The proofs are in! Review copies are being read!
Now is your chance for a sneak peek of Daniel Palmer’s upcoming book Bethlehem’s Redeemer: Seeing Jesus in Ruth.
In chapter 1, we saw the story of a family who fled Bethlehem and the land of God’s people to pursue provisions in Moab. Rather than take refuge in the Lord, they left for a quick fix, abandoning the people and place of God’s promises and everlasting provision to come through His Son. Though they lived in Bethlehem and were of the tribe of Judah from which God had promised a forever-King (Gen 49:8–10), they left. After a decade (or perhaps more) in Moab, Naomi has found physical bread, but she has not found the “abun‐ dant life” that comes to those who trust God will provide for His people through His promised Son (John 10:10). Her experience is “bitter” because her husband and two sons die, leaving her childless (1:6).
Ruth 1 demonstrates we need more than mere bread to have true life. As Jesus says, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” (Matt 4:4; cf Deut 8:3). We do not just need bread; we need bread on God’s terms.
Even after Naomi hears of bread in Bethlehem, she has little reason
to return other than that she is finally hungry for more than mere bread. She is turning to the Lord and His promises. If He can bring bread back to Bethlehem, perhaps He will overcome the bitterness of life she has encountered since abandoning Him.
In strictly human terms, Naomi has no reason to return. She has no husband to provide for her and no sons to continue the family name or secure her property rights. She does not even have a consistent and reliable source of daily bread.
Though faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, Naomi returns. Ruth, one of her widowed, Moabitess daughters-in-law (v. 2) follows her to Bethlehem, and this book ends up bearing her name. The other daughter-in-law, Orpah, does not follow Naomi, and she never again appears in God’s story. Ruth is showing us that turning to the Lord and His people makes a forever-difference in whether you have a forever-place in God’s story. Chapter 2 begins to show us how God brings His redemption to those who turn to Him.
When Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem, “it is the beginning of barley harvest” (1:22). The Lord gives bread to His people in Bethlehem, but how Naomi or Ruth will access the Lord’s provision remains to be seen. Chapter 1 leaves us with the question of how Naomi and Ruth will survive and have a standing in the land without a husband or a son. How will the good news of bread in Bethlehem become good news for these two widows who have no reliable access to the bread God is providing?
As we examine chapter 2, it is again helpful to view the story as un‐ folding something like the second act in a four-act play. Like chapter 1, it has three scenes. In scene 1, the narrator introduces us to Boaz, and Ruth happens upon his field (vv. 1–3).
Download the sample of Bethlehem’s Redeemer sample with the link below to see how Daniel explains Ruth 2:1-3.