Guest Post By Linda R. Johnson
“Give us our needed bread for each day.” Luke 11:3 (Darby Bible Translation)
It’s difficult to imagine being pressed between a rock and a hard place when the welfare of your family is at stake. From an aerial view, it may not have been the best choice, and they were likely met with a lot of opposition from those who loved them.
Elimelech (“my God is King”) and his wife, Naomi (“pleasant and delightful”), made the hard decision to transplant their lives into Moab, a country where their God was not welcomed or worshipped, in exchange for a possibly brighter future escaping the famine in their hometown of Bethlehem (“house of bread”).
I’m sure that Elimelech and Naomi had sleepless nights over the debate in their hearts to enter and dwell within a known pagan country. Maybe they thought their relocation would be temporary – just a few seasons, until things turned around in Bethlehem. But that was not apparently how things rolled out.
- Do you think that Elimelech and Naomi gave much thought about the pagan environment that they would be settling in?
- Could they have debated over this, only to have the visions of their young sons dying of starvation from famine swirling around in their head?
The family of four lived in Moab until the two sons were adults and married.
After some time had passed, Elimelech died. Then both of her sons died, leaving behind their wives. Here they were, three widowed women under the one roof, with no secure means of any future.
It was time for another hard decision.
As the now head of the household, Naomi gathered her daughters-in-law, Orpah (“neck”) and Ruth (“compassion”) for an intimate conversation about the reality of life. With only the best interests for these young women, she encouraged both of them to return home to their families and to move forward with their lives.
Both young women were brokenhearted over the finality of the decision. And at first, neither thought it would be the right thing to do. But after Naomi had shared with the two about the advantages of returning home to start over and continue living their lives, Orpah’s longing for comfort and familiarity drew her back to her former life in Moab. Ruth, however, had a different response.
- What do you think persuaded Ruth to cling to Naomi and her God?
- How impactful was Naomi’s relationship with God that it made an impression on Ruth?
- What need did Ruth seek to fill that was unmet by returning to her old life?
This inseparable pair set out to re-enter Bethlehem.
As only God would have it, Ruth finds favor among those with whom she is working in the grain fields. It is harvest season, and not only does Ruth secure a means for surviving, but also redemption covers her and the situation.
In this town where her Redeemer would ultimately come forth, Ruth finds her physical redemption in the saving kinsman redeemer, Boaz (“man of valor”).
Boaz becomes the legitimate covering whom Ruth is in need of.
Is it any wonder that this journey would circle back to Naomi’s roots where God had initially made Himself known to her, to later do the same for an unsuspecting Ruth? Could the famine within Ruth’s own heart have led her to the true House of Bread for restoration and fulfillment?
Jesus, our Redeemer King and manna from heaven, would emerge from this House of Bread, through this very lineage that would feed into the line of King David.
While we reach for daily sustenance in the form of temporary physical satisfaction, let’s not stop there. Jesus said that His food was to do the will of God and accomplish His works, John 4:34.
Jesus Christ, our daily bread from heaven, never runs out and is not limited to seasons or access to man. He is ever available. Always inviting. Not wishing that any would go spiritually hungry. He came to be our provision and redemptive covering.
Come, eat, and be satisfied.
Linda is a daughter of the King of Kings, wife, mother of 3 adult children, and “Lōlie” to her only granddaughter. Her passion is to connect with women of all ages and to mentor the “Ones Coming Up Behind Her,” so that they may embrace their identity in Christ, living life to the fullest.
She is a writer, speaker, Bible Study leader, Stephen’s minister, and lover of a great cup of coffee. She blogs at Titus-Two.com.