“and both Mahlon & Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.” Ruth 1:3
So, I finished reading the Word of the Day and asked the LORD, “LORD, what’s the meaning of this story?” and He said one word. But that one word, in the context of the story of Ruth means everything! He said, “Hopeless”.
While the title of the book is “Ruth”, much of the story as well as the moral, centers around Naomi. Naomi starts out with her little family in Bethlehem during a famine, and in order to move to a better situation they leave Bethlehem and travel to Moab where the king was so fat that when a sword was stuck into his belly it went in past the hilt, his fat covered it up and no one knew it was even there for days!!! So, yeah, Moab was quite a bit better off financially than Bethlehem was. Which is sad because Bethlehem means “house of bread”! Anyway, while in Moab Naomi’s husband dies, her sons marry Moabite women, and then her sons die, leaving behind these three women to fend for themselves. At this point Naomi has gone from bad to worse to worst! I imagine it would be safe to say that she is “hopeless”. She’s an old widow woman with no prospects of being able to marry anyone since her childbearing days are most likely finished. She has no income, no family, no hope. So, Naomi decides that she should go back to Bethlehem and suggests that her daughters-in-law stay in Moab with their families, but Ruth refuses and travels back to Bethlehem with Naomi.
When they get to Bethlehem they caused quite the stir around town, everyone was talking about Naomi’s return and the Moabitess that she brought with her. But Naomi was firm with her friends saying, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty.” (Ruth 1:20-21) Sometimes, the thing the looks like the smartest choice, really isn’t a good choice at all. Just imagine how different this story had been if they had only trusted God to provide bread for their house in Bethlehem instead of going to Moab! But this isn’t the end of Naomi’s story about hope, it’s still only chapter one!
In chapter two Ruth just happens to meet Boaz, the handsome, rich landowner that just happens to be one of the few men who could get these girls out of this mess! When she gets home and tells Naomi about her day Naomi can hardly contain her glee. God has shown them favor!
Huh. Imagine that! The moment they get back into town, perhaps where they should have stayed to begin with, God’s favor shines on them like a beacon and for the first time in Naomi’s story things look like they *could* be turning around in her favor.
And wouldn’t you know it, when given the opportunity to help out Ruth and Naomi, Boaz jumps at the chance! In fact, he’s actually blown away by the fact that Ruth has asked him rather than someone younger. That very day he settles the matter with the other man who is in line to redeem them first and by nightfall everything is settled and Ruth and Naomi are set for the rest of their lives! Ruth and Boaz have a baby boy that they name Obed. Who ends up being King David’s grandfather! Now how’s that for a happy ending to a great story?
Just when it seems like there’s no hope left, they run into their Redeemer.
Psalm 147:11 says that the LORD’s “delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.” You see, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and the conviction of things that we can’t see.” (Hebrews 11:1) While we can’t always SEE God’s love for us, faith is being sure that He does because “it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,” (Hebrews 6:18-19) And in Isaiah God tells us, “I have chosen you and not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. … For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you’. … I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. … When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them, I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys, I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water, … that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.” 41:9-10, 13, 14b, 17-18 & 20
No matter what your situation is today my friend, you are FAR from hopeless!!!