Category Archives: Sermons

Ruth 3:1-18

In the fields of Bethlehem, Ruth had been shown God’s steadfast love through the kindness of Boaz. She had gleaned behind his reapers; they had not only dropped their harvested barley by accident, but had been instructed to intentionally take from the bundles of grain to leave for Ruth. She had eaten at the table of the man who had not called her “Ruth the Moabite”, as was the practice with many others; rather, he had called her my daughter, and had blessed her in the name of the LORD, under Whose wings she had come to take refuge. At the end of the day, not only did Ruth come back to her destitute mother-in-law with thirty pounds of food, she also came back with some news that pricked Naomi’s ears. The man in whose fields Ruth had been working was named Boaz. Continue reading

Ruth 2:1-23

Naomi and Ruth, a bereft mother and widow, and her daughter-in law, a woman of Moab who had also lost her husband. Here they were, in Bethlehem, destitute and with seemingly no prospect for the future. “So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab.”[1] We are meant to feel the poverty of these two grieving women from the beginning. Elimelech was dead. Mahlon and Chilion were dead. Orpah, the almost-believer, had left them behind to return to Moab and her pagan gods. But, Naomi had Ruth, though she did not acknowledge her as the agent of God’s steadfast love to her in the midst of her faithlessness and distress. Here was Ruth, dear Ruth, who had left behind everything she had known before, and had been joined through faith to the covenant community because she had been joined through faith to the covenant God of Israel. Continue reading

Ruth 1:6-22

The family of Elimelech had left Bethlehem behind for the promise of the green fields of Moab; they had left behind the “house of bread” for a country that had refused bread to their ancestors; they had left behind the Promised Land for a pagan nation. Elimelech had done what was right in his own eyes,[1] just like the rest of disobedient Israel during the time of the judges. Instead of enduring the discipline of the Lord and turning again to their covenant God in obedience, these Ephrathites from Bethlehem had sought fullness in a land that, though it may have been materially well-off, was spiritually empty. The first tragedy was to happen to the father, the likely architect of this foolish move; after seeking only to sojourn in Moab, he and his family had fallen into the trap and had remained – but Elimelech did not remain very long – upon the earth! Continue reading