Looking at the book of Ruth
Looking at Ruth
In the days of the Book of Ruth, a Jewish man named Elimelech who lived in Bethlehem had been forced out of his home by "famine" to sojourn in Moab. His search into Moab for natural bread had led him into a place for which he was spiritually and mentally unprepared.
To be in an unprepared place means to be without defense. Some times we bargain for what appears to be better but a bargain without God is to shake hands with defeat. A man who ignores God has defeat to be his number one customer.
The sequence of events that occurred after he went to Moab leads us to imply that Elimelech was out of the will of God, for God always make preparation for those who are called to be in the places to which he has called them.
Today, the search is not for natural but for the spiritual bread of life.
When there is famine in the land the first inclination is to do what you think in your own eyes to be right and move to another place were bread seems to be readily available (Note Micah in Judges 17:5, 6).
That means just like Elimelech, man is in the habit of choosing his own way instead of humbling himself and inquire of the Lord to get his approval. But after we do what seemeth right in our own eyes and it does not work according to plan, we blame God who is completely innocent.
We know that we blame God because we become angry and bitter as Naomi had done, changing her name to Mara, hebrew word for word bitter. Naomi hadn't become bitter at the Moabites andshe was not angry at the devil, rather she was angry at God for failing to save her from affliction that her husband and herself had brought upon themselves.
We should ask ourselves,
· What part did I play in the cause of the famine?
· Could I have prevented the famine; in my own life, family, church, etc.
· Did I ask God’s permission to move from my present location because my blessing is tied to my location?
· Allows you to witness a present move of God
· Allows you to be a participant
· No one has to tell you about it because you are there
· Allows you to get that present anointing from that present visitation
· Faith is a location that allows you to witness the future move of God.
Another name for the location of Bethlehem was Ephrath which means “fruitfulness” and also the word is used of an Israelitish woman.
Fruitfulness also gives reference to the Holy Spirit , the third person of the trinity who is sent from God with the order to make the earth a fruitful "Eden".
We see Elimelech family was called, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-Judah denoting that as Abraham had been blessed, so should have Elimelech's household. Let us understand that the Holy Spirit is on earth to carry on what Abraham's faith guaranteed.
Other people from the location of Ephrath;
· Elkanah/ Hannah giving birth to Samuel, (1Sam.1:1)
· Mary gave birth to Jesus at Bethlehem/Ephrath
· Benjamin was born at Ephrath Gen.35:19 (Paul a Benjamite wrote 2/3 of N.T. He released God’s people from bondage which they had borne by another Benjamite in the O.T , king Saul
· Elimelech(my God is king) / Naomi (pleasant) were from Ephrath/
(Listen, if you are catching what is being said then lay your hands on your stomach, and say, "From this location God has raised up a fountain that will have world wide effect; God is making me effectual, glory to God!).
So God allowed his covenant “wife” (symbol of Elimelech & family) to go into the land of Moab (from father), a people who hated and despised the Jews, to become covenant partners with them by marriage. This pointed to a type of Gentile people being adopted into Christianity.
We see that the relationship was not allowed to continue because it was;
· a relationship that began in the flesh instead of the spirit. It had been man's choice and not God, e.g. Saul vs. David
· God allowed the relationship to die so a new one could begin, he had another plan, one that would carry the imprint of the Son of God (symbolic of the crucifixion that created in us new spiritual nation).
Perfect vs. Permissive will
I don’t believe it was the perfect will of God that they go to Moab and for that reason the family of Elimelech paid a high price for their rebellion. But God is ever so merciful and will always allowed a remnant of his family to remain to prosper a godly seed.
We see how Abraham forbade his servant to allow his son Isaac to marry outside of his people for God had made covenant with Abraham that in his seed all nations of the world would be blessed; not in Hitler, Stalin, but in his Seed.
Mahlon the eldest son marry Ruth while Chilion was married to Orpah.
A Jew was forbidden by covenant law that God made with Abraham to marry one who was of the uncircumcised. In fact, God promised to cut off from His people anyone who rebelled against His covenant.
- Hunger for natural bread doesn’t preclude God’s covenant
In fact, release from certain covenants are only done by death so that as long as the person remains alive he his expected to abide by the laws of the covenant.
That’s why God doesn’t want his people in unnecessary covenants or "idle agreements" because failure to keep them brings a curse which affects the person, the family, the church and the nation.
In a covenant, it is the words of the covenant that becomes your judge and so God doesn’t want his people to be “gibeonized” (Joshua 6).
· Ruth made a covenant with God by way of Naomi and
· God regarded the words of Ruthand
· God blessed her as if she were a daughter of Abraham and an Israelite in good standing.
God will turn every situation around for the good to them that love him. So even though this looked bad, God would rearrange things for the remainder of the family.
And so when Ruth verbally expressed her love and her willingness to follow the Lord God of Israel instead of being like Orpah, who drew back, the Lord saw her faithfulness and a faithful man (Adam) will abound with many blessings
God’s clarion call to the Gentiles
We now see this as the destiny of the Gentiles, and a prophetic insight that God was calling the Gentiles into the kingdom that would be under one king, the Son of David.
The family of Elimelech went to Moab and met with sorrowful experiences.
Elimelech and his sons pass away and the two daughters-in-law were left.
The Bible does not give an account of the frustration that Elimelech and his son’s experience while they lived in Moab that brought them to an early death. The heart condemnation they must have faced and the compromises that were required of them.
We know that they became sickly and within a few years they passed on leaving the women on their own, to which Naomi changed her name to mara, meaning bitter.
After about ten years word came to Naomi who had now become a widow that the Lord had visited his people in Bethlehem and so Naomi decided to return home.
- God will always make a way for you to return home
Ruth told her daughters to return to their people since her sons were dead and she had no other son to fill their room. This implies that Ruth was still a worshipper of the Lord God even though her husband had willingly disobeyed God for what he thought to have been right at the time. He would have cast any notions of leaving his country, if he could have seen the dismal affectations of the life that awaited him.
Naomi was now left to make things right! But she could not be caught up in pity so she miss a dynamic principle, that is, the daughters were now her blessing; they were her “sons” with wombs.
We must remember that Eve was “Adam” with a womb. From Strong’s Dictionary, the word “Adam” means “mankind”.
Because of the story of Ruth we see the principle of the kinsman redeemer which is so important, because it says that even though the first husband called “Adam” suffered death because of sin, God has prepared a 2nd “Adam” called the kinsman redeemer.
Too often we abort our blessings because of lack of knowledge.
Here was Naomi, because of deception and the battle she waged in her mind, was willing to say, “Girls, I give up, I cannot take no more, go home!
Covered her Mother’s weakness
But thanks be to God for the “Ruth’s” who sees the disparity of the Naomi that they are not in their right mind and will say, “No mother, I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
She was willing to cover her mother and with what grace she metes out, God returned it double!
As Ruth covered her mother, God was preparing a Boaz to cover her.
When God made man he called him Adam. He first made Adam without the womb and later Adam with the womb. He put them together and called them “one flesh”.
The daughters Ruth and Orpah were her “two sons”, yet alive. God will take away the first only to establish the second.
God had chosen to work another way because either Mahlon or Chilion had the spiritual grace to bring forth a “David”.
God did not miss a beat
One aspect of the family’s travel is that regardless of the sorrowful moments, in God’s book of records, God did not miss beat because of the family’s trials. But the Lord had been looking at generational blessings and the promulgation of His seed which he had promised Abraham.
Time of Transition
When word came that the Lord had visited Bethlehem again, it became a time of transition from natural to spiritual for Naomi and Ruth. But Naomi was still seeing through the eyes of remorse but Ruth was expectant for her mother-in law.
God will provide a friend, daughter, son that when your faith is overdrawn, they will stand for you as a point of contact.
It was now time for Naomi to return from whence she had come, from Bethlehem called the house of bread.
It was her time of revival! God knows just how much you can take, and if you trust him, he will be there for your restoration.
Naomi heard that God had visited his people and she was determined to return and dwell in the presence of the Lord. She had sojourned in Moab but now it was time to dwell once again in the presence of the Lord.
There is a difference, for one is a temporary alteration of your destiny while the other is to reside in the pursuance with power and authority to overcome.
Did not return empty
It may have appeared that she returned empty, but not so, for she had a “vessel” called “Ruth”, which was filled with hope, faithand love, in which God could pour out his seed, so that a godly generation may come to pass.
Orpah on the other hand on the way to Bethlehem showed an attitude of wanting to return to her people.
She had been married physically but in her heart she was never one flesh. Naomi was discerning and Orpah was quick to accept.
Orpah looked at the logistics:
· husband was gone,
· Naomi was old and
· no money in the pot
Therefore she saw no need to stick around besides she had been promised a Television début.
She was intimidated by the prospect of going to Bethlehem(Ephrath) merely on faith.
It is amazing how many times God holds up our blessing and say unto us, “Come get it” but we allow logistics to prevent us.
We believe logistics over God. Logistics speaks to us and say, “It cannot work because it doesn’t add up!
God had given the implied offer to both daughters but only Ruth would receive it because faith worketh by love.
Orpah was working by lust but Ruth was working by love.
The Lord is very picky about who he chooses to do his work. Just as you wouldn’t use a plumber to do an electricians job nor a thief to guard a castle but would choose the right tradesman so does the God of the entire universe, whose arm is neither short nor dull of hearing, also makes the right choices (Isa.59:1, 16).
Neither can you be dipping and sliding and still expect the holy God to use an unholy vessel. Not so!
And for this reason, the world seems to share the opinion that God is impoverished, broke and strapped for persons to do his will because of sin in the camps of the believers.
If you serve a God that has a need then that’s a god that’s open to compromises, that’s a god from whom you can withhold your sacrifices until a certain demand is fully satisfied. And besides, if you serve a God who has needs, then who will meet those same needs, when they happen to come to your house?
But God doesn’t need anything from any man. In fact, the very stones that are threaded upon will without dismay cry out and worship the Lord.
The Bible says that many are called but few are chosen. He said that I have searched for a man but found none so he had to make himself in the form of a man from the word and called his name Jesus.
God has sent this man, Jesus, to be the Lamb for saving the world and so made of him a sacrifice, a blood offering for our sins.