Today we are pausing for review, in order to gain a deeper understanding of God's leading.
The book of Ruth tells the story of one family living in the time of the Judges of Israel, approximately 1100 BC. This period spanned from about 1380 to 1050 BC – from the death of Joshua until the crowning of Saul as Israel’s first king.
It was a tumultuous time of obedience to disobedience, faith to unfaithfulness, provision to punishment and back again.
During one interlude when God was calling Judah to repentance, He stopped the rain. The blazing hot sun caused drought and famine quickly followed. In its wake, Elimelech, his wife Naomi and two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, ran away to the gentile nation of Moab.
If Naomi was reluctant to leave her home and family, we cannot tell, because she dutifully followed her husband.
While living in Moab, tragedy struck. Elimelech and both sons died, leaving Naomi alone with two young Moabite daughters-in-law. Then, in this not so distant land of Moab, Naomi heard the Lord had visited His people by sending rain and giving Bethlehem bread and she decides to return home. Loving her daughters-in-law and wanting a good life for them, Naomi strongly suggests they return to their parents. Orpah, Chilion’s widow, reluctantly agrees. She kisses Naomi and goes back. But Ruth, Mahlon’s widow, clings to Naomi, chooses Israel and Israel’s God as her own.
Living in Bethlehem was much more costly than either widow expected. Out of money and food, Ruth decides to glean heads of grain in the fields to provide for her mother-in-law and herself. Because of His great love, the Lord guides Ruth to the field of Boaz, a near kinsman of Elimelech, her deceased father-in-law.
A righteous, gracious, and generous man, all Boaz expects is to be able to show kindness to his relative’s widow. Nevertheless, God has other plans.
He used tragedy to unite two hearts together. He held Naomi and drew Ruth to Himself and to Bethlehem. He guided Ruth’s path to find Elimelech’s kinsman. He showered her with abundant blessing and allowed her to fall in love with her Redeemer.
Reading this book, we see God’s leading of Naomi and Ruth, but what are the ways He leads us?
Friendship Bible Coffee’s, Lucille Sollenberger, taught that God leads Christians in four ways: 1) He leads through His Word; 2) through impressions the Holy Spirit makes upon on our heart; 3) through our sanctified good sense and 4) circumstances in our lives.
God never leads contrary or contradictory to His Word and if so, it is not the Lord leading.
Ruth and Naomi lived in a time when the common man did not have God’s written Word as we do today, and everyone did that which was right in their own eyes.
Therefore, in which of the four ways did God lead them?
How is He leading you?