King's Business - 1915-02



there seemed to be no gain, there was gain: It always pays in the long run to leave Moab and cast in one’s lot with the people of God. v. 13. “It grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me." Here we see the nobility of Naomi’s character. She was not so much grieved for her own misfortunes as for the misfortunes of her daughters-in-law who would cast in their lot with her. She rec­ ognized also that the sorrows that came upon her were a judgment from Jehovah. She accepted the judgment as being due to her but grieved over it for the sake of those who suffered with her. She not only knew Jehovah but knew Him by His cove­ nant name (vs. 6, 8, 9, 13, 17, A. R. V.). v. 14. “And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law', but Ruth clave unto her.” Orpah loved Naomi in a measure, loved her enough to kiss her and to weep when she left her, but Ruth loved her enough to “cleave unto her,” and to cast in her lot with her. We have here an illustration of two types of love that are common among men today; the Orpah type is of not much value after all, but the Ruth type is precious beyond estimation. Ruth was one of the most beautiful characters among the wo­ men of the Old Testament, or indeed among the women of all the world’s history. She was a Moabitess by birth (ch. 2:6) and the Moabites were not only heathen, but under an especial ban (Deut. 23:3). Yet Ruth was exalted by God through faith to become the ancestress of our Lord (Matt. 1:1, 5, 6). No Moabite was to enter into the assembly of Jehovah even to the tenth generation (Deut. 23:3) and if it had not been for grace this would have ruled David out, for David was the third generation from his Moabite ancestress. The purpose for which the story of Ruth is inserted in the history of Israel, which is the history of redemption, is not only to show the an­ cestry of David, the theocratic king, and thus the ancestry of the Messiah, but it is also to show how God even in the old

among the associations that they were bound to meet there. It was like Lot pitch­ ing his tent toward Sodom. If he had really trusted God, God could have sus­ tained him in the land where He had bidden him and all Israel to dwell, even in the midst of famine upon every side. As was naturally to be expected, though they find temporary sustenance in Moab, they suffer in the long run; Elimelech dies ana the two sons died; they lost everything, and Naomi came back stripped of every­ thing. But we shall see later that when she did go back, grace triumphed; and in her own land, Naomi was made richer than she had ever been before (ch. 4:14-17). In the “far country” away from God, one may find plenty and to spare for a season, but sooner or later there will be a “mighty famine in that country” and they will be in want (Luke 15:13, 14). But a glad blessing awaits the returning Naomi, or any other wanderer that returns from the country of Moab (cf. Luke 15:18-32). “She had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited His people in giving them bread.” It was hearing of the plenty that had returned to her land by the blessing of Jehovah that brought Naomi back from Moab to God’s country and it was thinking of the plenty in the Father’s house that brought the prodigal back from “the far country” to the father’s house (Luke 15:17, 18). While the Lord for a time may test His people with affliction, sooner or later He always visits His people and gives them bread. The thing to do in the time of testing and hardship is not to depart into a far country, but simply to trust God and not be afraid (Isa. 12:2; Hab. 3:17, 18). v. 8. "And Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each to her mother’s house." Three times Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to return to their homes (vs. 8, 11, 12), not that she did not desire their company, but she sought their in­ terest above her own. There certainly seemed to be nothing for them to gain by going with her (vs. 11, 12), but though

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