There was a famine in the land and a young man named Elimelech (The Strength of the King) left Bethlehem (Celebrated or Praised) in Judah (Worship) and went to Moab (Incest). –
After man’s fall in the Garden of Eden and the Lord departed from him, he was left with an emptiness –a famine– in his heart. Since that time, man has hungered to be truly satisfied with something that would last. And that’s why Jesus presented Himself as the “Bread of Life”; only He can satisfy that need.
Man doesn’t naturally praise God in worship. Instead he worships the creation (people, places and things). ()
Through the character of Elimelech –one who is reliant on his own strengths and abilities– we see a picture of man’s fallen nature.
Having left Judah, Elimelech and his wife Naomi (the Beautiful Grace of God) could only produce Mahlon (Sickly) and Kilion (Failing) in Moab (Incest). –
Apart from God, man’s soul –represented by Naomi– can only have a relationship with his own fallen, sin nature: Elimelech. The products of that relationship can be nothing better than sickly and failing. What else could there be when man does not have a personal relationship with God? That’s because apart from God, he can do nothing.
The marriages of Mahlon (Sickly) and Kilion (Failing) to Orpah (Stubbornness) and Ruth (Friendship) produced no children. –
The two options that man has for a relationship with God are: accept His friendship through His Son or reject Him through stubbornness (pride).
In this case, the human spirit –Ruth– desires a fulfilled relationship with God, but it can’t be fruitful as long as it’s based on human abilities.
Elimelech and his sons came to an end and died in Moab. –
Like Elimelech, man will die in his sins if he does not choose Jesus as his savior. However, this picture is of a person’s human-sinful nature (the flesh) dying along with its pitiful attempts to please God. In we’re told that the old nature was cut off and discarded; and in we read that the flesh was crucified with Jesus.
Apart from Judah, Naomi (Grace) faded into a mere shell of outward beauty; she became Mara (Bitterness). –,
This certainly shows what happens to a man when he recognizes his condition without God. Although his outside may appear to be fulfilled, he knows the emptiness deep within his heart. That emptiness was intended to be filled by Jesus Christ.
Naomi resolved that nothing good could ever come of her and gave up her daughters-in-law Orpah (Stubbornness) and Ruth (Friendship). –
When a man recognizes his condition –dead in his sins– it is then that he realizes that there is nothing in him of any value: not his possessions, nor his power, not even his prestige– nothing has true and lasting value.
The man can either receive Jesus into his life or be stubborn and follow his pride straight to hell.
In desperation, Naomi resolved to return to Judah alone, but Ruth (Friendship) would not leave her. –
What a description of a humbled man! This shows a broken soul with his only companion: his human spirit. That spirit will remain his closest friend because it is the conduit by which God’s Spirit can communicate with him.
After Naomi and Ruth had reached Judah, the natural kinsman-redeemer (he has no name) refused to pay the price required to provide for the women’s needs. He abandoned them, willing to let them die without any hope. –
Man’s natural kinsman redeemer is Satan. When man recognizes that all the world has to offer is futility, there is nothing that Satan can provide to satisfy his spiritual needs.
Ruth’s entry into Judah touched Boaz (the true and final Strong Redeemer or Pillar). He gladly paid the price to adopt them into his own household. –
When man’s spirit seeks a relationship with our Redeemer –Jesus– a wonderful thing happens: He finds that the price to be free from sin and death (the wages of sin) have been paid.
Naomi and Ruth were downtrodden and empty-handed when they came to Judah, but the Redeemer met all their needs and loved them as they were. –,
When a man comes to Jesus weary and heavy-burdened, Jesus takes those burdens upon Himself so that the man might experience the peace and contentment that only Jesus is able to provide.
Naomi (the Beautiful Grace of God) was restored to be as she was intended to be –leaving her bitterness behind. Soon, the Redeemer joined Ruth to produce a child named Obed (a Servant). –
The joining together of Jesus and the human spirit restores man to the state he was created for: a state of unity with God through His beloved Son. And that new creation is intended to be one who serves others in love.
Obed fulfilled the hope of the Naomi by producing David (a Beloved Son). –
The person who becomes a servant is pleasing to God, but it can only be done through Jesus: the One who humbled Himself to be obedient to death, even death on a cross!