Monday, June 16, 2008

Ruth: how you look at it

Last week, I asked you to re-read Ruth 1:1-5. What problems did you see described in Ruth 1:1-5?

Here are a few:

  • A famine
  • A family fleeing their home
  • Unhealthy children
  • Sons marrying foreign women
  • Death of the husband
  • Death of the sons
  • Women left alone

Are you depressed yet?

In the time of the judges, a woman left alone was left destitute. She could not legally inherit her family’s holdings.

This was Naomi’s plight. She was a refugee, in a sense, in the land of Moab with two daughters-in-law committed to her. On top of that, she heard news that God was now blessing Bethlehem with food.

She decided to go home.

It’s clear in this first chapter that Naomi followed God. She heard of God’s work in Bethlehem and she also desired to bless her daughters-in-law in sending them back to their mothers’ homes.

“May the LORD reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. May the LORD bless you with the security of another marriage," she told them.

But her blessing bothers me, for she had lived in the land where Chemosh, god of the Moabites was worshipped. In sending her daughters-in-law back to their homes, she was sending them back to their former gods as well.

In fact, when Ruth refuses to go back to her home, Naomi chides her: your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same." (Ruth 1:15)

I think one word would describe Naomi in the depressing final days of Moab: alone. She felt abandoned, isolated and without help. Obviously, she saw no aid in her daughters-in-law but sent them home.

Next: placing the blame.


Maxine said...

You know, Katy, that always bothered me too. I was always troubled by the fact that Naomi told her daughters-in-law to go back to their gods. I've heard several sermons on Ruth and read books, etc. but never heard much about that. Poor Naomi had real struggles. I'm thankful God didn't leave her alone,

Kathy at Sumballo said...

Maxine, we'll be looking at more of these questions as we go through the book. The book of Ruth is largely about God's generosity to Naomi, who definitely struggled.