Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


The Book of Ruth

This series was taught by Dr. James Modlish

 Chapter One



The events of Ruth take place during the period of the judges which is 450 years according to (Acts 13:20). Since this period ends with the death of Samuel, the time of the judges must begin with Moses, specifically when he kills the Egyptian and buries him in the sand. (Ex. 2:11-15)

Ruth is placed between Judges and Samuel for a definite reason. Judges shows the decline of the Jewish nation under the law; Samuel shows the setting up of the Jewish kingdom, yet future. Sandwiched between is a Gentile bride (church) married to a Jew (Christ) during this present age.

Furthermore, Ruth is the eighth book in the Bible, and eight is the number of new beginning which it was for Ruth, for us and for the dispensations.

Ruth and Esther are the only books in the Bible named after women: Ruth was a Gentile who married a Jew; Esther was a Jew who married a Gentile. While Esther begins with a feast and ends with a funeral, Ruth begins with a funeral and ends with a feast!

I. A Wrong Decision - (Vs. 1-5)

Why a famine should come to Bethlehem ("house of Bread"), we do not know, but -this time period was frequently characterized as "every man did that which was right in his own eyes." This is the fourth famine mentioned in the Word of God. Interestingly, there are 13 (the number of curse and rebellion) famines in the Bible.

Listed chronologically, they are:

[1]. Genesis 12:10 - a famine in Palestine that caused Abraham to go to Egypt.

[2]. Genesis 26:1 - a famine in Palestine that caused Isaac to go to Philistia.

[3]. Genesis 41:54-57 - a famine in Palestine that caused Jacob's sons to go to Egypt.

[4]. Ruth 1:1 - a famine that caused Naomi to go to Moab.

[5]. If Samuel 21:1 - a famine in David's day caused by Saul's bloody house.

[6]. 1 Kings 17:1 - a famine in Elijah's day caused by the sins of Ahab.

[7]. 2 Kings 4:38 - first of three famines in Elisha's day resulting in him working a miracle of purifying some poisonous stew.

[8]. 2 Kings 6:25 - second famine resulting in the salvation of a city through four lepers.

[9]. 2 Kings 8:1-6 - third famine resulting in a woman, a servant, and a king knowing that there was still a prophet of God in Israel.

[10]. Jeremiah 14 - a famine in Jerusalem caused by Nebuchadnezzar's siege.

[11]. Nehemiah 5:3-13 - a famine resulting in a sermon by Nehemiah and an ensuing revival for, the people.

[12]. Acts 11:28 - a famine resulting in help being sent by outside Christians to the believers in Judea.

[13]. Rev. 6:5-8 - a famine in the Tribulation which will contribute to the deaths of millions.

Moab is a place God has forbidden them to go (Deut. 23:6) because when Israel left the wilderness to go into Canaan, Moab refused them bread and water. (Deut. 23:4) It was Balak, king of Moab, who hired Balaam to try and curse Israel. Balaam did succeed in getting the people to fornicate with the Moabites and to take up the idolatrous worship of Baal. Thus, the Moabites were to be separate from Israel forever. See (Num. 21-23). Twice in the Bible God says, "Moab is my washpot. " (Psa. 60:8;108:9)

They planned to "sojourn" briefly, but continued about 10 years until the father and two sons died. The names of the two sons may reflect the sorrow of their sojourn: Mahlon means "sickly" and Chilion means "pining."

A wrong decision introduced a most difficult of circumstances.

II. A Wrong Direction - (Vs. 6-18)

Naomi hears of good news from "back home" and decides it's time to return. Remember they left in the first place because of famine, and so it is natural to assume her desire to return is based on carnal motives. The Lord often uses carnal things to draw people to Him. "For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust." The Prodigal Son (Lk. 15) returns home because he is hungry.

It appears that Naomi begins the return trip with the two daughters-in-law but soon changes her mind and encourages them to head the "wrong direction" back to Moab and Molech, the pagan god. Always beware of the advise of a carnal Christian.

The eventual outcome is predictable when we discover the meaning of the names of these ladies. Orpah means "double-minded"; see (Jas. 1:8). Ruth means "'something worth seeing" or "friend."

Orpah returns to the garbage can and drops from the pages of Scripture and history. Ruth begs Naomi to allow her to return with her. This type of spirit no doubt drew the attention of God. Jesus Himself could not refuse the pleas of a Canaanite woman when she refused to give up her desire to see her daughter heated. (Matt. 15:21-28) Even though she, like Ruth, did not warrant God's blessing or attention, they received it!

III. A Wrong Disposition - (Vs. 19-22)

Ten years can make a big difference in appearance and attitude. Naomi hears the whispers and is aware of the gossip. "is this Naomi?" She makes an announcement: "Call me not Naomi, call me Mara." The name Naomi means "pleasant. " The name Mara means "bitter."

She is blaming God for all her troubles. She did the same thing in (vs. 13). She made the mistake of judging God's hand apart from His heart.

Naomi preaches a good three-point sermon called the testimony of a backslider

A. "I went out full'' - This is ironic because the reason they left was because there was a famine in the land. It's better to suffer famine in Bethlehem than to have the best bread in Moab.

B. "The Lord hath brought me home again empty." - When Naomi left she was pleasant. When she returns her disposition has completely changed.

C. "The Almighty hath afflicted me." - God disciplines us because He loves us. (Heb. 12:6) He told Elimelech and Naomi not to seek the prosperity of Moab, but they didn't listen, and now she is paying the price.

In spite of Naomi's bitterness we see the hand of God working behind the scenes to bring about His will and to work for the good of Naomi. (Rom. 8:28) They return in time for the harvest. While it may seem to be a coincidence, those who believe the Bible know better.

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