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Loss (1 of 4)
Series: Bitter/Sweet: The Story of Ruth
We are starting a new series today, from the book of Ruth. Ruth is part of the Hebrew Scriptures, otherwise known as the Old Testament. And in the very first verse, you find out that the events of this book took place ''in the days when the Judges ruled.'' What does that mean? Well, there was a period in Israel's history-before they ever had a king-when they were led by military leaders called ''judges.'' It was around 1200 BC. Unfortunately, those were not good times for Israel. Remember New York City back in the 1970s-before it got cleaned up? It was kind of like that, but worse. Actually, more like the situation in Iraq or Syria: it was chaotic; it was violent; it was unstable. If you've ever read the Book of Judges, which comes right before Ruth, you know what I'm talking about. Israel was a mess.
So that's the time when the story of Ruth took place. And that's what makes the story so special. Because right in the middle of all the ugliness, Ruth is a story of loyalty, and trust, and beauty.
But it doesn't start out beautiful. It starts out with devastating loss. So on a practical level, this is a book of the Bible that's all about responding to loss: what do you do; how do you act; how do you think about God…when something that's very important and very precious to you gets taken away? Those are the kinds of questions the book of Ruth is going to help us answer.
So-let's jump into the story today by reading the first chapter:
1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man's name was Elimelek, his wife's name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
3 Now Elimelek, Naomi's husband, died, and she was lef ...
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