Welcome to the first week of our Ruth Bible study! I am so glad you are joining us and look forward to spending the next four weeks with you as we read through the whole book of Ruth!
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“No matter how difficult our circumstances may be, the safest and best place is in the will of God.”- Warren Wiersbe
We’ve all been there – wanting God’s blessings but not His discipline.
When life gets hard and relief doesn’t seem to come, we begin to look around. Is the “grass greener” over there? Foreign lands and new opportunities tempt us when we are looking to escape the “famine” in our lives.
The book of Ruth takes place during the time of the Judges, a time when Israel had no king and everyone did what was right in his or her own eyes (Judges 21:25).
As the book of Ruth begins, Israel is at one of its lowest points in history because the Israelites were living in unbelief, disobedience, and simply for themselves. Because of their choices, they were not enjoying the benefits of God’s blessings.
Knowing this information is important as we begin reading the book of Ruth. It is in this setting that we see Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, make the choice to move his family from Bethlehem to Moab.
Not knowing the history behind these two countries, the move wouldn’t seem like that big of a deal, except…
The Moabites were decedents from Lot’s incestuous union with his first daughter (Genesis 19:30-38) and were enemies of Israel. During Israel’s 40 years in the desert, Moab had caused Israel great harm:
“No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, even down to the tenth generation. For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam, son of Beor from Pethor in Aram Naharaim to pronounce a curse on you. However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the fuse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live.- Deuteronomy 23: 3-6
Knowing a little of the history between the two nations makes the move seem more significant. Elimelech was literally moving his family into enemy territory.
He was not placing his faith in God and God’s provision but instead decided to move from God’s land of protection and out of His will.
Elimelech decided to live his life by sight instead of by faith and the consequences were fatal.
We see from this story that it is still better to be in the land of God’s will – even when you are experiencing discipline and “famine” – than it is to seek relief outside of His will while trying to escape discipline.
And we get it, don’t we? When we feel as though another land can provide better opportunities, a better future for our families, or wanted relief from the “famine” in our lives, we are tempted to leave God’s promised land and His provision.
We are tempted to live like Elimelech, focused on what we see rather than Whom we trust.
The land of easy and abundance is always tempting when we are weary, hungry, and seeking relief.
So from one friend to another, I’d love to encourage you if you’ve been tempted like Elimelech lately and the “land” you are in seems to be experiencing a famine. Trust God. Stay where He has you right now and trust Him to provide for your needs. We will see later in Ruth Chapter 1 that God does come through for His treasured children. He does come to their aid…
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! – Psalm 34:8
“God is present right where you are. Stay put and stand firm. It is always more blessed to be under the care of His will than anywhere else.” – Kelly Minter
Let’s Talk: What have you learned about God when you chose to stay in the “famine” and wait for God’s provision? Also, please introduce yourselves and share where you are joining us from! We can’t wait to meet you!
Love God Greatly!
Week 1 Video:
(Can’t see the video? Click here!)
Week 1 Challenge:
This week take an index card and on one side, write down the area of your life you would consider your “famine”. On the opposite side of the card, write down one verse that talks about placing your trust in God. Spend some time looking up several verses until you find the one that best fits this situation. Then as you go about your week and you begin wrestling with this “famine” in your mind, read the verse you wrote down over and over again and give the situation over to God.
Week 1 Memory Verse:
Week 1 Reading Plan:
We also have a corresponding kid’s Ruth journal geared for children in elementary grades. You can grab a copy in our shop as well.