Well, here we are starting another new book again! We have done a lot over the years.
The book of Ruth is a love story, but also a story of a crucial link in the process of bringing Jesus into the world, believe it or not! Verse one tells us that the story takes place during the days of the Judges. These were days of chaos, unfaithfulness, political intrigue, and God’s faithfulness to His promises in spite of the unfaithfulness of his people. We are told that there was a famine in the land. It might very well be a famine sent by God to try to get his people’s attention and turn them from their waywardness. The famine could have been a visible hint at the spiritual famine that God’s people had embraced as they lived in the Promised Land.
One particular family draws the attention of the writer. This family goes off to the neighboring country of Moab, old enemies of Israel. But there was water there and they could make a living. We are introduced to the family members. We are also told this family was from Bethlehem. Does that town ring any bells?
Things go from bad to worse when the father of the family dies. The two sons marry Moabite women (somewhat against the law, by the way). These were tough times and people did what they had to do. After 10 years the two sons die as well, with only the woman left to try to get by in this makeshift family.
That’s a lot of information in a few short verses! The writer is setting the table for us, getting us up to speed on the situation so that he can tell us what he really wants us to hear. All of this, as dramatic as it all is, is simply sideline to what God was really up to in this family. I am sure that, to these three women, these things did not seem like the small stuff. I am sure it seemed to them like these were life-changing tragedies that were going to scar them for life.
As we live our lives, what parts seem to be the main thing, and what seems to be sideline stuff? When it comes to God, one might never quite know. Something that seems big and giant to us, might simply be background detail. And something that seems small and of no consequence, might become a key element in our story with God.
So, keep your eyes open. You never know what twist or turn of your journey might be used by God to bring the Savior into somebody’s world.