Ruth – Finding JOY in Tough Times #1: Decision Making & Turnaround

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Ruth – Finding JOY in Tough Times #1: Decision Making & Turnaround

Ruth – Finding JOY in Tough Times #1: Decision Making

Decision Making & Turnaround

Do you regret a decision you made? God can help you find a turnaround. The Book of Ruth is about turnarounds and finding new joy and purpose in difficult circumstances. Join the podcast and uncover how a book written over 3000 years ago can speak to us today.

Then and Now

Welcome to Ruth-Finding Joy in Tough Times and Trusting in God’s Goodness Episode #1. The Book of Ruth reveals God’s goodness. It’s about God’s providence, Godly relationships, and most importantly, how God uses faithful women in Salvation history, especially Ruth, a refugee and convert who ended up in the lineage of Jesus Christ. God’s Word is always alive and fresh and will speak to our hearts by the Holy Spirit and in this case, through the Book of Ruth. Hebrews 4: 12 assures us: “[T]he word of God is always living and active.”

 

My Journey

My journey with Ruth started when Pope Benedict XV1, in the summer of August 2011, encouraged the faithful to read the Book of Ruth. So I did and invited others to join me. Then, in 2022, Pope Francis called the faithful to study Ruth.[1] Others joined me again. We had fresh insights both times, and God spoke to our hearts in amazing ways, filling us with joy.  So, even if you have read Ruth before, let’s read it again with a new heart and open mind to hear what the Holy Spirit may teach us. Today, we cover the following points.

Background for the Book of Ruth

  • Ruth is one of five Old Testament books (with Esther, Song of Songs, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes) that make up the Megillah; each is read in the synagogue during a specific Jewish festival.
  • Ruth is about 1/4th of the way into the pages of your Bible, between Judges and 1 Samuel.
  • Ruth is among the historical books in the Old Testament; with the time period, “In the days that the judges ruled (v. 1),” which is about 1380 BC to 1050 BC.
  • It was a dismal time for Israel; the people would not listen to the judges God sent, turned away from God, and fell into idolatry and immorality (Judges 2: 16-17).

 Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon & Chilion Move to Moab (Ruth 1: 1-2)

  • The family moved from Bethlehem to Moab because of famine, but problems arose from that decision.
  • Elimelech’s name in Hebrew means My God is King, but Elimelech did not look to God, just wanting out of the famine.
  • The family were Ephrathites. Ephratha is the former name of Bethlehem in Scripture and is about five miles south of Jerusalem.
  • God cautioned the Israelites about associating with their enemies, especially the Moabites because they hated Israel and led them to worship their idols.
  • God always gives his people choices (Deuteronomy 30: 19).

Ten Years Later & Great Loss (Ruth 1: 3-6).

  • Elimelech died, the boys married Moabite women, and after ten years, both sons died.
  • Naomi suffered emotionally, plus knowing legally, the family name and inheritance would be gone.
  • She was left ONLY with two daughters-in-law in a foreign country,. BUT GOD!!
  • Psalm 146: 9: “The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow.”

The Turnaround (Ruth 1: 6).

  • Grief-stricken, Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD came to help his people with food in Bethlehem.
  • Naomi rose and, with the daughters-in-law, started the return to her people, her faith community, and her God.

Personal Reflection & Application

  • What impacts you most from these first six verses of Ruth?
    • Arise. Have you made a choice you regret? God will lead you forward. Arise. Don’t look back or stay in despair.
    • Remember. Do you feel like God has forsaken you? Are you bereaved or lonely? Naomi remembered the Lord. Do you remember God’s goodness? Start today thanking God for how he has blessed and helped you, even in the smallest matters.
    • Listen for him to speak to you, especially in the Scriptures.
  • God is with you always. God has a plan that can change devastation to joy.

Prayer Response

  • Read, memorize, and pray these verses:
    • John 6:37. Jesus said, “I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” (Good News)
    • Hebrews 13: 5. The Lord God says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (NRSVCE)
    • Jeremiah 29: 11.“I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.” (Good News)

Links

[1] Pope Francis:

 

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