There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.
'The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under Whose Wings you have come for refuge'… Boaz commanded his young men, saying, 'Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean.'
'These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, ‘Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’
At the beginning of the Book of Ruth, Bethlehem was a land in famine; a scarcity of food and morality chastened the nation of Israel. Rather than rising to help his people, Elimelech (Naomi's husband) moved to Moab--taking his family with him.
'Elimelech was one of the great men and authorities in Israel... a man of faith who did not or could not be fully faithful. He was a leader who possessed the requisite qualities, except for that of deep love and concern for his flock' (Rabbi Dr. Meir Levin).*
Elimelech and his sons died in Moab, so Naomi went home. In humiliation, she returned to Bethlehem alone--except for her decidedly determined daughter-in-law, Ruth. They had nothing but each other--and God: the perfect breeding ground for miracles.
Poverty would become plenty. Paucity would become provision. Humiliation would become honor. Because God's Word decrees it:
'The Lord knows the days of the upright,and their inheritance shall be forever.They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied' (Psalm 37:18-19).
Because... 'A Father of the fatherless and a Judge for the widows is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity' (Psalm 68:5-6).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Review the lives of God's stars and take heart! They were tested. They walked through the valley of the shadow of death before standing on their mountaintop destinies. Each valley is different. Yours may be one of financial, familial, spiritual or physical hardship.
Whatever form your trial takes, walk through it in faith. Walk through it in hope. Walk through it in absolute assurance of what lies beyond the valley for those who don't give up. Success!
To Be Continued...
* Article on Elimelech: http://www.torah.org/learning/ruth/class5.html
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Lessons From Ruth series.