Bread in Bethlehem
Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.
The story of Ruth actually begins with a woman by the name of Naomi. Her name means; “sweet or pleasant”, but life led her down a bitter path. We are first told that her and her husband (Elimelech) decided to leave their home in Bethlehem due to a terrible famine [Ruth 1:1]. This relocation to the country of Moab was only the beginning of her troubles! During her 10 year stay in this land she experienced the joy of both of her sons getting married. However, the joy of these marriages were cut short by the tragic deaths of her husband and both of her sons!
It is here, in the depths of her despair she decided to return back to her home town of Bethlehem. When she arrives she asked for her name to be changed from “Naomi“ (sweet or pleasant) to ”Mara” (bitter) [Ruth 1:20). Her own testimony of her stay in Moab was that she “went out full, but returned empty” [Ruth 1:21].
What caused Naomi to return to the place she had left after she had lost all that was important to her? Ruth 1:6 tells us that, ”she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord visited his people in giving them bread.” I wonder what the scene must have been like for this empty, bitter, and aching soul when she heard the news that Bethlehem which means the “house of bread” once again had bread? Something within her soul must have cried out, I must return to where the Lord has visited and brought fresh bread!
Perhaps, it is the same cry that the prodigal son would hear ring through his soul when in the “far country” he remembered that there was ”bread enough and to spare in my fathers house” [Luke 15:17].
Let me leave you with two simple thoughts…
1. To the wayward sinner wandering in the empty planes of sinful Moab. Perhaps you too went out full but today find yourself empty. Hear now the great news, “the Lord has visited his people”; the “Bread of Life” has been born in Bethlehem and he can fill your empty and bitter soul. [John 6:35]
2. To the weary saint, take fresh courage in making known the message of the abundant supply in the fathers house, because today may be the day, that a hungry, bitter, and empty soul hears about the bread of life from our lips! [Galatians 6:9]
There is BREAD IN BETHLEHEM!