Ruth 1** We find in this book excellent examples of faith, piety,patience, humility, industry, and loving-kindness, in the commonevents of life. Also we see the special care which God'sprovidence take of our smallest concerns, encouraging us to fulltrust therein. We may view this book as a beautiful, becausenatural representation of human life; as a curious detail ofimportant facts; and as a part of the plan of redemption. * Elimelech and his sons die in the land of Moab. (1-5) Naomireturns home. (6-14) Orpah stays behind, but Ruth goes withNaomi. (15-18) They come to Bethlehem. (19-22)1-5 Elimelech's care to provide for his family, was not to beblamed; but his removal into the country of Moab could not bejustified. And the removal ended in the wasting of his family.It is folly to think of escaping that cross, which, being laidin our way, we ought to take up. Changing our place seldom ismending it. Those who bring young people into bad acquaintance,and take them out of the way of public ordinances, thought theymay think them well-principled, and armed against temptation,know not what will be the end. It does not appear that the womenthe sons of Elimelech married, were proselyted to the Jewishreligion. Earthly trials or enjoyments are of short continuance.Death continually removes those of every age and situation, andmars all our outward comforts: we cannot too strongly preferthose advantages which shall last for ever. 6-14 Naomi began to think of returning, after the death of hertwo sons. When death comes into a family, it ought to reformwhat is amiss there. Earth is made bitter to us, that heaven maybe made dear. Naomi seems to have been a person of faith andpiety. She dismissed her daughters-in-law with prayer. It isvery proper for friends, when they part, to part with them thuspart in love. Did Naomi do well, to discourage her daughtersfrom going with her, when she might save them from the idolatryof Moab, and bring them to the faith and worship of the God ofIsrael? Naomi, no doubt, desired to do that; but if they wentwith her, she would not have them to go upon her account. Thosethat take upon them a profession of religion only to obligetheir friends, or for the sake of company, will be converts ofsmall value. If they did come with her, she would have them makeit their deliberate choice, and sit down first and count thecost, as it concerns those to do who make a profession ofreligion. And more desire "rest in the house of a husband," orsome wordly settlement or earthly satisfaction, than the rest towhich Christ invites our souls; therefore when tried they willdepart from Christ, though perhaps with some sorrow. 15-18 See Ruth's resolution, and her good affection to Naomi.Orpah was loth to part from her; yet she did not love her wellenough to leave Moab for her sake. Thus, many have a value andaffection for Christ, yet come short of salvation by him,because they will not forsake other things for him. They lovehim, yet leave him, because they do not love him enough, butlove other things better. Ruth is an example of the grace ofGod, inclining the soul to choose the better part. Naomi coulddesire no more than the solemn declaration Ruth made. See thepower of resolution; it silences temptation. Those that go inreligious ways without a stedfast mind, stand like a door halfopen, which invites a thief; but resolution shuts and bolts thedoor, resists the devil and forces him to flee. 19-22 Naomi and Ruth came to Bethlehem. Afflictions will makegreat and surprising changes in a little time. May God, by hisgrace, fit us for all such changes, especially the greatchange!, Naomi signifies "pleasant," or "amiable;" Mara,"bitter," or "bitterness." She was now a woman of a sorrowfulspirit. She had come home empty, poor, a widow and childless.But there is a fulness for believers of which they never can beemptied; a good part which shall not be taken from those whohave it. The cup of affliction is a "bitter" cup, but she ownsthat the affliction came from God. It well becomes us to haveour hearts humbled under humbling providences. It is notaffliction itself, but affliction rightly borne, that does usgood.
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