Ruth, Finding Joy in Tough Times Part #2: Weeping Forward – I Will Go Where You Go

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Ruth and Naomi Weep Forward

Ruth and Naomi Weep Forward

Are you weeping forward or backward? Sometimes, we must weep, but we must also go forward, trusting that God is leading us on. Join the podcast today, where we focus on Naomi’s blessing and Ruth’s words, “I will go where you go, and your God will be my God,” as they weep forward.

From Moab to Bethlehem

Last week, we met the family – Elimelech, Naomi, sons Mahlon and Chilion who made the decision to leave Bethlehem to escape a famine. They left their faith community and their family and even overlooked God’s warning about living among those who worshiped idols. Soon, Elimelech died. The sons married Moabite women, and within ten years, they also died. So Naomi was left with the two daughters-in-law in Moab. Today, we cover the following points.

Who are Moabites?

  • So, who are the Moabites?
  • All Moabites were descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew.
  • In Genesis 18, Abraham asks God to refrain from destroying Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • God heard Abraham’s prayer and brought out Lot and his family before any destruction.
  • Lot’s daughters became convinced they would never marry and have children.
  • So, after getting Lot drunk, they seduced their father, and the relationship produced a son Moab and another son named Ammi.

God Remembers the Prayers

  • Moab became the father of the Moabite nation and Ammi the father of the Ammonite nation; both nations soon worshiped other gods that even required child sacrifice.
  • God remembered the prayers and, in His providence, brought one of Lot’s descendants—Ruth—into the ancestral line of David, the line of Christ.

The Journey Home to Bethlehem (Ruth 1: 6-11)

  • Somewhere en route, Naomi’s thoughts turned to what problems the daughter-in-laws would face in Bethlehem. The levirate law would provide them NO security or future..
  • This law assured a widow that a brother or relative of her dead husband would marry her and raise up children in her husband’s name and for his estate.
  • Naomi realized it was too late for her to marry again and have more sons. She begged them to return.

The Blessing (Ruth 1: 8-9)

  • Naomi blessed the women with the words in v 8-9,  the first of seven blessings in Ruth, where blessing becomes a strong theme.
  • A blessing can be a simple prayer asking God to share his loving kindness, guidance, and favor on another.
  • Naomi asked the Lord to “deal kindly with them.” Kindly in the original Hebrew is “hesed.
  • Hesed involves kindness, covenant-type love, faithfulness, and mercy – a deep commitment, devotion, and care. God himself, throughout Scripture, is the model for hesed.
  • God’s loving-kindness was sent to us through his Only Son, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins.

 I Will Go Where You Go (Ruth 1: 17-18).

  • Orpah returned to Moab, but Ruth clung to Naomi
  • Ruth showed hesed “Don’t ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried. May the Lord’s worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death separate me from you” (v. 16-17, Good News translation).
  • Ruth used Yahweh, the covenant-keeping God of Israel in Hebrew, which means “I am who I am,”
  • Her profession of faith put her story in the Bible and give her a place in salvation history forever.
  • Together, they wept and walked forward to Bethlehem.

Personal Reflection & Application

What impacts you most from these first six verses of Ruth?

  • Weep & Walk Forward. Sometimes, we must weep, even cry our eyes out over loss and disappointment.  Share your tears with trusted friends and family and keep going forward. Keep looking for God to open doors. Psalm 56: 8-9 is a comfort: “O God, You have kept count of my tossings [wonderings]; [you] put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record? … This I know, that God is for me.“God sees and remembers all your tears and the sufferings you. Rely on Isaiah 41: 10.
  • Speak Blessings. The Hebrew word for deep devotion and compassion is hesed, Even in great trial and pain, we can pray a blessing of God of God’s loving kindness for others. Naomi blessed her daughters-in-law simply by asking God to show his kindness, guiding love, and favor to them. For example, you can bless with others Numbers 6: 24-26 and bless the Lord with Psalm 104.

Links

[1] Pope Francis:

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
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: