1. Occasionally, we need to be reminded of the assurance expressed in Romans 8:28.
2. One way to accomplish this is by seeing God's care demonstrated in the lives of Bible characters
[examples: Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph].
3. God's providential care is illustrated in a powerful way in the book of Ruth.
4. We are studying 4 lessons from Ruth to help us gain greater confidence in God's care.
I. (1:1-5) INTRODUCTORY INFORMATION
A. (vs.1) The time for this book was "when the judges ruled."
1. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land.
2. The Israelites conquered Canaan under the leadership of Joshua.
3. After Joshua died, Israel was ruled by a series of "judges" [deliverers].
4. This period lasted until Saul was appointed king [300 years: 1350-1050 BC].
5. The condition of Israel during this time was not good (Judges 2:16-19; 21:25).
6. We learn from Ruth that God still cared for His people, even during this turbulent period.
B. The book of Ruth tells about a family that lived during this time.
1. The head of the family was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi.
2. They had 2 sons: Mahlon and Chilion.
3. This family was from Bethlehem.
4. Elimelech took his family to Moab because of a famine that occurred in Palestine.
C. The situation in Palestine was bad; however, things got worse in Moab.
1. (vs.3) Elimelech died, leaving Naomi a widow.
2. (vs.5) Mahlon and Chilion died, leaving Naomi childless.
3. Naomi lost her entire family -- only her daughters-in-law, women from Moab, remained.
4. Naomi was an Israelite, a member of God's chosen race.
5. Even though she was one of God's chosen people, she suffered greatly.
6. However, things began to improve.
II. (1:6-18) NAOMI HAD A CONVERSATION WITH ORPAH AND RUTH
A. (vs.6) Naomi decided to return to her home because the Lord had given His people bread.
B. Orpah and Ruth both wanted to go with her, but she tried to persuade them to stay in Moab.
C. Orpah finally decided to stay, but Ruth was determined to go with her.
III. (1:19-22) NAOMI RETURNED TO BETHLEHEM WITH RUTH
A. (vs.20) After returning to her home, Naomi wanted to be called "Mara" [Bitter].
1. She had left with a husband and 2 sons.
2. However, she returned "empty."
B. It seems that she was blaming God for her losses.
A. God has never promised that we will not suffer in this life as Naomi did, but He has promised to help us
(1 Corinthians 10:13).
B. The trials that we face will either make us "bitter" or "better."
1. Naomi became "bitter."
2. With God's help we can become "better" (James 1:2-5).
C. We must not allow trials to cause us to lose sight of God's blessings.
1. Naomi was concerned with her losses.
2. However, God had blessed her by:
a. giving her people bread
b. giving her a devoted daughter-in-law
c. giving her a safe journey home
d. allowing her to return home "in the beginning of barley harvest" (vs.22).
D. When we face trials, someone else will be watching us, and the way we face our trials will influence