Ruth 1


Chapter 1 of RuthRuth_orange_238

  1. Once upon a time…
    1. Elimelech and Naomi
    2. lived in Bethlehem 
    3. Sons: Mahlon & Chillion
  1. famine
    1. left Bethlehem for food
    2. to live in Moab
    3. sons took Moabite wives
      1. Orpah
      2. Ruth
  1. Anyway…
    1. Elimelech dies
    2. Mahlon & Chillion die
  1. Naomi decides to go back to Bethlehem
    1. heard famine over
  1. Tells Orpah & Ruth
    1. go home, remarry, have children
    2. We want to stay with you
    3. Orpah returns home
    4. Ruth insists on staying with Naomi 
  1. They arrive in Bethlehem
    1. Woe am I! says Naomi
    2. They arrive at beginning of barley harvest

Who were the Moabites?

  1. Moabites & Jews not friends 
    1. Israelites were Jewish
    2. Moabites worshiped other gods
  1. Extreme distaste for Moabites
    1. Moabites were descendants of Lot & his older daughter
    2. Both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter gave birth to a son and named him Moab. He is the ancestor of today’s Moabites. (Gen 19:36-37 CEB)
  1. Elimelech crossed deep boundary
    1. desperate
    2. or immoral
    3. or maybe God lured him to forgive 

Why were Orpah & Ruth hesitant to leave Naomi?

  1. Loyalty to Naomi?
    1. not in text
    2. believable
    3. certainly Ruth issues strong statement: 
    4. “Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. (Ruth 1:16 CEB)
  1. Crossed line when marrying Jews? No where else to go?
    1. except Orpah did return
    2. except rabbinic tradition says they were royalty
      1. sisters
      2. King Eglon of Moab
      3. side note: Orpah mother of Goliath
    3. if royalty, arranged marriage 
  1. Concern for Naomi?
      1. lost whole family
      2. we like this but no clear textual evidence
  1. Had fully converted to Judaism?
      1. left alone in Moab would’ve been hard to practice
      2. no textual indication about faith
      3. Rabbinic tradition implies 
        1. Orpah never fully converted
        2. Ruth doesn’t fully convert until…
      4. she says, “and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16 CEB)

Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Ruth 1:16 CEB

  1. Ruth recognized the One in the Jewish god
    1. in Naomi’s kindness
    2. in their relationship
    3. in Elimilech crossing boundaries
    4. in her own marriage that implicitly said, despite Lot’s sin, Moabites were fully human and worthy of love
  1. She knew it would not be easy to go to Bethlehem 
    1. would be rejected
    2. hard to find husband
  1. But her love & faith
    1. led her to follow Naomi
    2. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. (Ruth 1:16 CEB)

Even though it would be hard, Ruth went to Bethlehem 

  1. For her God, she would
    1. care for Naomi
    2. go to a place where she’d be despised
  1. Being faithful is never easy.
      1. if easy, it’s not faith
      2. faith rarely makes rational sense
      3. but it is who we are created to be
  1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer criticized cheap grace
    1. claiming faith without changing or growing
    2. claiming faith only when it is convenient 
  1. That is not Ruth.
    1. Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her gods. Turn back after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. (Ruth 1:15-16 CEB)
    2. Amen.

Tim strives to share God’s extravagant love for all–no matter what & without strings. Seeking to follow the lure of the Spirit, Tim writes about what it means to be a follower of Jesus in an era where Christianity has come to be associated with hatred and political wedge issues. “Heinous things have been said & done (& still are) in the name of the One who breathed in the Divine,” notes Tim, “but Jesus shows us that God loves extravagantly.” Following the teachings and life of Jesus is about inclusion not exclusion. It is about compassion, grace, and admitting no one has all the answers. It is about responding lovingly to the best of our human ability. It is about people not institutions. It is about social justice. It is about caring for creation. It is about being who we were each created to be. Tim is a former early childhood educator, a runner, a hiker, a devoted husband, father of two adult children and their spouses, and a grandfather of four perfect grandchildren. Tim serves as Senior Pastor of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Albany, Oregon. He writes from home, from the coffee shop, and wherever the trail leads him.

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Posted in Old Testament, Ruth, Ruth 1, Sermon, Uncategorized

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Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0

All materials by Tim Graves unless otherwise noted. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0

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