We go on to Ruth 1:6-10
v6: Then she arose: This implies a change. Naomi perceived G-d’s displeasure. She hadn’t yet figured out why, but she understood that G-d had moved against her (because of their disobedience and rebellion against His instructions). No matter who we are (Rom 2:11), when we rebel against G-d we can expect that, sooner or later, there are going to be consequences. In this case they were delayed for 10 years. G-d gave them time to repent but they did not. Naomi, therefore, found herself alone (with the daughters-in-law).
- Heard: This is an important word in this verse. Paul teaches us that “faith comes by hearing” (Roms 10:17) Because Naomi heard, and responded, we can anticipate that she was going to regain faith. She began to participate in the things of G-d. “Hearing”, here, began a process. A process takes time, but because she heard, and acted, G-d began to move in her life to bring about Redemption.
- Visited: G-d had visited His people back in Judah. (i.e. Not where Naomi was). This word ‘visited’ is very frequent in the Biblical text -especially in the prophets. G-d visits. Depending on context this can relate to either a good or a bad thing. When “G-d visits” His people, and finds they are in a proper position, He works good things. If “G-d visits” and the people are in disobedience, then this word can mean judgement. Context tells us what G-d is doing. It speaks of His presence among the people. Sometimes to bless, sometimes to judge. Sometimes to restore, sometimes to scatter.
- Giving them bread: Their punishment was over, and G-d began to restore. The bread had returned.
v7: Judah, important as both a place and as a tribe, has been emphasised in this passage. There is a relationship between the tribe of Judah, the inheritance of Judah and the Messiah. Scripture tells us that Messiah is coming from the lineage of Judah (Gen 49:10) and He is going to be born in the allotment of land given to Judah (Micah 5:2). Both Bethlehem and Judah have Messianic implications.
v8: Naomi, although she is returning to the land (because she has heard that G-d has moved), still doesn’t have a proper faith. She is very casual about the Word of G-d. His instructions, His character.
In this verse she is, effectively, saying: “Young ladies, return to your mother’s house and may G-d be gracious to you there”. This, however, is not going to happen. G-d’s place of grace is in His will. It is only when we submit to G-d’s instructions that we encounter His loving kindness, His mercy and grace. What Naomi did here was give them hope absent of truth. False hope.
Naomi recognized that these two young women had been faithful and loving to her -and to their husbands. They had been good daughters-in-law. Now that she was going back to her country her implication, here, was that they needed to return to theirs.
And it gets worse.
v9: Rest: This word is a word that is related to Kingdom rest. The idea that each woman was going to find this Kingdom rest going back to Moab, a place of idolatry and devoid of the Word of G-d, was not going to happen. What the Scripture is showing us is how far removed from Scriptural truth, and a Biblically based hope, Naomi was. Naomi was going to have to grow spiritually.
This is true for all of us. We all need to watch our tongues and not say things, especially spiritual things, that may be OUR desire, OUR hope, OUR wants and maybe even what we believe. If our belief is not based upon Scriptural reality, we are going to be disappointed. If these young women went back to Moab and embraced, once more, their pagan heritage they were not going to experience hope. In other words, they were not going to experience Redemption.
- Lifted up their voices and wept: They were willing to go with Naomi to the Land of Judah. But did they have faith? Were they young women that had the right perspective in regard to the G-d of Israel? We are going to find out that one did, and one didn’t. And that one, the one that truly embraced Biblical truth, found her life forever changed. And that is how you and I find change – when we embrace the truth of G-d.
v10: Scholars believe that this was Orpah speaking. When Ruth spoke, a little further on in the passage, she said something entirely different.