Bethlehem: Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz

Bethlehem: Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz

 

Welcome to the Holy Land and the biblical site of Bethlehem. See the Bible come to life as we take a look at one of the key events from the Scriptures that took place here. One of God’s most beautiful love stories takes place in Bethlehem which is found in the book of Ruth.

 

Here’s some key background info to help us better understand this precious story:

  • The story of Ruth takes place during the time of the Judges about 1300 BC.

  • It shows God’s love and a welcome embrace of non-Israelites into the family of His chosen people, even to the extent of being part of the lineage of King David and Christ.

  • It’s a love story planned in heaven and carried out by God.

  • It all took place here in Bethlehem.

 

Here’s the setting to this beautiful story – Ruth 1:1-5

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man's name was Elimelech, his wife's name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah, and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

 

Next, we see that Ruth chooses the people of God, and God Himself, to be her own God.

Ruth 1:16-18: But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you."

 

Now we see how God provides physically for these two widows.

Ruth 2: 1-7: Now Naomi had a relative of her husband's, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, "Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter." So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, "The LORD be with you!" And they answered, "The LORD bless you." Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, "Whose young woman is this?" And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, "She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.' So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest."

 

Next, God provides a husband for Ruth.

Ruth 3: 1-5: Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, should I not seek rest for you that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do." And she replied, "All that you say I will do."

 

And lastly, God provides rich blessings upon Ruth and allows her to be part of the kingly line of David and of Christ the Messiah.

Ruth 4: 13-17: So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him." Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, "A son has been born to Naomi." They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

 

What are some lessons we see about this story that took place here in Bethlehem?

  • We see that even though it appeared God dealt harshly with Naomi and Ruth, He had a sovereign plan to provide for them.

  • God also wanted to show His acceptance and inclusion of any person outside the Jewish nation who wanted to make God their God.

  • God rewarded Ruth with amazing blessing because of her choice to follow the God of the Israelites.  He even allowed her to be included in the lineage of King David and Christ.

  • This story deeply strengthens my faith in God and allows me to see how God will bless those who make sacrifices to follow Him.

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