Ruth Challenge

Day 1 of 4 • This day’s reading

Elimelech and Naomi originally lived in Bethlehem but left, because there was a great famine. They relocated to Moab with their two sons, who married Moabite women: Orpah and Ruth. Unfortunately, Elimelech and his sons died, leaving three widows. Naomi decided that she would return to Bethlehem after spending 10 years in Moab. She told her daughters-in-law to go back to their father's house and remarry. Orpah left, but Ruth pleaded with her to stay.

Elimelech and Naomi were in a tough situation, faced with two options: to trust God or to run…they chose the latter. It was a decision that cost Elimelech and his two sons their lives. We read that they left Bethlehem (which means ‘the place of bread’) in Judah (‘praise’) to go to Moab (meaning: ‘what father?’). The meaning of Moab gives us an insight into Elimelech’s state of mind. He doubted the love, provision and fatherhood of God and chose to step out of where God had placed Him.

Orpah said she would stay with Naomi but decided it wasn’t for her and left. Sadly, this is what happens with many ‘Christians’ today. They come to the Lord at countless ‘alter-calls’, but where are they a few days later? Or they may stay for a while, springing up quickly like the word says, yet when persecution or hardship comes like thorns hindering one's growth, they leave the faith for a more ‘comfortable’ life.

But Ruth, she stayed. In Ruth, we see an awesome example of true conversion. Even when others around her departed, Ruth stood her ground. Unshaken, not consumed by the thorns of life, she says in my favorite verses of this chapter (16-17), “…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.” Having counted the cost, Ruth was willing to give up everything she knew and loved to follow Naomi and Naomi’s God. A gentile becoming one of God’s own by CHOICE – have you made yours? Will you still trust God in the hard times?

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