Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons
1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek,his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion.They were Ephrathitesfrom Bethlehem,Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilionalso died,and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem
6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 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.
8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find restin the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up?Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitterfor me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
14 At this they weptaloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-lawgoodbye,but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-lawis going back to her people and her gods.Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem.When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirredbecause of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me;the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite,her daughter-in-law,arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvestwas beginning.
Today we start our study of the short book of Ruth, a love story of God’s providence set during the rule of judges, a time of great upheaval and spiritual darkness in Israel. The story does not deal with the hostility between the Moabites and Israel, but rather focuses on God’s intervention in history including the fact that Ruth, a Moabite woman, was an ancestor of King David. In this chapter we read how Ruth leaves her native country, Moab, and travels to Israel with her mother-in-law, Naomi, leaving behind her own culture, including her pagan gods and worship practices. Her absolute commitment to the worship of the God of Israel is found in verse 16. At a time of great loss and uncertainty, God was at work in Naomi and Ruth’s circumstances to bring about His perfect will for His people, Israel, and for all of us.
It can be difficult to see God’s providence in the dark times of life. Can you look back at a difficult time in your own life and see God’s hand leading you? Take time to thank God that His ways/thoughts are different from ours and that He never leaves us to struggle through on our own.
- Pray for Pastor Lyle, his family and his ministry.
- Pray for Eric Peters, Facilities Administrator; Custodians, Adit Gamble, Stan Goodnough and Anne King; Maintenance, Joe Richards.
- Pray for our Church Board members; Hal Reirson, Marv Schneider, Jesse Boulianne, Jeff Baron, JD Kliewer, Sue Peters, Bee Stiansen, Darryl Sparling and Dylan Taylor.
- Pray for our office staff: Robin Hellewell, Tricia Unsworth, Naomi Voss and Donna Collins.
- Pray for Sheldon Tibbo in his work with Power to Change.