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Monday, February 7, 2011

Ruth Bible Study

This morning I want to share on what I've learnt so far in Chapter One of Ruth as I'm following this bible study along with Darlene over at Time Warp Wife.

First of all, the real significance of Ruth being a Moab didn't hit me until Darlene pointed out who the Moabs were... a reviled race created through incest when Lot's daughters seduced him in order to have his children. They were looked down upon by the Hebrews as "half-breeds" and were ostracized from them. They no longer worshiped the one true God, but pagan gods.

When Naomi and her husband left Jerusalem because of famine and went to this land of Moab, it shows how desperate they were. In leaving to live among pagans, they had broken faith with Yahweh.  Perhaps Naomi did not go willingly. She was a loyal woman and so maybe did not want to leave her family and friends to suffer in order to ensure her own survival and that of her family. I wonder how her sons' marriage to Moab women affected her. We assume that she was a Godly woman like all Jewish women of her time.

Perhaps she suffered, believing that God would look with disfavour upon them for living with the outcast people who worshiped pagan gods.  Yet, we see her innate goodness for she welcomed these women as daughters and nowhere does it say that she treated them poorly or judged them as inferior to herself.  In fact, she could have selfishly made them stay with her, to help her, knowing that she was not a young woman any more and not under the protection of a man. Instead, she implored them to return to their own homes and seek to find husbands to protect them.

It took great courage for Naomi to decide to return to her own home when she learned that the famine had ended. She knew that she could be scorned and rejected for having lived among pagans and, perhaps, even for abandoning her people to their suffering. Yet, she humbled herself to face whatever her people would subject her to and returned. Perhaps, her soul was longing for the one true God and that thirst led her back to her own land. When she chose the name Mara, which means bitter, instead of Naomi, upon her return, she acknowledged  that it was because God had taken away her fullness of life and left her empty. Perhaps she looked upon this as just punishment for what her family had done.

Ruth, also displayed courage in wanting to go with Naomi. She must have known how her people were looked down upon by the Jews. I wonder how she must have trembled at the thought of living in a strange land, where she could be subjected to rejection and, perhaps, even worse persecution. Yet, she loved Naomi as a mother and refused to leave her. In those days, a woman without the protection of a man, was vulnerable and one of Naomi's age, particularly so. She could not work to earn her bread as a younger woman would be able to. Ruth must have known it would have been difficult for her mother-in-law to survive the journey alone and then to provide for herself. Perhaps, she also didn't want her to face the Jews on her own, knowing what Naomi could also possible face at the hands of her people.

Darlene asked us to memorize the words of Ruth to Naomi when she told her that she would never leave her. They are beautiful words and I want to share with you a song that was created with them. It is very popular at weddings. I had to search to find a recording of it that was clear enough and, unfortunately, I couldn't get one of better quality.  I hope you can hear the words properly.


One of the beautiful things I learned from Ruth, through  Darlene,  was that this relationship between Naomi and Ruth is one we should all have with our in-laws. When we marry our husbands, we have forever joined two families as one. His mother, father, brothers and sisters become mine and vice versa. We all know that in-laws tend to be a subject for much fodder at the coffee table between us ladies at times. We may be joined as one family now,  but we are from such different backgrounds that there is bound to be some friction sometimes. Here we have a lovely example of  how we are called to be true daughters to our parents-in-law and sisters to our brothers and sisters-in-law. Something I know that I need to work on.

Thank you to Darlene for such an inspirational study. I'm looking forward to continuing this week  with Ruth Chapter 2.

May God's graces and blessings be with you!

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