Growing up on the Texas coast, we spent endless summer days on the beaches of Port Aransas, Rockport, and Mustang Island. Invariably, after chasing the better waves and exploring the sandbars holding the most sand dollars, we’d come out of the water, hungry and exhausted, only to realize we’d drifted so far down the beach that our families were nowhere in sight. After momentary panic, we’d trudge back up the beach until we spotted familiar markers that reassured us that those coolers full of sandwiches and cold drinks were still parked where they were when we arrived.
- What brings you hope of relief when you’re worn and hungry?
READ THE WORD: RUTH 1:1-7 (ESV)
1:1 In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3 But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, 5 and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. 6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. 7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
- In what “days” is this story set (vs. 1)? Why did Naomi’s family leave Bethlehem? Where did they go (vs. 2) ?
- What took place as they remained in Moab (vss. 3-6)? What would it have meant for Naomi (as an Israelite, a woman, and a childless widow) to be alone in a foreign country? What might you think or feel in similar circumstances?
- What happened that made Naomi decide to return home to Judah (vs. 6)? How might these events mirror your own spiritual journey?
- When you are in a seemingly hopeless situation, where do you seek hope? Where do you need to seek the Lord’s provision today?
RESPOND TO GOD
In a time when men did what was right in their own eyes, Naomi’s family looked for provision in a pagan country. But after years of struggle, Naomi had lost everything, including all hope of rebuilding. Imagine how her heart quickened as she overheard words of the Lord’s blessings back home. Could she return, and find his blessing and provision again?
Don’t we also sojourn in “foreign lands” (distractions, addictions, consumerism, or other things that keep us from seeking God)? Like Naomi, maybe it’s time for some of us to come home, too.
- Be still with God. Ask him to show you any way you may be seeking your provision in “foreign lands.”
- Thank him that you can always find his blessing and provision when you return to him.