The story of Ruth begins with the family she would soon marry into. Elimelek, Naomi, and their two sons flee from their home in Bethlehem because famine has struck the land. For modern readers, we hear the word famine and immediately think of the danger involved. Ancient Israelite readers may have had a different reaction.
Famine prompted Abraham to go to Egypt, and led to Joseph’s family being reunited. In the Old Testament, famine was a tool God used to move his people into the path of promise. Though the main characters felt like they were off track, or reacting out of fear – God would show up and redeem the situation in a powerful way.
As we enter the well-known story of Ruth, it’s hard not to think about the tragedy that is right around the corner. We know that Elimelek’s detour did not lead to a better life for his entire family in the way he had hoped. And the Bible never tells us if he traveled to Moab out of obedience or fear.
What we can know is that the presence of trouble (like famine) does not equal the absence of God. In fact, the presence of difficulty is often God laying the foundation for his greater work to come true.
Ruth’s story is ultimately one of redemption, where God shows up, takes a girl no one knows, and makes her an essential part of the history of the world. And it all started with a family fleeing a famine.
Don’t begrudge the detours life may make you take. God knows exactly what he is doing with every trouble and delay we face.
Takeaway: Sometimes life’s detours are God’s shortcuts.
Prayer: Thank You Lord that you are guiding my life and my story. Help me to trust You in every difficult season.