This week we’ll begin an Advent sermon series based on the Old Testament book of Ruth. I know we’re a bit early, but a few circumstances have led us to begin our Advent preparations this Sunday. So let the journey begin! The series we will follow is called “Under the Bethlehem Star,” and was created by Dianne (Rop) Elders and Dale Fopma, and was published in Refomed Worship 101. Elders and Fopma include a helpful summary for each week, which I plan on passing on to you for your benefit. So here are their comments on Ruth 1.
The book of Ruth describes the change that comes about in Naomi. Naomi’s husband and two sons have died; she feels hopeless. But there are glimmers of hope: the barley harvest is beginning, and it seems that the people of Bethlehem don’t blame Naomi for her problems. Her daughter-in-law Ruth walks beside her in her grief–an example of what Christ himself would do (vv. 16-17). Even the names in this chapter offer glimmers of hope for a Savior: Bethlehem (house of bread), Ephrathah (out of you will come–Micah 5:2), Elimelech (my God is King), Orpah (raindrop or abundance), Ruth (friendship). God is providing hope, a Savior, a relationship, someone who will walk beside us at all times.