Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Book of Ruth Series - Three Women - Three Souls - Lesson 7

With hearts entwined by love and sorrow, three women embark on a journey.

The first, Naomi, an Israelite widow living in the pagan country of Moab, knows and loves YHWH, the Lord God of Israel. Grieving the loss of her husband and now also her only two sons, she decides to return home to Bethlehem, Judah.

Captivated by the goodness and love of Israel’s God visible in Naomi, our second woman, Ruth, desires to know Him. This young Moabite widow, even when faced with certain adversity, chooses to forsake her life in Moab and live by Israel’s Law.

The third, Orpah, also a young Moabite widow, loves Naomi. Orpah begins the journey to Bethlehem, but keeps looking back. The relationships and memories of happier times tear at her heart. Although she will miss Naomi and Ruth, Orpah just can’t leave Moab. Heartbroken, she returns home.

Thankfully, our God is always at work drawing humble hearts to Himself.

With these three women, He gives us spiritual pictures and illustrates the gentle words of Jesus, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

No one’s load was heavier, and for years, Naomi did it all. She was the loving “Super Mom” caring for her family after her husband died. When her burden grew even heavier, Naomi finally reached the end of her self-sufficiency. She humbled herself in the sight of the Lord and He upheld her with His righteous right hand. Able now to return home, Naomi represents the believer.


Growing up in a pagan land, God had given Ruth eyes to see the licentiousness and futility in worshiping Moab’s false god. While it was all she knew, life was empty. But, there had to be more. Gazing at the stars, Ruth yearned to know the One who made them. Her heart’s desire may be why Almighty God allowed an Israelite family to move to Moab. Ruth represents the seeker.
Dear Orpah, although growing up in the same land as Ruth, she was content and happy. Still, there was something different about Naomi. Her love and faith in the one True and Living God beckoned Orpah, so she began the journey.

In Luke 9:57-62, the Son of God addressed this type of situation. Traveling to Jerusalem many started to follow Jesus, but had various reasons for not continuing. To one Jesus said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Like Orpah, these people seemed to want Jesus, but not enough.

Just ask any farmer, plowing is hard work, so too living a life of faith in Jesus Christ.

Orpah knew life in Bethlehem would be difficult and uncertain. Moab was familiar, comfortable and just too much to resist. Orpah turned back, spiritually representing the non-believer.


Nevertheless, Ruth clung to Naomi. In her spirit, Ruth knew what Simon Peter knew when he cried, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) When Ruth chose the Triune God of Israel, she chose Jesus, the only Name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved.


Three women – three souls – one lost – two made whole.

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