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. Ruth 1:1
There is a beautiful story of redemption tucked into the Bible’s account of the dark period of Judges…a time when God’s people were stuck in a cycle of rebellion, remorse, peace, repeat. They would have incredible victories when they trusted God, followed by corruption and devastating defeat when they looked to the idols and customs of their neighbors.
The story of Ruth opens with a move during a time of devastation and famine. An Israelite named Elimelek and his wife, Naomi, with their two sons, move to Moab. While there appears to be peace between the nations in this brief period, the Moabites and Israelites were notorious enemies.
Elimelek and Naomi made the Moabite land home for over ten years. Though foreign, it probably became comfortable in some ways. Their sons even married Moabite women. But suffering followed them to their new home. Naomi’s husband and two sons die, leaving her in a foreign land steeped in deep sorrow and loss. She has nothing. No heirs to carry on the family name, no one to take care of her, no family to comfort her. Loss. Devastation. Isolation.
We can sometimes read books like Judges in the Bible and lose sight of the fact that there are real people living ordinary lives in the midst of the roller-coaster chaos. The story of Ruth gives us a peek into the lives of one family struggling through this period. We’ll spend a few days looking at this family and the redemption story that unfolds through their lives.
Question: Have you ever felt like you were in a period of famine, devastation, or hopelessness in a foreign land? If so, let the story of Ruth over the next few days be a source of hope.