From famine to fullness: The God of all circumstances – a sermon on Ruth 2 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.
Before we look at Ruth chapter 2, let’s briefly recap the story so far. In the dark days of the Judges, the Lord sent a famine over Judah, and Elimelech, the man from Bethlehem, sought out greener pastures in Moab. There he and his two sons died, leaving his wife Naomi with no provider or protector and really without hope. In this dark and bitter time she hears that the Lord had again provided for His people in Judah so she pulls up sticks and sets off for her homeland. But knowing how difficult it would be for her and her daughters-in-law in Judah, she tries to get them to stay behind, and the one does do so. But the Lord had worked in Ruth’s heart. He had drawn her to Him, and she confesses that He would be her God. And so, as chapter 1 draws to a close, Naomi and her not-so-kosher daughter-in-law arrive in Bethlehem, at the time of the barley harvest.
Chapter 1 firstly taught us that although we have a caring King, we’re not shielded from life’s difficulties. Secondly we learnt that our saving King uses difficult times to draw us closer to Him or to draw others to Him. Lastly chapter 1 showed that while our sovereign King’s plans for us might include hardship, everything coming from His loving hands will be to our good.
Let us pick up the story at chapter 2 and see what God’s Word teaches us today.
Our passage is divided into three scenes, set in the home, in the field and finally back at home again. The first three verses introduce us to the characters, the next 14-and-a-bit verses tell us about what happened in the field and in the final 5-and-a-bit verses we get to hear what happened when Ruth got home. We’re going to look at these verses under the headings of
- The God who plans (v 1-3);
- The God who provides (v 4-18a); and
- The God who is faithful (v18b-23).