Ruth 1:1-5 “Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 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. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other was Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.”
Ruth entered into the story of redemption at a very dark and difficult time in the history of Israel. There was no set authority to bring order and control, for the people of Israel had abandoned GOD as their Leader after the death of Joshua. In fact, the last verse of Judges comes right before Ruth and reads: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” If you’re honest about people, you can imagine how bad this got. This is no “once upon a time” story. Having married an immigrant Israelite, Ruth is widowed after 10 years of marriage. For those of you who have experienced the lose of a dearly loved one, you understand the pain and grief she must have felt. The family she had lived with and become attatched to was left unsupported and unprotected. But it is against this dark backdrop that the gem of Ruth’s story shines. I don’t think even Ruth would have recognized the true beauty of what was happening in her life if GOD hadn’t allowed for those times of loss and hardship – they provided the comparison by which she could see just how good GOD’s provison was. Likewise, it has taken acknowledging those dark days of my past to open my eyes to the hand of GOD leading me to redemption and wholeness and joy. And like Ruth, Jehovah-Jireh has been my provision since before I was ever aware of it.