Ruth 1:1-5 (Famine and Heartache)

Ruth 1:1-5
Famine and Heartache

Introduction: The book of Genesis is behind us and Exodus is the next logical place to continue our journey. But before we go there, we’re going to take a short trip through the book of Ruth. If we were to follow the same time-frame as the book of Genesis for the next six books before Ruth, it could be many years before we actually get there.

Unlike the New Testament, the prophets, and the books of wisdom which we frequently have cited while going through Genesis, our travels through the pages of the Bible don’t naturally reach out for quotes from books like Ruth.

Ruth is only four chapters long and yet it is almost completely overlooked by Christians, as if it were an unimportant story which has no relevance to anything we would care about in our daily walk. And yet, it is a book which drips with Christological significance and is filled with amazing beauty and wonder.

If one were to sit down and read it from beginning to end, it would take no more than 20 minutes, and yet how many of us have taken the time to do so even once? We’ll be in Ruth for a bit more than 20 minutes, but I don’t think you will find any of it tedious or boring.

Instead, you’ll find it a delight to your senses and a marvelous story of love and grace – both from a human perspective and from the perspective of our heavenly Father. Ruth is an “insert” story, similar to that of Judah and Tamar found in Genesis 38.

There is a main narrative line which the Bible is following, but there are at times stories which occur during the main narrative which are selected and highlighted. As we will see in the last chapter of Ruth, there is a direct link between the insert story about Judah and Tamar and that of the book of Ruth.

Interestingly, Ruth was a story used by Benjamin Franklin to open up the wonders of the Bible to French aristocracy. When he was serving in the French Court as an ambassador to these United States, he was a frequenter of the Infidels Club.

While there one time, he heard some of the aristocrats demeaning the Bible as the pompous often do, even today – maybe even more so today. They noted that it was unworthy of their time or attention and that it lacked style or relevance.

Franklin knew this to be exactly the opposite of the truth and so he played a bit of a trick on them. They had a habit of bringing in and reading stories that were entertaining and then would evaluate them after the reader was finished in order to compliment them or critique them in one way or another.

Franklin went to the book of Ruth, wrote it out longhand, and changed all the proper names to French names. There in the Infidels club, he read his cunningly altered manuscript to his pompously elite associates – the great minds of France.

When he finished, they were utterly enchanted with what they had heard. They loved its elegance and straightforward, simple style. Their exclamation was Charmant! – “Charming.” And their question, “But where did you find this gem of literature, Monsieur Franklin?”

His answer certainly wasn’t what their intellectual and arrogant minds would have expected. He said, “It comes from that book you so despise, la sainte Bible!” Certainly there were those who were put in their place because of this one portion of the greatest book of literature in human history.

And yet, the arrogance and pathetically demeaning attitude is found still today; certainly in greater abundance than at the time of Benjamin’s ambassadorship to France. The world of scholars, high-browed professors, and godless politicians continues to put down and belittle the book that they could never fully grasp or mentally assimilate.

Text Verse: “When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, even though one sees no sleep day or night, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it.” Ecclesiastes 8:16-17

Paul says in the book of 1 Corinthians that the Lord will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. He certainly did it through Benjamin Franklin at the Infidel’s club, but He does it to us in our daily lives as well.

We make plans for the contingencies that arise and we feel sure that the choices we make will turn out in a particular way. And yet, we often find that things don’t turn out as we’d wished. The things we had hoped for or expected are forgotten and even regretted. This is how it will appear to a lady named Naomi in today’s verses.

But someday, she will look back on the tragedies described in these few lines and realize that God was there with her all along. The same is true with each one of us. We lose a job, a family member dies, there is sadness or heartache heaped up in little pockets of time in our lives, and we lose heart.

And yet, when we get through them, we can turn around and look back and see how the good place we have come to needed each one of those difficulties in order for us to arrive at the location we are at. This is a constant theme of the Bible. We think things are out of control and God is there tending to them anyway.

Job is used as the Bible’s exemplar of patience and fortitude in times of grief, sadness, and loss, but close on his heels is a lady named Naomi. Her reaction at the beginning of her trials is different from that of Job, but by the time the story is complete, she will, like Job, find herself in a wonderfully satisfied place.

When times get tough for us, we can go to stories like this, even stories which are only four chapters long, and we can be reassured that God really is in control and that He is working our lives out for a marvelous end.

They are stories of hope. They are stories of promise. They are stories which reveal the heart of God in the Person of Jesus Christ. And, they are stories found in His superior word. So let’s go to that great and magnificent book now and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. A Famine in the Land (verses 1 & 2)

Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled,

In the Hebrew, the book opens with these words – v’hi bime shephot ha’shophtim – “And came to pass in the days when judged the judges.” A book beginning with the word “and” may seem rather remarkable to us. It is as if we read the Bible and come to the book and find it is merely a continuation of the same story we have been reading. And for all intents and purposes it is. God is revealing to us wonders, unfolding them in a logical sequence which may or may not be chronological, but they fit in a fashion as orderly as if they were chronological.

This same “and” begins the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Ezekiel, Esther, Ezra, and Jonah. Beginning this way is certainly intended to show us an unraveling of a thought processes which had already began elsewhere.

The time when the judges ruled begins with the time of Othniel who became judge after Joshua died. His time began in Judges 3:7. It goes all the way until the time of Samuel, the last judge of Israel. The time of kings replaced the time of judges when Samuel anointed Saul to be the first king in 1 Samuel 10:1 –

“Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: ‘Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance?'” 1 Samuel 10:1

Knowing that the author of Ruth said that these things came to pass in the days when the judges ruled tells us that it was written after that time. In the last chapter of Ruth, it is going to mention King David, and so we know that it was written during or after his life as well. It is unsure who wrote the book.

Jewish tradition says that it was Samuel who wrote it, but whether it was him or someone else, they were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and thus the majestic and beautiful story is given to ultimately show us the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Of this, there can be no doubt.

There will be specific names of people and places which are selected to purposefully reveal hidden treasures of God’s redemptive plans. As we continue through the book, every detail will be carefully sifted through in order to reveal Him.

Finally, before we go on, to understand the “and” at the beginning of Ruth, it is necessary to understand what the situation of Israel was at the time of the judges. The theme of the book of Judges can pretty much be summed up in the following words, which are the last words of the book –

“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25

This phrase, or a portion of it, is repeated four times in the book. It shows that despite being under a theocracy, there was no true union among the people and there was often more of anarchy than obedience to God.

However, God promised under the law blessing and fruitfulness when the people were obedient and the opposite when they weren’t. For a time in this story there is a lack of fruitfulness in the land. It is then a time of disobedience within Israel. The lack is noted in the continuation of verse 1…

1 (con’t)  that there was a famine in the land.

This part of the verse in the Hebrew is very similar to the previous part – v’hi raav baaretz, “and came to pass a famine in the land.” The entire thought so far shows God’s hand is written all over it. It literally says “And came to pass in the days when judged the judges, and came to pass a famine in the land.”

This isn’t an unnecessary Hebrew lesson, but it is to show us that both the timing and the circumstance are noted for us to consider. Famines are directed by God. They are used by Him throughout biblical history to effect His will in the unfolding story of the world.

Famines come about in many ways, but none of them are unknown or undirected by Him. Sometimes they come about by unfavorable weather conditions and the lack of rain. Some come about by civil wars where a nation fights itself, and others by wars waged with foreigners.

From the time of Abraham all the way to Joseph, the patriarchs were all affected by famine in ways which showed the realization of God’s purposes. Through these famines, patterns are seen which involve the repetition of specific dates and other occurrences.

And in those famines, specific people and places are named which seem otherwise unimportant and yet each reveals something to do with the work of Christ. No word is ever wasted in the Bible. Each has purpose.

In this verse, it says “in the land.” By not specifying the country where the famine is, it supposes that the writer is in Israel and that we are joining him there in the narrative as it continues. And even though this happens during the time of the judges, nothing more precise is specified than that it is during a time of famine.

Many suggestions have been made, but none can be certain. Only by looking at the genealogy of David can we guess the approximate time, but even that is mere guesswork and supposition because the ages of his ancestors during this period aren’t given.

1 (con’t) And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah,

The Hebrew here says, v’yelek ish “and went man.” The word “certain” is put in there by the translators as a way of further singling him out. Modern translations tend leave out the word “certain.”

This man was from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. The reason for including “Judah” is because there is another Bethlehem mentioned in the land of Zebulun which is recorded in Joshua 19:15. This then is the same Bethlehem where Jesus would be born some 1100 or 1200 years later.

Judah is the main tribe of Israel and it is the tribe from which Jesus descended. The account is ensuring already that we look for Jesus and that no error is made in assuming a different Bethlehem. The name Bethlehem means “House of Bread” and Judah means “Praise.”

1 (con’t) went to dwell in the country of Moab,

“To dwell” means to sojourn rather than to live permanently. It was the intent to move to Moab in order to be free from the famine, not to make a permanent new home. It is to the “country of Moab” that they went, but the word in Hebrew is “the field” of Moab.

This is a term used with reference to a foreign country, not where the speaker or writer is. Again, it is showing in several ways that Canaan is the point from which the author is intending and he is including us in the narrative as he writes.

The name Moab comes from two words – mi which means “who” and ab which means “dad.” In modern language we’d call him “Who’s your daddy?” The answer comes from the story of Lot and his two daughters. Through his oldest daughter, he had a son and he was named Moab because he came from her father.”

1 (con’t) he and his wife and his two sons.

Not only did the man go, but he headed out with his family. What is important is to keep remembering that this is a story of real people and things that really happened to them. The story could have simply been “not” included in the Bible, but it is. And so it is there for a reason.

We are to open our eyes and pay attention because a zillion people have been in famines and some of them were Israelites. Lots of people have moved during famines, including many Israelites. And yet, the Bible selected this family and these details for a reason.

This book is so important that it is one of the five megillah scrolls which are read each year during feast days by observant Jews. Those five scrolls and the times they are read aloud include –

The Song of Songs at Passover
Ruth at Shavuot, or Pentecost
Lamentations on the 9th day of the month of Av
Ecclesiastes during Tabernacles
And Esther on Purim

The stories are read and yet eyes remain closed and hearts remain unopened, but Jesus is there if they will but look and believe.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I from Your presence flee?
If I ascend into heaven you are there
If I make my bed in hell, behold even there Your hand is upon me

If I take the wings of the morning to the coastland
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea
Even there You shall lead me with Your hand
And Your right hand shall have hold of me

Wherever Your people go
You are attentive to their every need
Surely we can trust that this is so
You are ever-faithful in Your care, amen and indeed

The name of the man was Elimelech,

The name Elimelech can have a couple different meanings. El means “God” and melech means “king.” The “i” in the middle is either possessive and so it would mean “My God is King.” This would then affirm that he lived in the time of the Judges which was when Israel was a theocracy. God, literally being King of Israel during that time.

The “i” could also belong to “king” instead of God and if so, then it is the third person statement that “God is King.” In the end, the conclusion is the same – God is Israel’s king. There is one more possibility for the “i.” That would be to translate it as “God of the King.” But at this time, there were no kings and so it doesn’t fit.

2 (con’t) the name of his wife was Naomi,

Naomi is translated by most as beautiful, sweet, pleasant, lovely or something like that. Some take the “i” at the end of her name to be possessive and so it would mean “my sweetness.” However, the “i” may also be a reference to the Lord, Jehovah. In this case her name would be Pleasantness of the Lord. This translation is the most likely based on something she herself will say later in verse 20.

2 (con’t) and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion—

And the names of the two sons are given. Mahlon is mentioned first and so is assumed to be the older of the two, but in chapter 4 he is named second. The names being reversed then has meaning in the story. Mahlon, the younger, will be the husband of Ruth. He is noted first here apart from birth order because Ruth is the principle in the story.

Their names reflect a sad state of affairs anticipated within the story itself. Mahlon literally means “Man of Weakness” or “Sickly.” Chilion means “Wasting Away.” Why a parent would choose names like these is unknown, but it could go to their appearance and health at birth. Or it could be the thoughts of a father who was aware of the fallen state of man and the useless nature of life under the sun.

Either way, their lives will match their names and they are in turn a picture of the pleasant things that the Lord gives us to enjoy during this life. They are weak, infirm, wasting away, and dying. Only the eternal things He offers are of any true value.

We may cherish a banana, or a beautiful sunrise. We may long for the cool days of autumn or the sunny days of spring, but as soon as they come, they pass away. It seems that this was on the mind of Elimelech when he married and had children with his wife, whose name is Pleasantness of the Lord. She would fade as would the children who would issue from her.

Solomon speaks of this in Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 –

“Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
And this was my reward from all my labor.
11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:10, 11

2 (con’t) Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah.

The Bible now further defines the residence of the family. They lived in Judah, they lived in Bethlehem, but they are Ephrathites as well. Ephrath is the same place mentioned in Genesis 35 as the place of burial for Rachel.

The name Ephrath as we have seen in the past, means both “ash heap” and “place of fruitfulness.” It is not surprising that both of these meanings fit perfectly into the story. The land meaning “place of fruitfulness” is no longer fruitful which shows the greatness of the famine around them.

And so in order to stay alive, they decided to leave to find another dwelling to replace it. And in their leaving, it is a place of ashes, or mourning, because of the move they must make away from the Land of Promise.

Many find his actions as disobedience to the Lord, but the story doesn’t indicate this. The fact that there is a famine shows that Israel as a whole is in a state of disobedience. Elimelech is actually separating himself and his family from those sad surroundings.

There are numerous examples of people leaving the land of promise during famines, and disobedience for this happening is not considered the case. A classic example of this is found in 2 Kings –

“Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.” So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years.” 2 Kings 8:1, 2

When she returned, her land and all the proceeds from her land were restored. When someone is exiled from the land forcefully, it is certainly because of God’s curse. But when a voluntary move happens, no such deduction can be made on an individual level.

2 (con’t) And they went to the country of Moab and remained there.

And so, with the intent of merely being pilgrims, not permanent residents, in a foreign land, they went to Moab. As I said, many scholars fault in them for lacking faith in the providence and promises of God by moving to there.

Normally, such a move involves changing one’s god when the move is made. However, nothing in the story implies this and no indictments are made. The famine is directed by God, the events are being used by God, and God’s plans will be realized through what has happened.

Later in this same chapter, Naomi’s words will actually reflect that they had remained obedient to the Lord even during their time in Moab. All that occurs takes place without the Bible negatively commenting on the actions of Elimelech and his family.

What then shall we say to these things?
What is it that our joy and gladness brings?

If God is for us, who can be against us?
This God upon whom we call
He who did not spare His own Son, Jesus
But delivered Him up for us all

How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
This is that which certainly our joy and gladness brings!

II. Life in a Foreign Land (verses 3-5)

In this sad section, there will be a death, two marriages, and two more deaths.

Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died;

No mention is made concerning how long they lived in Moab, but at some point, God, in order to continue the narrative in the manner which He alone is the Decider of, the life of Elimelech ended in the foreign land in which he sojourned. Thus the story must now take on a new biographical direction.

3 (con’t) and she was left, and her two sons.

Naomi is the one to remain behind to lead the family through their sojourn – she with no husband and they with no father. There, with her sons, they will wait for their own departure from Moab. Elimelech had simply gone in advance of them.

The Hebrew word used to describe them being left, vatishaer, gives this thought. They remained, while he departed in advance.

Now they took wives of the women of Moab:

Again, as before, scholars treat this as a real offense and something that was forbidden for them to do. However, this is not the case at all, nor does the story imply it or indict them in any way for this. In Deuteronomy 7, forbidden marriages are listed and they include to the daughters of the people who lived in Canaan the land.

They are named individually and there is nothing said about Moabites. Later in Deuteronomy 23, it is implied that marriage to a Moabite could occur, but with restrictions. There it says this –

“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever, because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.” Deuteronomy 23:3, 4

If an Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter the assembly even to the tenth generation, then it implies that a marriage may occur with them, but guidelines are given in that instance. Further, this applied to the female who would marry a male, but it didn’t apply to a male who is married to a female. How do we know this? Because the name travels through the father, not the mother. None of those in the line of Ruth will be excluded from the assembly, and even David, who comes from Ruth, entered the assembly. He was only the third generation from Ruth. In 1 Kings 7, Solomon is noted as being disobedient for such a marriage. There it says –

“But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.'” 1 Kings 11:1, 2

In this, the list includes the explicitly forbidden marriages to the Hittites, but the list doesn’t mean that all are included as we saw a moment ago. And it is from an Ammonite wife that the next king of Israel after Solomon, Rehoboam, would come. Both Ruth and Rehoboam’s Ammonite mother are ancestors of Jesus.

4 (con’t) the name of the one was Orpah,

The name Orpah is a Moabite, not a Hebrew name. It means the “back of the neck” or the “mane.” Her name will find its meaning in her actions before the chapter is finished.

4 (con’t) and the name of the other Ruth.

The name Ruth has one of two general meanings. It means either “Friend” or “Companion”, or “Beauty” or “Looker” such as in one you would look at because of their beauty. It depends on the root word used to determine the end result. Because it is uncertain, it is probably a play on both words, Companion and Looker.

4 (con’t) And they dwelt there about ten years.

The term for dwelt, literally means “to sit.” This idiom has passed down even to our modern times where we say that our house is our seat of residence. It was about- ten years that they dwelt in Moab.

No reason is given for the length of time, but it could be as simple as life just getting away from them. Without any regular communications with those in Israel, time crept by and before they knew it, ten years had passed.

Because it says “about ten years” it is asking us to look at what the significance of the number ten is in the Bible. The specific number is given in a general sense for a reason. According to EW Bullinger in his book, Number in Scripture, the number ten –

“…signifies the perfection of Divine order. …It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.”

God has a plan, the plan is being executed, and there is a completion to that plan. In the case of the story of Naomi and Ruth, the time for that completion to be realized and for them to enter into a new cycle of life would now come…

Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died;

In approximately ten years of living, no more than a few verses are given to show us the life events of the family of Elimelech. In them are contained death, followed by marriage, followed by death. Only the details that are pertinent to the story are given, and only the details which point us to God’s work in redemptive history are pertinent.

As with the father, and as with all of us, the lives of Mahlon and Chilion were in the hands and at the will of God. It is during this time of spiritual lethargy that the sons marry and it is during this time that no children are born. God has directed the events of their lives for a greater purpose, a purpose which they can’t see, but which is leading all the time to bring us to Jesus.

It has been speculated that the two sons died because they married Moabite women. In essence, it is judgment on disobedience for following after the gods of Moab. It is also speculated that no children were born to the women during their marriages as punishment to the husbands.

There are several reasons to know these are both incorrect assumptions. First, when God judges this way, it is stated. We see an example of it in the death of Judah’s son Er –

“But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him.” Genesis 38:7

Such judgment is noted as a lesson to us and they are noted often, but no such hint is given in the deaths of Mahlon and Chilion. Secondly, Naomi’s words to her daughters later in this chapter to “return to their gods” implies that they had married into a family who had been following the Lord.

Thirdly, Ruth will, in the coming chapters, marry a man named Boaz. If God were to have killed the sons for disobedience by marrying Moabite women, then the same disobedience would be seen in Boaz for him doing so. But this is completely contrary to the entire message of the book of Ruth. The assumption is wrong.

Fourth, the women not bearing children cannot be seen as any type of punishment. God withheld children from Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Tamar, among many others in order to meet His goals.

Finally, Ruth will have a baby to Boaz, who is an Israelite, in the pages ahead. And so punishment for having married her is an entirely wrong view.  All such assumptions that God was somehow displeased with these actions are wrong.

*5 (fin) so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.

From God’s perspective, life was being directed with purpose and with care, even Naomi’s life. But from her perspective, not seeing all that He sees and not understanding His plan, there was only loss and sorrow and certainly confusion.

Again as before, the Hebrew uses the term vatishaer to indicate that she is left while now her husband and both of her sons have gone before her. Their journey is taken while she remains. One scholar, Fuller, gives these heartfelt words concerning Naomi’s plight –

“Of the two sexes, the woman is the weaker; of women, old women are most feeble; of old women, widows most woeful; of widows, those that are poor, their plight most pitiful; of poor widows, those who want children, their case most doleful; of widows that want children, those that once had them, and after lost them, their estate most desolate; of widows that have had children, those that are strangers in a foreign country, their condition most comfortless. Yet all these met together in Naomi, as in the center of sorrow, to make the measure of her misery pressed down, shaken together, running over. I conclude, therefore, many men have had affliction – none like Job; many women have had tribulation – none like Naomi.” Fuller

The beginning of the book of Ruth resembles a Greek tragedy. It seems as if nothing could go right for Naomi. Surely the pleasantness of the Lord doesn’t seem to describe her situation at all. She is in a rut that seems hopeless and beyond ability to bear.

But the Bible says that God is attentive to the widow. With three of them living together, there is three times the attentiveness to that home where they dwell. Certainly good things are in store for those who have mourned their dead and good things are in store for those of us who belong to Him and who mourn as well.

But there is the truth that we must belong to Him in order to receive His favor and His hand of grace. It would be illogical to assume that God would care for those who don’t first reach out to Him. When tragedy happens, people ask, “Why did God let this happen to me?” They say this as if God owes them something.

But isn’t it we that owe God? Didn’t He give us life, time, and place. Every good thing we have came from Him and yet, we often don’t take the time to thank Him. And above all, He gave us His greatest Gift of all, His own Son. If we don’t accept that gift, then why would we expect any rights as His child.

And so, this is what God would ask of us, to call on Him, to receive His offering of peace, and to become His child through adoption. And this can only happen if we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior. After that, even trouble and sadness begins to make sense. They are no longer hindrances to our relationship with Him.

Instead, they are steps which we must take in order to come to the place where His greatest blessings can be bestowed. Every step, every step, every step… leading to the perfect fulfillment of His plans for us. If you have never taken that first step, the one of calling out for Jesus, let me explain to You why this is necessary and how you can do it even right now…

Closing Verse: Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?
Man is like a breath;
His days are like a passing shadow. Psalm 144:3, 4

Next Week: Ruth 1:6-14 (Bread in the Land of Promise) (2nd Ruth Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. He knows your trials, troubles, and woes and He is there with you through them. So cling to Him and let Him do marvelous things for you and through you.

A Famine in the Land

Now it came to pass, as we understand
In the days when ruled the judges
That there was a famine in the land
Which brought about difficulties, toils, and trudges

And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah
To dwell in the country of Moab went
He and his wife and his two sons
Until the time of the famine was spent

The name of the man was Elimelech
The name of his wife was Naomi
And the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion
Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah, their place of residency

And to the country of Moab they went
And remained there in a new emplacement

Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died
And she was left, and her two sons
A husband and a father, they were denied

Now they took wives of the women of Moab
Orpah was the name of the one
And the name of the other Ruth
And they dwelt there about ten years under Moab’s sun

Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died
So the woman survived her two sons and her husband
Surely at this time, God’s plans had her mystified

We too live in a world of troubles, trials, and woes
And often things occur which make us question God
We shake our heads and take the path where it goes
And each step can be a painful, heartbreaking trod

But at the end of the miserable, weary path
We find that God was there all along guiding us
We thought that we were the objects of His wrath
But instead we were being molded to be like Jesus

His ways are far above ours, so let us in Him trust
Let us never let our faith fail as each day we live
He is tending to us, and all His ways are just
And so let us to Him all our praises give

Hallelujah and Amen…

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