Ruth: 1:16-21; The reproach of Christ. The doctrine of bitterness.

Class Outline:

Title: Ruth: 1:16-21; The reproach of Christ. The doctrine of bittereness.  


Love overcomes bitterness. Ruth's love for the Lord of Israel and Naomi allows her to see what Naomi cannot.


RUT 1:16 But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.


RUT 1:17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me."


RUT 1:18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.


Ruth gives up her homeland, a hope of a husband and child in Moab, and seeks to take upon herself whatever future is determined for Naomi. Only death will separate them.


They are words of complete devotion. Such words have been spoken by our Lord to us. He will never leave or forsake us, and what more? Death will not separate us, but only draw us closer.


Ruth sacrifices Moab for the God of Israel and Naomi.


Php 3:8

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.


There is such warmth and earnestness about her words, such resolution and calmness, as to lift them far above natural affection or a sense of duty. They are prophetic for the church as Christ would proclaim such devotion to us and we to Him.


One of the aspects of Ruth's decision that can be overlooked is her appearance and language. It will be obvious to all that she is Moabite, who is an enemy of Israel. The people should treat her gracefully, but we know that people are not often gracious. She will carry a stigma as a foreigner, enemy, widow, and childless … all around cursed. She could avoid this if she returned to Moab.


If Ruth went home to Moab, she wouldn't carry the stigma of disgrace.


Ruth is attaching herself to a people who are going to disavow her. But her love of Jehovah and Naomi overwhelms the fear and anxiety over that prospect.


In a fallen world, following Christ means that reproach will follow you.


PSA 69:7 Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach;

Dishonor has covered my face.


PSA 69:8 I have become estranged from my brothers,

And an alien to my mother's sons.


PSA 69:9 For zeal for Thy house has consumed me,

And the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me.


To the first Jewish Christians in Jerusalem:


HEB 10:32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings,


HEB 10:33 partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated.


HEB 10:34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one.


HEB 10:35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.


HEB 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.


HEB 11:24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;


HEB 11:25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin;


HEB 11:26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.


1PE 4:14

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.


RUT 1:19 So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came about when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, "Is this Naomi?"


The Hebrew verb means that the people were amazed that she returned and that they are amazed at what befell her.


They are equally amazed at what befell her in Moab, losing both her husband and her two sons before they could produce children. This shows that Elimelech's family was prominent enough that Naomi was known, even after ten years.


Likely, returning through the gates of Bethlehem only enhanced the feeling of loss for Naomi. Her home, where she and her husband had excited anticipation of the future, seeing places where she and her sons once walked together and laughed and talked, and were filled with joy, flooded her mind with bitter loss. She does not even have a close relative left to her.


RUT 1:20 And she said to them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.


RUT 1:21 I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?"


"Almighty" - Shaddai = God who gives fruitfulness and increase.

"Mara" - bitter.