The Eye of the Storm

The true story line of the nation of Israel actually flows right from Judges into the book of 1 Samuel. Had we followed that continuous story line we may have found ourselves overwhelmed by the maelstrom of one blast of sinfulness to the next. If the story of the Israelites in the book of Judges and on into Samuel is a wicked storm of idolatry, disobedience, and destruction, then the story of Ruth is the “eye of the storm” that reminds us of God’s faithfulness and blessing to the faithful.

Famine strikes and the house of bread has no bread (a picture of Judges, perhaps?)

Elimilech, Naomi and the boys become refugees in a foreign country where the relationship between these countries is tense.

The boys marry foreign wives. This is a no-no.

All the men die. This leaves Naomi destitute and the younger women free to remarry.

Naomi has lost everything and decides to return to her home. She tries to convince Orpah and Ruth to return to their homes and hit “reboot.”

Orpah returns to her family. Logical choice.

Ruth 1:16-17 is often read at wedding ceremonies. It is interesting that the original context is a covenant spoken from a foreign daughter-in-law to a mother-in-law. Ruth would rather leave everything she knows to remain faithful to the family and God of Naomi.

This kind of faithfulness is no where to be found in Israel in the time of the Judges.

Ruth means friendship or friend. To be unfriendly or without friends is to be ruthless.

The tribes of Israel were ruthless.

This foreign woman was Ruth.

Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem, where there was now bread again. The rest of the story is a wonderful picture of the Kinsmen-Redeemer.

Ruth had children with Boaz. From them came King David and Jesus. Both from the house of bread. Both a child of the foreign woman.

Jesus took after his great great grandmother. He made a commitment to humanity. The incarnation of God–the Word became flesh–and the willingness to go to the cross, demonstrates God’s covenant faithfulness to us.

This is the Good News.


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