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Ruth 1:1-22

Ruth 1:1-22


Series: Christmas 2021
Sermon: Back to Bethlehem
Bible Passage: Ruth 1:1-22

I. “In the days when the judges judged” (verse 1)

1. This period was characterized by lawlessness and constant breaking of the covenant stipulations
2. There was no king everyone did what they wanted

II. There was a famine in the land (verse 1)

1. It could be due to failure of rain (natural phenomenon)
2. It could be because of God’s intervention because of people’s covenant disobedience
3. The land is “Bethlehem”—House of bread or storehouse of grains
4. There seems to be a play of words: famine in the house of bread!

III. A Jewish family moved to Moab from Israel—a shameful migration

1. Moab was born out of incestuous relationship (cf. Gen 19:36-37)
2. Moabites were stigmatized for seduction, idolatry, and their constant opposition to Israel (Num 25:1ff)

IV. It’s about a husband, wife, and their two sons—their lives don’t match with their names

1. Elimelech: my God is my king
2. Naomi: my pleasant one
3. Mahlon: sick one (critically ill)
4. Chilion: very sick one (terminally ill)

V. The decision to migrate to Moab seems to be a necessity one but tragedy struck the family—

1. Elimelech died—bread winner of the family is lost
2. Sometime later, the sons died—remaining hope of survival is lost
3. The family was left with three widows

a. Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah
b. Economically and socially completely powerless

4. The tragedy was a double whammy! No bread winners and no family line!

VI. Many of us can identify with this story

1. Unexpected economic and social situation and unexpected turn of events
2. They migrated towards greener grass, but ended up in unfriendly environments
3. They seem to have made wrong decisions one-after-another!
4. Tragedies, loss of loved ones, and left stranded

VII. Despite human situation, God was sovereignly working in and through tragedies, human errors, and brokenness

1. God probably permitted the famine in Bethlehem
2. God probably tolerated their decision to move to Moab
3. God probably permitted the turn of events in Moab
4. God probably was working out a new direction through the mess of Naomi’s life

VIII. Ruth appears to be God’s provision

1.  A Moabite—stigmatized as idolators, seducers, perverts, etc.
2. A widow who has no hope to give a son to Naomi to keep the family line
3. A foreigner, stranger, and women in Israel (unfavorability in all counts!)

IX . When God works, these infirmities are not infirmities, but they are platforms

Two important things for the turn around

1. Naomi’s decision to move back to Bethlehem[1]— Naomi’s decision points to Christian confession and repentance
2. Ruth’s confession[2]

a. Ruth’s confession grafted her into the commonwealth of Israel— Boaz married Ruth (4:13)
b. Ruth became the grandmother of king David[3]

3. Death of Elimelech, Mahlon, and Chilion threatened the line of a family
4. God made it possible for the family and nation a line through Ruth’s son, Obed-Jesse-David

X. The bigger story is that humanity was in danger of bigger famine caused by sin and were in a shameful migration to Moab and was in need of a Child who would be the Savior and King

1. Matt 1:5-6 Boaz became the father of Obed (by Ruth), Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king
2. Matt 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit
3. Matt 1:20 The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit
4.  Matt 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
5. Matt 2:1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea

Take Away:

Come back to God because He has blessed Bethlehem with the Savior, Jesus

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at