23; 19:2; 20:10; 2Ki 6:31, NIV, Story of Jesus: Experience the Life of Jesus as One Seamless Story. This is the origin of the Moabites and the Ammonites. The same is true for Naomi. When Naomi returns, she tells the Bethlehemites, "Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara (מרה), for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me". No wonder Naomi finally ceased trying to convince her to turn back (verse 18). The term she used to refer to Him – Shaddai – was a term that emphasized God’s great power. At the beginning of which harvest did Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem? (4) While the author does not make a point of it, it seems reasonable to assume that the famine (as well as the deaths of Elimelech and his two sons) was a manifestation of divine discipline. One has to ponder the outcome of her decision. Such people are in misery, and honestly, they make those around them miserable as well. It had been at least ten years since Naomi and her family had left them. (3) One gets the impression that those who remained in Bethlehem fared reasonably well during the famine; certainly better than Naomi and her family did. There is really no evidence of faith (on Naomi’s part), either. She would be buried where Naomi was buried. They did not seem to live by it, so why would they consider it important to teach it to a Moabite? They were of the clan of Ephrath from Bethlehem in Judah.) Only death will be able to separate me from you!”. 12 May the LORD reward your efforts! And she was honored to be a part of the messianic line.34. They insisted on going on to Israel with Naomi. Ruth’s life story began in Moab, where, as a young Moabite woman, she married a man from Bethlehem. Obviously, Naomi had changed. The oldest daughter (who will become the mother of Moab) saw their situation as impossible. Naomi and her daughters-in-law heard there was food again in Bethlehem, and Naomi decided to go back home. (One was named Orpah and the other Ruth.) Naomi instructs us to beware of Calvinism run amuck. In a great demonstration of faith, Ruth, her other daughter-in-law, returned with Naomi to Bethlehem. At the very times when outward appearances look to us as though God is against us, God is at work behind the scenes for us. Instead of trusting God to preserve her husband’s line (indeed, the Messianic line), she at least passively (if not actively) approves of their marriage to non-Israelites. Who was a relative of Naomi, of the family of Elimelech? In an effort to escape the famine, a man named Elimelech took his family to Moab, where he intended for his family to sojourn until the famine ended.10 How could he have imagined how long his family would stay? The more Naomi protests her miserable state, the more we are being prepared for a great work of God. It was a bad start, and sadly things didn’t get any better over time. Many tears were shed, but in the end both women refused to leave Naomi and return to their mother’s home. Her decision what our life in Christ is about entered the region of Moab Ammon. 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