Naomi’s Family in Moab
Open Your Bible
Ruth 1:1-5, Judges 2:11-19, Judges 21:25, 1 Timothy 5:4-8
Today’s reading is all about what it means to have family ties. Raise your hand if that makes you picture a young Michael J. Fox with feathered hair and a sweater vest. No? If you didn’t grow up under the tutelage of eighties sitcoms, all you need to know is this: Alex P. Keaton and family always had a little drama brewing. But, thirty minutes and some live studio audience laughter later, things seemed to work themselves out.
Alas, you and I aren’t living in an eighties sitcom. Real-life is happening, and we’re in the thick of it. Relationship issues don’t always resolve with a sincere side hug, and problems aren’t limited to finding a date for the school dance.
Life is hard. It is beautiful, yes, but gosh, is it hard. Dear friends suffering from deep depression, family members whose loss stings as sharply as when their loved one first left, hungry and enslaved children around the world, and wars that rage on for reasons long forgotten. Not to mention, the stack of dishes in the sink, the pile of unpaid bills on the counter, and the decision you can’t bear to make.
The book of Ruth is a book about real life. It is the story of a family and one woman in particular. She was loyal and loving, hardworking and humble—an ordinary woman who led an ordinary life. Ruth’s ordinary story is much like yours and mine; it bears the fingerprints of an extraordinary God.
Just five verses in, the scene is set for the story, and straightaway, you can tell it’s not a happily-ever-after kind of tale. Naomi has lost her husband, a loss with serious implications for a woman in her culture. Then, just ten years later, she loses both of her sons. Now, she is a childless widow with no means to care for herself or her two surviving daughters-in-law.
This is a real-life story of real-life suffering. And let’s be honest—doesn’t that bring you a little relief? It is not a story of kings or princes, great leaders, or the grand turn of epic events. This is just the story of a family facing loss, grief, and uncertainty and the God who cares intimately about it all, every single detail.
Let’s venture into this story set in the same town where Christ would be born. Let’s enter into the life of this unconventional family; ordinary folk God would use to bring about the coming of His kingdom in Christ Jesus. And let’s see what God has to teach us about His faithfulness right here, in our hard and beautiful lives.