Ruth: A Story of RedemptionA Study of the Book of RuthLesson 1Ruth 1Return to BethlehemJanuary 10, 2010
Introduction to Ruth, Lesson 1 • “What a witch!” • What a breath of fresh air (after Gibeah)! • What an encouragement in dark days! • The setting: the period of the judges (1:1). • Israel and the Moabites • Their origin (Genesis 19:30-38) • Their opposition to Israel (Numbers 22-24) • Their seduction of Israelites (Numbers 25:1-9) • Forbidden from the assembly (Deuteronomy 23:3-6) • Eglon and Moab (Judges 3:15-30)
The Story Re-told (1:1-22) • Sojourn in Moab (1:1-5) • The famine and a family’s flight • Elimelech’s death • Marriage to Moabites • Death of two sons • Naomi’s “hopeless” plight • Return to Bethlehem (1:6-7) • Naomi’s appeal – go home (1:8-15) • First effort (1:8-10) – both women stay • Second effort (1:11-14) – Orpah leaves • Final effort and Ruth’s response (1:15-17) • Naomi’s acceptance (1:18) • The response in Bethlehem (1:19-22)
Observations • There is no clear link to a particular time or events in Judges. • There is no statement that any others fled Israel for Moab. • Those who stayed in Bethlehem seemed to fare well. • Naomi’s sufferings (famine, death, no children) seem to be divine discipline. • Moab is not the place of blessing. • Ruth’s barrenness was divinely caused, & divinely reversed (4:13). • Much emphasis on marriage and family. • Naomi’s chances between “slim” and “none.”
Contrasts • Ruth and Orpah • Both set out for Bethlehem with Naomi. • Both initially refused to heed Naomi’s advice and leave her. • Orpah chose the path which seemed in her best interest (marriage and children). • Ruth chose the path which seemed against her best interest, in favor of serving Naomi. • Ruth and Naomi • Verse 9 – God bless you with security through a new (Moabite) husband. Orpah & Naomi stay.
There is no way you will be blessed by staying with me, for I cannot produce a husband for you. Since I am cursed, how can you be blessed (vss. 11-13)? Orpah leaves, Ruth remains. • You should do as Orpah did: Return to your people and your gods (vs. 15). • I will remain with you. • I will become a part of your people. • I will trust your God. • I am with you till you die. • And when I die, I’ll die in Israel, so help me God.
Conclusion • It was the worst of times, the best of times. • Hope in earthly things (marriage, family, bread). • Doing what is right in your own eyes (appearances) vs. faith. • The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3). • Sovereignty gone south – blaming God for our sin and resulting suffering. • God is bringing about our salvation when appearances are all to the contrary. • Naomi is more a Moabite than Ruth, and Ruth is more an Israelite than Naomi (compare Genesis 19:30-38).
Copyright © 2010 by Robert L. Deffinbaugh. This is the edited PowerPoint presentation of Lesson 1 in the series, Ruth: A Story of Redemption, prepared by Robert L. Deffinbaugh for January 10, 2010. Anyone is at liberty to use this lesson for educational purposes only, with or without credit.