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According to Us

One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

Jesse Tree day 10

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.

When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

Some time has passed since the spies explored the land of Canaan. Joshua, at this point has led the people to settle in the land. This time of history is the time of the Judges, when the people of Israel are beginning as a young nation. God is ruler and king over them, however the people do what they want. They often forget the commitment they made to worship him. There are times of war and famine. A judge is sent to help the people seek God and fight back. At some point in this brief history is the story of Ruth.

Ruth is a hero in her own right. She is from the land of Moab, not Israel. She marries a Hebrew man, who will eventually die. Not only will he die, but so will his father and brother. Tragedy will leave these 3 women to defend for themselves. In a time where women have no legal rights, this is a worst case scenario. Ruth and Orpah are still young and could easily remarry, but Naomi is not. She remembers that back in Bethlehem, God had made laws to help the helpless- the widowed and orphaned. She prepares to leave, but encourages the young daughters to stay and start over.

At first both refuse to leave her. They obvious love her very much, and no doubt are also concerned for her. Eventually Orpah agrees to stay, but Ruth cannot be swayed.

“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

Part of the custom, the laws that God established, was that provisions would be made for widows and orphans. Ruth would go and gather left over grain in the fields. No doubt this was back-breaking work. Everyday, Ruth would go out, alone and in a strange land. She would go out early in the morning and only stop for a little break. She faced her troubles in the face.

Jesse Tree: RuthBoaz, the owner of the grain fields took immediate notice of her. Although she must have been quite beautiful, it was her hard work and love for Naomi that he found most beautiful. She left her home, her people, her comforts, and all that she knew so that she could care for Naomi who had no one. Moved by her love, Boaz told her to stay in his field and continue to work. He would offer her protection and food. He fed her food to eat (and she saved the leftover for Naomi), and told his men to drop extra food for her to pick up. She worked the rest of the day, threshed the barley, and returned home to Naomi.

When Naomi saw how much she brought home, she was so surprised. She understood the kindness that Boaz had offered to Ruth. Not only did he make sure they were able to eat, but he protected her from harm from other men who could have taken advantage of her. Ruth continued to work everyday gathering food for her and Naomi in Boaz’s fields. As the harvest near its end, and Naomi observed the continued favor that Boaz offered them, she decided to play match maker.

When a woman’s husband died, the law was for the brother to marry her to take care of her. If there were no brothers a Kinsman Redeemer could marry the woman, a cousin or other relative. The first child they would have would be in the name of the husband who had died. The family line would then be passed on for future generations. Neither of Naomi’s sons had any children, but it just so happened to be that Boaz was a relative and could become the kinsman redeemer.

Towards the end of harvest, Ruth dressed her best totally decked out. She came to where Boaz was finishing the harvest. After he was asleep she laid next to his feet during the night, which was a bold move for two unwed people to lie next to each other.

In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”

“The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”

The next day, Boaz travels into town. He meets with the man who is the closer kin, and brings the matter up to him. It is his right to marry her or not, and by doing so would gain anything the women own. At first he was willing, but when it was brought to his attention that he would have to marry Ruth and she have children, he quickly changed his mind. Boaz agrees to take the responsibility to marry Ruth and care for Naomi. Soon they are wed and had a son, who they named Obed. Obed will later become the father of Jesse (as in the Jesse Tree), who will become the father of the future king, David.

Jesse Tree day 10There is no wonder why the account of Ruth is so important. Israel’s greatest king comes for this story of bravery, love, and dedication. Ruth completely put everything aside to care for her mother-in-law. She could have held on to bitterness and pain. Instead of allowing anger and bitterness to be her guise, choose to clothe herself in honor and selflessness.

God’s law, the provision of the Kinsman Redeemer is also a clear picture of Christ. He redeems us, not for the purpose of having children, but to save our souls from death. He paid the price with his life, and takes us as his bride. Making right the wrongs, and setting us free from the captivity of sin. There is no greater love story than this.

Family Devotion:

Find something around your house that is priceless to you, it’s value isn’t as important as it’s importance to you, Bible and ornament

Read parts of Ruth. Explain how she and Naomi didn’t have anything, because of the way women were treated in ancient time. Boaz saw how much Ruth loved and cared for Naomi. She put Naomi’s needs before her own. She choose to follow Naomi anywhere, and believe in Naomi’s God. Show your valuable item and explain what it means to you. When I as younger, my dad had a piece of fools gold that he kept in his desk. One day I took it out to play with it. Later, he discovered it was missing and asked me about it. I remember him explaining to me how he found it, and to lose it would be a terrible loss. Not because it was valuable, but what it meant to him. We are God’s most valuable creation. Because of our sin, we were lost to him, because his perfection separates us from Him. In order for that relationship to be repaired, he sent his Son to earth. Jesus humbled himself, lived a life on earth, and died so that we could be redeemed, bought back to God. Pray together, thanking God for pay the ultimate price for us.

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